On the Trail of Explorers

The deeds of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark helped define America, but to many students the pair of explorers is simply an answer on a history test. However, that isn’t the case with Trent and Eric Pribil.

The twins, juniors at Edmond North High School, have been portraying Lewis and Clark since they were in the eighth grade. This past summer, their essay on the 19th century explorers earned them a trip to North Dakota to study the Corps of Discovery expedition route.

“We got to tour areas along the route explored by the Corps," said Eric. "Our base was in Bismarck and we spent a few nights there, then got to see Ft. Abraham Lincoln. We also visited Ft. Mandan, which was established by the Corps in 1804. We were there the day of the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark being there. That was neat.”

Trent added, “I was glad we were able to go and be part of the Youth Rendezvous. I knew we would learn a lot of interesting information about the expedition. We went to a lot of museums and interpretive centers along the route.”

Trent said that Ft. Mandan, where the Corps spent its first winter, was considerably smaller than he and Eric had expected. He also found it interesting to note what the men were using as they traveled west compared to what they were using on the return journey.

“They were using more steel at first, but they had to leave a lot of that at the Rocky Mountains,” he said. “On the way back, what they were using was more along the lines of what men would have been using in forts on the outskirts of the west.”

The essay contest that earned the 16-year-old Pribils the trip was part of a contest sponsored by the National Guard. “We found out about it over the Internet," Eric said. "We wrote about the full scope of d