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River of Disappointment

Sir Alexander Mackenzie is a Canadian hero. An early fur trader and explorer, he accomplished a magnificent feat when he led an expedition across Canada from Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean. His incredible journey was completed in 1793, 11 years before Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition to the west. Mackenzie’s earlier attempt in 1789, however, had been a major disappointment. His explorers had set out in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific. The valiant group followed a mighty river (now named the Mackenzie) with high hopes, paddling furiously amid great danger. Unfortunately, it didn’t empty into the Pacific, but into the Arctic Ocean. In his diary, Mackenzie called it the “River of Disappointment.”

Our Daily Bread, July 1, 1990