As the ages of the earth unfolded, many millenniums ago, and the continents rose majestically from the sea, waters bubbling

up through the earth's refining crust filled the high depressions and started on their sometimes long journey back to the sea.

Such was a lake high on an extinct volcano in the Canadian Rockies, which would some day be named "Lake Columbia",

whose overflow wound northward around its parent mountain and then turned southward through descending levels until turning

to the west and the Pacific Ocean. As the water ran, it sang, and its song was lightsome and gay, telling of sunlight and

shadows, of great fishes and clever men, and of gigantic rocks and mountains which would guide its course seaward. It was a

wild, free song, lusty and unafraid.

As the ages passed, the adventuring waters carved out a regular channel to pursue. They bit deep into the rocky course,

year after year, forming beautiful lakes and gorges along the way. Other rivers, also unnamed, poured their floods into its lower

level, and now the Song was many songs rolled into one---The Song of the Rivers.

It told of strong, coppery men who came from the sea to fish in the streams and to hunt in the forest-depths across the

territory; of camp-fires and tepees and bark canoes, and of arrows and tomahawks and blood spilled in battles. Of graves along

its banks and in its cold depths. Whereas the stream had been born nameless, the coppery men called it "Chiwana".

One day, a white man--Robert Gray, the first American to circumnavigate the globe--sailed into the mouth of the great river

and gave it its first American name, "The Columbia", after the name of his own ship. This was in 1792; three hundred years

after Columbus had discovered the American continent. The Song of the Rivers took on a new note, telling its dreams of a new

civilization to be built by men with fair skins and with courageous eyes which also held dreams.

Thirteen years later, in 1805, two such white men came from the American East to explore the river and its surrounding

territories, seeking a navigable course to the Pacific Ocean. Their names were Meriweather Lewis, a secretary under Thomas

Jefferson, then President of the new United States of America----and William Clark--a brother of General George Rogers

Clark, Revolutionary hero who later became the Governor of Missouri Territory. Theirs was the famous Lewis and Clark

expedition, which opened up the west for its future pioneers.