The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, January 8, 1806

Clark, January 8, 1806

Wednesday 8th January 1805

The last night proved fair and Cold wind hard from the S. E. we Set out early and proceeded to the top of the mountain next to the which is much the highest part and that part faceing the Sea is open, from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment as far as I could See to the N. W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me, the meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the high Country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance. from this point of View my guide pointed to a village at the mouth of a Small river near which place he Said the whale was, he also pointed to 4 other places where the princpal Villages of the Kil la mox were Situated, I could plainly See the houses of 2 of those Villeges & the Smoke of a 3rd which was two far of for me to disern with my naked eye- after taking the Courses and computed the Distances in my own mind, I proceeded on down a Steep decent to a Single house the remains of an old Kil a mox Town in a nitch imediately on the Sea Coast, at which place great no. of eregular rocks are out and the waves comes in with great force. Near this old Town I observed large Canoes of the neetest kind on the ground Some of which appeared nearly decayed others quit Sound, I examoned those Canoes and found they were the repository of the dead- This Custom of Secureing the Dead differs a little from the Chinnooks. the Kil a mox Secure the dead bodies in an oblong box of Plank, which is placed in an open Canoe resting on the ground, in which is put a paddle and Sundery other articles the property of the disceased. The Coast in the neighbourhood of this old village is slipping from the Sides of the high hills, in emence masses; fifty or a hundred acres at a time give way and a great proportion of an instant precipitated into the Ocean. those hills and mountains are principally composed of a yellow Clay; their Slipping off or Spliting assunder at this time is no doubt Caused by the incessant rains which has fallen within the last two months. the mountans Covered with a verry heavy Croth of pine & furr, also the white Cedar or arbor vita and a Small proportion of the black alder, this alder grows to the hight of Sixty or Seventy feet and from 2 to 3 feet in diamiter. Some Species of pine on the top of the Point of View rise to the emmence hight of 210 feet and from 8 to 12 feet in diameter, and are perfectly Sound and Solid. Wind hard from the S. E and See looked ____ in the after part of the Day breaking with great force against the Scattering rocks at Some distance from Shore, and the ruged rockey points under which we wer obleged to pass and if we had unfortunately made one false Stet we Should eneviateably have fallen into the Sea and dashed against the rocks in an instant, fortunately we passed over 3 of those dismal points and arived on a butifull Sand Shore on which we Continued for 2 miles, Crossed a Creek 80 yards near 5 Cabins, and proceeded to the place the whale had perished, found only the Skelleton of this monster on the Sand between 2 of the villages of the Kil a mox nation; the Whale was already pillaged of every valuable part by the Kil a mox Inds. in the vecinity of whose village's it lay on the Strand where the waves and tide had driven up & left it. this Skeleton measured 105 feet. I returned to the village of 5 Cabins on the Creek which I shall call E co-la or whale Creek, found the nativs busily engaged boiling the blubber, which they performed in a large Squar wooden trought by means of hot Stones; the oil when extracted was Secured in bladders and the Guts of the whale; the blubber from which the oil was only partially extracted by this process, was laid by in their Cabins in large flickes for use; those flickes they usially expose to the fire on a wooden Spit untill it is prutty well wormed through and then eate it either alone or with roots of the rush, Shaw na tdk we or diped in the oil. The Kil a mox although they possessed large quantities of this blubber and oil were so prenurious that they disposed of it with great reluctiance and in Small quantities only; insomuch that my utmost exertion aided by the party with the Small Stock of merchindize I had taken with me were not able to precure more blubber than about 300 wt. and a fiew gallons of oil; Small as this Stock is I prise it highly; and thank providence for directing the whale to us; and think him much more kind to us than he was to jonah, having Sent this monster to be Swallowed by us in Sted of Swallowing of us as jonah's did. I recrossed E co la Creek and Encamped on the bank at which place we observed an ebundance of fine wood the Indian men followed me for the purpose of Smokeing. I enquired of those people as well as I could by Signs the Situation, mode of liveing & Strength of their nation They informed me that the bulk of their nation lived in 3 large villages Still further along the Sea coast to the S, S, W. at the enterence Of 3 Creek which fell into a bay, and that other houses were Scattered about on the Coast, Bay and on a Small river which fell into the Bay in which they Cought Salmon, and from this Creek (which I call Kil a mox River) they crossed over to the Wappato I. on the Shock-ah-lil com (which is the Indian name for the Columbia river) and purchased Wappato &c. that the nation was once verry large and that they had a great maney houses, In Salmon Season they Cought great numbers of that fish in the Small Creeks, when the Salmon was Scerce they found Sturgion and a variety of other fish thrown up by the waves and left by the tide which was verry fine, Elk was plenty in the mountains, but they Could not Kill maney of them with their arrows. The Kil d mox in their habits Customs manners dress & language differ but little from the Clatsops, Chinnooks and others in this neighbourhood are of the Same form of those of the Clatsops with a Dore at each end & two fire places i, e the house is double as long as wide and divided into 2 equal parts with a post in the middle Supporting the ridge pole, and in the middle of each of those divisions they make their fires, dotes Small & houses Sunk 5 feet