The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, October 24, 1805
Clark, October 24, 1805
October 24th Thursday 1805
The morning fare after a beautifull night, the nativs approached us this morning with great caution. our two old chiefs expressed a desire to return to their band from this place, Saying "that they Could be of no further Service to us, as their nation extended no further down the river than those falls, and as the nation below had expressed hostile intentions against us, would Certainly kill them; perticularly as They had been at war with each other;" we requested them to Stay with us two nights longer, and we would See the nation below and make a peace between them, they replied they "were anxious to return and See our horses" we insisted on their Staying with us two nights longer to which they agreed; our views were to detain those Chiefs with us untill we Should pass the next falls, which we were told was verry bad, and at no great distance below, that they might inform us of any designs of the nativs, and if possible to bring about a peace between them and the tribes below.
The first pitch of this falls is 20 feet perpendicular, then passing thro a narrow Chanel for 1 mile to a rapid of about 18 feet fall below which the water has no perceptable fall but verry rapid See Sketch No. 1. It may be proper here to remark that from Some obstruction below, the cause of which we have not yet learned, the water in high fluds (which are in the Spring) rise below these falls nearly to a leavel with the water above the falls; the marks of which can be plainly trac'd around the falls. at that Stage of the water the Salmon must pass up which abounds in Such great numbers above- below those falls are Salmon trout and great numbers of the heads of a Species of trout Smaller than the Salmon. those fish they catch out of the Salmon Season, and are at this time in the act of burrying those which they had drid for winter food. the mode of buring those fish is in holes of various Sizes, lined with Straw on which they lay fish Skins in which they inclose the fish which is laid verry close, and then Covered with earth of about 12 or 15 inches thick. Capt Lewis and three men crossed the river and on the opposit Side to view the falls which he had not yet taken a full view of- At 9 oClock a.m. I Set out with the party and proceeded on down a rapid Stream of about 400 yards wide at 21/2 miles the river widened into a large bason to the Stard. Side on which there is five Lodges of Indians. here a tremendious black rock Presented itself high and Steep appearing to choke up the river nor could I See where the water passed further than the Current was drawn with great velocity to the Lard Side of this rock at which place I heard a great roreing. I landed at the Lodges and the natives went with me to the top of this rock which makes from the Stard. Side; from the top of which I could See the dificuelties we had to pass for Several miles below; at this place the water of this great river is compressed into a Chanel between two rocks not exceeding forty five yards wide and continues for a 1/4 of a mile when it again widens to 200 yards and continues this width for about 2 miles when it is again intersepted by rocks. This obstruction in the river accounts for the water in high floods riseing to Such a hite at the last falls. The whole of the Current of this great river must at all Stages pass thro this narrow chanel of 45 yards wide. as the portage of our canoes over this high rock would be impossible with our Strength, and the only danger in passing thro those narrows was the whorls and Swills arriseing from the Compression of the water, and which I thought (as also our principal watermen Peter Crusat) by good Stearing we could pass down Safe, accordingly I detur mined to pass through this place notwithstanding the horrid appearance of this agitated gut Swelling, boiling & whorling in every direction (which from the top of the rock did not appear as bad as when I was in it;) however we passed Safe to the astonishment of all the Inds. of the last Lodges who viewed us from the top of the rock. passed one Lodge below this rock and halted on the Stard. Side to view a verry bad place, the Current divided by 2 Islands of rocks the lower of them large and in the middle of the river, this place being verry bad I Sent by land all the men who could not Swim and Such articles as was most valuable to us Such as papers Guns & amunition, and proceeded down with the Canoes two at a time to a village of 20 wood housies in a Deep bend to the Stard. Side below which a rugid black rock about 20 feet biter than the Common high fluds of the river with Several dry Chapels which appeared to Choke the river up quite across; this I took to be the 2d falls or the place the nativs above call timm, The nativs of this village reived me verry kindly, one of whome envited me into his house, which I found to be large and comodious, and the first wooden houses in which Indians have lived Since we left those in the vicinty of the Illinois, they are scattered permiscuisly on a elivated Situation near a mound of about 30 feet above the Common leavel, which mound has Some remains of houses and has every appearance of being artificial- those houses are about the Same Shape Size and form 20 feet wide and 30 feet long with one Dore raised 18 Inches above ground, they are 291/2 inches high & 14 wide, forming in a half Circle above those houses were Sunk into the earth Six feet, the roofs of them was Supported by a ridge pole resting on three Strong pieces of Split timber thro one of which the dore was cut that and the walls the top of which was just above ground Suported a certain number of Spars which are Covered with the Bark of the white Ceadar, or Arber Vitea; and the whole attached and Secured by the fibers of the Cedar. the eaves at or near the earth, the gable ends and Side walls are Secured with Split boards which is Seported on iner Side with Strong pieces of timber under the eves &c. to keep those pieces errect & the earth from without pressing in the boards, Suported by Strong posts at the Corners to which those poles were attached to give aditional Strength, Small openings were left above the ground, for the purpose, as I conjectured, of deschargeing Their arrows at a besiegeing enimey; Light is admited Thro an opening at top which also Serves for the Smoke to pass through. one half of those houses is apropriated for the Storeing away Dried & pounded fish which is the principal food The other part next the dore is the part occupied by the nativs who have beds raised on either Side, with a fire place in the center of this Space each house appeared to be occupied by about three families; that part which is apropriated for fish was crouded with that article, and a fiew baskets of burries- I dispatched a Sufficent number of the good Swimers back for the 2 canoes above the last rapid and with 2 men walked down three miles to examine the river Over a bed of rocks, which the water at verry high fluds passes over, on those rocks I Saw Several large Scaffols on which the Indians dry fish; as this is out of Season the poles on which they dry those fish are tied up verry Securely in large bundles and put upon the Scaffolds, I counted 107 Stacks of dried pounded fish in different places on those rocks which must have contained io,ooo w. of neet fish, The evening being late I could not examine the river to my Satisfaction, the Chanel is narrow and compressed for about 2 miles, when it widens into a deep bason to the Stard. Side, & again contracts into a narrow chanel divided by a rock I returned through a rockey open countrey infested with pole-cats to the village where I met with Capt. Lewis the two old Chiefs who accompanied us & the party & canoes who had all arrived Safe; the Canoes haveing taken in Some water at the last rapids. here we formed a Camp near the Village, The principal Chief from the nation below with Several of his men visited us, and afforded a favourable oppertunity of bringing about a Piece and good understanding between this chief and his people and the two Chiefs who accompanied us which we have the Satisfaction to Say we have accomplished, as we have every reason to believe and that those two bands or nations are and will be on the most friendly terms with each other. gave this Great Chief a Medal and Some other articles, of which he was much pleased, Peter Crusat played on the violin and the men danced which delighted the nativs, who Shew every civility towards us. we Smoked with those people untill late at night, when every one retired to rest.