The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, January 26, 1806

Lewis, January 26, 1806

Monday January 26th 1806. Werner and Howard who were sent for salt on the 23rd have not yet returned, we are apprehensive that they have missed their way; neither of them are very good woodsmen, and this thick heavy timbered pine country added to the constant cloudy weather makes it difficult for even a good woodsman to steer for any considerable distance the course he wishes. we ordered Collins to return early in the morning and rejoin the salt makers, and gave him some small articles of merchandize to purchase provisions from the Indians, in the event of their still being unfortunate in the chase. The Shallun or deep purple berry is in form much like the huckkleberry and terminates bluntly with a kind of cap or cover at the end like that fruit; they are attatched seperately to the sides of the boughs of the shrub by a very short stem hanging underneath the same and are frequently placed very near each other on the same bough; it is a full bearer. the berry is easily geathered as it seperates from the bough readily, while the leaf is strongly affixed. the shrub which produces this fruit rises to the hight of 6 or 8 feet sometimes grows on the high lands but moste generally in the swampy or marshey grounds; it is an evergreen. the stem or trunk is from three to 10 Inches in circumference irregularly and much branched, seldom more than one steem proceding from the same root, tho they are frequently associated very thickly. the bark is somewhat rough and of a redish brown colour. the wood is very firm and hard. the leaves are alternate declining and attatched by a short fotstalk to the two horizontal sides of the boughs; the form is a long oval, reather more accute towards its apex than at the point of insertion; it's margin slightly serrate, it's sides colapsing or partially foalding upwards or channelled; it is also thick firm smothe and glossey, the upper surface of a fine deep green, while the under disk is of a pale or whiteish green. this shrub retains it's virdure very perfectly during the winter and is a beautifull shrub.- the natives either eat these berrys when ripe immediately from the bushes or dryed in the sun or by means of their sweating kilns; very frequently they pound them and bake then in large loaves of 10 or fifteen pounds; this bread keeps very well during one season and retains the moist jeucies of the fruit much better than by any other method of preservation. this bread is broken and stired in could water until it be sufficiently thick and then eaten; in this way the natives most generally use it.