Clark, November 24, 1805
Sunday November 24th 1805.
A fair morning Sent out 6 hunters, and we proceeded to make the following observations a Chief and Several men of the Chin nook nation Came to Smoke with us this evening one of the men brought a Small Sea otter Skin for which we gave Some blue beads- this day proved fair which gave us an oppertunity of drying our wet articles, bedding &c. &c. nothing killed to day except one Brant. the variation of the Compass is 16° East.
being now determined to go into Winter quarters as Soon as possible, as a convenient Situation to precure the Wild animals of the forest which must be our dependance for Subsisting this Winter, we have every reason to believe that the nativs have not provisions Suffient for our Consumption, and if they had, their price's are So high that it would take ten times as much to purchase their roots & Dried fish as we have in our possesion, encluding our Small remains of merchindz and Clothes &c. This Certinly enduces every individual of the party to make diligient enquiries of the nativs the part of the Countrey in which the wild Animals are most plenty. They generaly agree that the most Elk is on the opposit Shore, and that the greatest numbers of Deer is up the river at Some distance above
The Elk being an animal much larger than Deer, easier to kiled better meat (in the winter when pore) and Skins better for the Clothes of our party; added to-, a convenient Situation to the Sea coast where we Could make Salt, and a probibility of vessels Comeing into the mouth of Columbia ("which the Indians inform us would return to trade with them in 3 months") from whome we might precure a fresh Supply of Indian trinkets to purchase provisions on our return home; together with the Solicitations of every individual, except one of our party induced us Conclude to Cross the river and examine the opposit Side, and if a Sufficent quantity of Elk could probebly be precured to fix on a Situation as convenient to the Elk & Sea Coast as we Could find- added to the above advantagies in being near the Sea Coast one most Strikeing one occurs to me i e, the Climate which must be from every appearance much milder than that above the 1st range of Mountains, The Indians are Slightly Clothed and give an account of but little Snow, and the weather which we have experiened Since we arrived in the neighbourhood of the Sea Coast has been verry warm, and maney of the fiew days past disagreeably So. if this Should be the Case it will most Certainly be the best Situation of our naked party dressed as they are altogether in leather.