The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, March 30, 1806
Lewis, March 30, 1806
Sunday March 30th 1806. We got under way very early in the morning, and had not reached the head of the island before we were met by three men of the Clan-nah-minna-mun nation one of whom we recognized being the same who had accompanied us yesterday, and who was very pressing in his entreaties that we should visit his nation on the inlet S. W. of Wappetoe island. at the distance of about 2 M. or at the head of the quathlahpahtle island we met a party of the Claxtars and Cathlahcumups in two canoes; soon after we were met by several canoes of the different nations who reside on each side of the river near this place. Wappetoe Island is about 20 miles long and from 5 to 10 in width; the land is high and extreemly fertile and intersected in many parts with ponds which produce great quantities of the sagittaria Sagittifolia, the bulb of which the natives call wappetoe. there is a heavy growth of Cottonwood, ash, the large leafed ash and sweet willow on most parts of this island. the black alder common on the coast has now disappeared. we passed several fishing camps on wappetoe island and at the distance of 5 miles above quathlahpotle Island on the N. E. side we halted for breakfast near the place we had encamped on the evening of the 4th of November last; here we were visited by several canoes which came off from two towns situated a little distance above us on wappetoe Island. the 1st of these tribes about 2 miles above us call themselves Clan-nah-quah, the other about a mile above them call themselves Mult-no-mah. from these visiters we purchased a sturgeon and some wappetoe and pashequa, for which we gave some small fishinghooks. these like the natives below are great higglers in dealing. at 10 A.M. we set out and had not proceeded far before we came to a landing place of the natives where there were several large canoes drawn out on shore and several natives seting in a canoe apparently waiting our arrival; they joined the fleet and continued with us some miles. we halted a few minutes at this landing and the Indians pointed to a village which was situated abut 2 miles from the river behid a pond lying parallel with it on the N. E. side nearly opposite to the Clan-nah-quah town. here they informed us that the Sho-toes resided. here we were joined by several other canoes of natives from the Island. most of these people accompanyed us untill 4 in the evening when they all returned; their principal object I beive was merely to indulge their curiossity in looking at us. they appeared very friendly, tho most had taken the precaution to bring with them their warlike implements. we continued our rout along the N. E. shore of the river to the place we had halted to dine on the 4th of Novembr opposite to the center of Immage canoe island where the Indians stole Capt. Clarks tomahawk. here we encamped a little before sunset in a beautifull prarie above a large pond having traveled 23 M. I took a walk of a few miles through the prarie and an open grove of oak timber which borders the prarie on the back part. I saw 4 deer in the course of my walk and much appearance of both Elk and deer. Joseph feields who was also out a little above me saw several Elk and deer but killed none of them; they are very shye and the annual furn which is now dry and abundant in the bottoms makes so much nois in passing through it that it is extreemly difficult to get within reach of the game. Fends killed and brought with him a duck. about 10 P.M. an indian alone in a small canoe arrived at our camp, he had some conversation with the centinel and soon departed. The natives who inhabit this valley are larger and reather better made than those of the coast. like those people they are fond of cold, hot, & vapor baths of which they make frequent uce both in sickness and in health and at all seasons of the year. they have also a very singular custom among them of baithing themselves allover with urine every morning. The timber and apearance of the country is much as before discribed. the up lands are covered almost entirely with a heavy growth of fir of several speceis like those discribed in the neighbourhood of Fort Clatsop; the white cedar is also found hereof large size; no white pine nor pine of any other kind. we had a view of mount St. helines and Mount Hood. the 1st is the most noble looking object of it's kind in nature. it's figure is a regular cone. both these mountains are perfectly covered with snow; at least the parts of them which are visible. the highlands in this valley are rolling tho by no means too steep for cultivation they are generally fertile of a dark rich loam and tolerably free of stones. this valley is terminated on it's lower side by the mountanous country which borders the coast, and above by the rainge of mountains which pass the Columbia between the great falls and rapids of the Columbia river. it is about 70 miles wide on a direct line and it's length I beleive to be very extensive tho how far I cannot determine. this valley would be copetent to the mantainance of 40 or 50 thousand souls if properly cultivated and is indeed the only desireable situation for a settlement which I have seen on the West side of the Rocky mountains.