The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, March 31, 1806
Lewis, March 31, 1806
Monday March 31st 1806
We set out early this morning and proceeded untill 8 A.M. when we Landed on the N. side opposite one large wooden house of the Shah-ha-la nation and took breakfast. when we decended the river in November last there were 24 other lodges formed of Straw and covered with bark near this house; these lodges are now distroyed and the inhabitants as the indians inform us have returned to the great rapids of this river which is their permanent residence; the house which remains is inhabited; soon after we landed two canoes came over from this house with 4 men and a woman. they informed us that their relations who were with them last fall usuly visit them at that season for the purpose of hunting deer and Elk and collecting wappetoe and that they had lately returned to the rapids I presume to prepare for the fishing season as the Salmon will begin to run shortly.- this morning we overtook the man who had visited our camp last night he had a fine sturgeon in his canoe which he had just taken. the Sagittaria Sagittifolia dose not grow on this river above the Columbian valley.- These indians of the rapids frequently visit this valley at every season of the year for the purpose of collecting wappetoe which is abundant and appears never to be out of season at any time of the year. at 10 A.M. we resumed our march accompanyed by three men in a canoe; one of these fellows appeared to be a man of some note among them; he was dressed in a salor's jacket which was decorated in his own fassion with five rows of large and small buttons in front and some large buttons on the pocket flaps. they are remarkably fond of large brass buttons. these people speak a different language from those below tho in their dress habits manners &c they differ but little from the quathlahpohtles. their women wear the truss as those do of all the nations residing from the quathlahpohtles to the entrance of Lewis's river. they differ in the manner of intering their dead. they lay them horizontally on boards and cover them with mats, in a valt formed with boards like the roof of a hose supported by forks and a single pole laid horizontally on those forks. many bodies are deposited in the same valt above ground. these are frequently laid one on the other, to the hight of three or for corps. they deposit with them various articles of which they die possessed, and most esteem while living. their canoes are frequently broken up to strengthen the vault.- these people have a few words the same with those below but the air of the language is intirely different, insomuch, that it may be justly deemed a different language. their women wear longer and larger robes generally, than those below; these are most commonly made of deer skins dressed with the hair on them. we continued our rout along the N. side of the river passed diamond Island and whitebrant island to the lower point of a handsom prarie opposite to the upper entrance of the Quicksand river; here we encamped having traveled 25 miles today. a little below the upper point of the White brant Island Seal river discharges itself on the N. side. it is about 80 yards wide, and at present discharges a large body of water. the water is very clear. the banks are low and near the Columbia overflow and form several large ponds. the natives inform us that it is of no great extent and heads in the mountains just above us. at the distance of one mile from the entrance of this stream it forks, the two branches being nearly of the same size. they are both obstructed with falls and innumerable rappids, insomuch that it cannot be navigated. as we could not learn any name of the natives for this stream we called it Seal river from the great abundance of those animals which we saw about it's entrance. we determined to remain at our present encampment a day or two for the several purposes of examining quicksand river making some Celestial observations, and procuring some meat to serve us as far as the falls or through the Western mountains where we found the game scarce as we decended.- the three indians who accompanied us last evening encamped a little distance above us and visited our camp where they remained untill 9 P.M. in the entrance of Seal river I saw a summer duck or wood duck as they are sometimes called. this is the same with those of our country and is the first I have seen since I entered the rocky mountains last summer.- our hunters who had halted a little below Seal river in consequence of the waves being too high for their small canoe did not join us untill after dark. Drewyer who was out below Seal river informed us that game was very scarce in that quarter, a circumstance which we did not expect.