The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, April 1, 1806
Clark, April 1, 1806
Tuesday April 1st 1806
This morning early we dispatched Sergt. Pryor, with two men in a Small canoe up quick sand river with orders to proceed as far as he Could and return this evening. we also Sent a party of three hunters over the river to hunt a large bottom of woodland and prarie above the enterance of Q. Sand River; the ballance of the hunters we Sent out in different directions on this Side of the Columbia, and employed those about Camp in makeing a rope of Elk Skin.
The information given by the indians to us last night respecting quick Sand river was corrobarated by Sundery other indians who visited us in the Course of this day. we were now convinced that if there information be just; that Some Considerable river which flowed into the Columbia on it's South Side below us which we have not yet Seen, as the extensive vally on that Side of the river lying between the mountanious Country of the Coast, and the western mountains must be watered by Some Stream, which we had heretofore Supposed was the quick Sand river. but if it be a fact that Quick Sand river heads in Mount Hood it must leave the vally within a fiew miles of it's enterance, and runs nearly parrilal with the Columbia River upwards. we indeavered to assertained by what Stream the South portion of the Columbian Vally was watered, but could obtain no Satisfactory information of the waters on this head. they inform us that the quick Sand river is not naviagable any distance in consequence of falls and rapids; and that no nation inhabit it. Sergt. Pryor returned in the evening and reported that he had assended the river Six Miles; that above the point which it divides itself into two Chanels, it is about 300 yards wide tho the Chanel is not more than 50 yards, and only 6 feet deep. the other part of the river from 2 to 4 inches water, the bead of this river is formed entirely of quick Sand; its banks are low and at present overflown. the water is turbed and current rapid.- The following are the Courses taken by Sergt. Pryor.- "S. 10° W. 1 mile to a point on the Lard. Side passing a large island on Stard Side. S 24° E. 2 m. to the head of the island near the Lard Shore. S 33° E 4 m. to a Stard. point passing Several islands on the Lard Side and a Creek 50 yards wide on the Stard. Side at 11/2 miles. the river from hence upwards bend to the East. a fall of water heard at no great distance up this river." Several diffirent tribes of indians inform us that it heads at Mount Hood which is in view.
We were visited by Several Canoes of the nativs in the Course of this day; most of whome were decending the river with their womin and children. they inform us that they reside at the great rapids and that their relations at that place were much Streightened for the want of food; that they had consumed their winter Store of dryed fish and those of the present Season had not yet arived. I could not lern whether they took Sturgion but prosume if they do it is in but Small quantities as they complain much of the Scercity of food among them, they informed us that the nativs above them were in the Same Situation, and that they did not expect the Salmon to arrive untill the full of the next moon which happens on the 2nd of May. we did not doubt the veracity of those people who Seamed to be on their way with their families and effects in serch of Subsistence which they find it easy to precure in this fertile Vally-. This information givs us much uneasiness with respect to our future means of Subsistence, above the falls, on through the Plains from thence to the Chopunnish there are no Deer Antilopes or Elk on which we could depend for Subsistence; their horses are very poor most probably at this Season, and if they have no fish their dogs must be in the Same Situation. under these circumstances there Seams to be a gloomey prospect for Subsistence on any terms; we therefore took it into Serious Consideration what measure we were to pursue on this Occasion; it was at once deemed inexpedient to waite the arival of the Salmon as that would detain us So long a portion of the Season that it is probable we Should not reach the U States before the ice would close the Missouri; or at all events would hazard our horses which we left in charge of the Chopunnish who informed us that they intended passing the Rocky Mountains to the Missouri as early as the Season would permit them which is about the first of May. Should these people leave their Situation near Kooskooske before our arival we may probably find much dificulty in recovering our horses; without which there will be but little possibility of repassing the Mountains; we are therefore determined to lose as little time as possible in getting to the Cho punnish Village.
at 3 P.M. the hunters who were Sent over the river returned, haveing Killed 4 Elk and 2 Deer; the Elk were in good order but the deer extreemly poor. they informed us that game is very plenty in that quarter. the hunters on this Side of the river also returned but had killed nothing; they Saw a fiew Elk and Deer. there were also much Sign of the black bear Seen on the other Side of the river. we Sent a party to bring in the flesh of the Elk and Deer that were killed. they did not return this evening. We purchased a Canoe from an Indian today for Six fathoms of white wampom; he Seemed Satisfied with his bargin and departed in another Canoe but Shortly after returned and canseled the bargain, took his canoe and returned the beeds. this is frequently the case in their method of tradeing and is deemed fair by them. The last evening and this morning were So cloudy that we could neither obtain any Lunar observations nor equal altitudes