The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, April 2, 1806
Lewis, April 2, 1806
Wednesday April 2ed 1806. This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment or some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dryed meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. to exchange our perogues for canoes with the natives on our way to the great falls of the columbia or purchase such canoes from them for Elkskins and Merchandize as would answer our purposes. these canoes we intend exchanging with the natives of the plains for horses as we proceed untill we obtain as many as will enable us to travel altogether by land. at some convenient point, perhaps at the entrence of the S. E. branch of the Columbia, we purpose sending a party of four or five men a head to collect our horses that they may be in readiness for us by our arrival at the Chopunnish; calculating by thus acquiring a large stock of horses we shall not only sucure the means of transporting our baggage over the mountains but that we will also have provided the means of subsisting; for we now view the horses as our only certain resource for food, nor do we look forward to it with any detestation or borrow, so soon is the mind which is occupyed with any interesting object reconciled to it's situation. The men who were sent in quest of the Elk and deer that were killed yesterday returned at 8 A.M. this morning. we now enformed the party of our intention of laying in a store of meat at this place, and immediately dispatched two parteis consisting of nine men to the opposite side of the river. five of those we sent below the Quicksand river and 4 above. we also sent out three others on this side, and those who remained in camp were employed in collecting wood making a scaffoald and cuting up the meat in order to dry it. about this time several canoes of the natives arrived at our camp and among others one from below which had on board eight men of the Shah-ha-la nation these men informed us that 2 young men whom they pointed out were Cash-hooks and resided at the falls of a large river which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South side some miles below us. we readily prevailed on them to give us a sketch of this river which they drew on a mat with a coal. it appeared that this river which they called Mult-no-mah discharged itself behind the Island which we called the image canoe Island and as we had left this island to the S. both in ascending and decending the river we had never seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and run a considerable distance to the South between the mountains. Capt. Clark determined to return and examine this river accordingly he took a party of seven men and one of the perogues and set out 1/2 after 11 A.M., he hired one of the Cashhooks, for a birning glass, to pilot him to the entrance of the Multnomah river and took him on board with him. in their manners dress language and stature these people are the same with the quathlahpohtle nation and others residing in the neighbourhood of wappetoe Island. near the entrance of multnomah river a considerable nation resides on the lower side of that stream by the same name. as many as ten canoes with natives arrived at our camp in the course of the day; most of them were families of men women and children decencing the river. they all gave the same account of the scarcity of provision above. I shot my air gun, with which they were much astonished. one family consisting of ten or twelve persons remained near us all night. they conducted themselves in a very orderly manner. the three hunters on this side of the river returned in the evening they had killed two deer, tho they were so poor and at such a distance from camp that they brought in their skins only. the night and morning being cloudy I was again disappointed in making the observations I wished.
Fir is the common growth of the uplands, as is the cottonwood, ash; large leafed ash and sweet willow that of the bottom lands. the huckleburry, shallon, and the several evergreen shrubs of that speceis which bear burries have seased to appear except that speceis which has the leaf with a prickly margin. among the plants of this prarie in which we are encamped I observe the passhequo, Shannetahque, and compound firn the roots of which the natives eat; also the water cress, strawburry, flowering pea not yet in blume, the sinquefoil, narrow dock, sand rush which are luxuriant and abundant in the river bottoms; a speceis of the bearsclaw of which I preserved a specemine it is in blume. the large leafed thorn has also disappeared. the red flowering currant is found here in considerable quantities on the uplands. the hunters inform me that there are extensive praries on the highlands a few miles back from the river on this side. the land is very fertile.