The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 9, 1806
Lewis, May 9, 1806
Friday May 9th 1806. We sent out several hunters early this morning with instructions to meet us at the lodge of the Twisted hair. Collecting our horses detained us untill 9 A.M. when we charged our packhorses and set out. our rout lay through a level rich country similar to that of yesterday; at the distance of 6 miles we arrived at the lodge of the twisted hair; this habitation was built in the usual form with sticks mats and dryed hay, and contained 2 firs and about 12 persons. even at this small habitation there was an appendage of the soletary lodge, the retreat of the tawny damsels when nature causes them to be driven into coventry; here we halted as had been previously concerted, and one man with 2 horses accompayed the twisted hair to the canoe camp, about 4 ms. in quest of the saddles. the Twisted hair sent two young men in surch of our horses agreeably to his promis. The country along the rocky mountains for several hundred miles in length and about 50 in width is level extreemly fertile and in many parts covered with a tall and open growth of the longleafed pine. near the watercouses the hills are steep and lofty tho are covered with a good soil not remarkably stony and possess more timber than the level country. the bottom lands on the watercourses are reather narrow and confined tho fertile & seldom inundated. this country would form an extensive settlement; the climate appears quite as mild as that of similar latitude on the Atlantic coast if not more so and it cannot be otherwise than healthy; it possesses a fine dry pure air. the grass and many plants are now upwards of knee high. I have no doubt but this tract of country if cultivated would produce in great abundance every article essentially necessary to the comfort and subsistence of civillized man. to it's present inhabitants nature seems to have dealt with a liberal hand, for she has distributed a great variety of esculent plants over the face of the country which furnish them a plentiful) store of provision; these are acquired with but little toil, and when prepared after the method of the natives afford not only a nutricious but an agreeable food. among other roots those called by them the Quawmash and Cows are esteemed the most agreeable and valuable as they are also the most abundant. the cows is a knobbed root of an irregularly rounded form not unlike the Gensang in form and consistence. this root they collect, rub of a thin black rhind which covers it and pounding it expose it in cakes to the sun. these cakes ate about an inch and 1/4 thick and 6 by 18 in width, when dryed they either eat this bread alone without any further preperation, or boil it and make a thick muselage; the latter is most common and much the most agreeable. the flavor of this root is not very unlike the gensang.- this root they collect as early as the snows disappear in the spring and continue to collect it until) the quawmash supplys it's place which happens about the latter end of June. the quawmash is also collected for a few weaks after it first makes it's appearance in the spring, but when the scape appears it is no longer fit for use untill the seed are ripe which happens about the time just mentioned, and then the cows declines. the latter is also frequently dryed in the sun and pounded afterwards and then used in making soope.- I observed a few trees of the larch and a few small bushes of the balsam fir near the lodge of the Twisted hair. at 2 P.M. our hunters joined us Drewyer killed a deer but lost it in the river. a few pheasants was the produce of the hunt. we procured a few roots of cows of which we made scope. late in the evening The Twisted hair and Willard returned; they brought about half of our saddles, and some powder and lead which had been buried at that place. my saddle was among the number of those which were lost. about the same time the young men arrived with 21 of our horses. the greater part of our horses were in fine order. five of them appeared to have been so much injured by the indians riding them last fall that they had not yet recovered and were in low order. three others had soar backs. we had these horses caught and hubbled. the situation of our camp was a disagreeable one in an open plain; the wind blew violently and was cold. at seven P.M. it began to rain and hail, at 9 it was succeeded by a heavy shower of snow which continued untill the next morning.- several indians joined us this evening from the village of the broken arm or Tunnachemootoolt and continued all night. The man who had imposed himself on us as a relation of the twisted hair rejoined us this evening we found him an impertinent proud supercilious fellow and of no kind of rispectability in the nation, we therefore did not indulge his advances towards a very intimate connection. The Cutnose lodged with the twisted hair I beleive they have become good friends again. several indians slept about us.