Clark, February 14, 1806
Friday February 14th 1806
We are very uneasy with respect to our Sick men at the Salt works. Serjt. Pryor and party haveing not yet returneded, nor can we conceive what can be the Cause of their delay. Drewyer visited his traps & to day and Cought a fine fat beaver on which we feasted this evening and thought it a great delecessey.-.
I compleated a map of the Countrey through which we have been passing from the Mississippi at the Mouth of Missouri to this place. In the Map the Missouri Jefferson's river the S. E. branch of the Columbia or Lewis's river, Koos-koos-ke and Columbia from the enterance of the S. E fork to the pacific Ocian, as well as a part of Clark's river and our track across the Rocky Mountains are laid down by celestial observations and Survey. the rivers are also conected at their Sources with other rivers agreeably to the information of the nativs and the most probable conjecture arrising from their capacities and the relative positions of their respective enterances which last have with but fiew exceptions been established by celestial observations. We now discover that we have found the most practicable and navigable passage across the Continent of North America; it is that which we have traveled with the exception of that part of our rout from the foot of the Falls of the Missouri, or in neighbourhood of the enterance of the Rocky Mountains untill we arive on Clarks river at the enterence of Travelers-rest Creek; the distance between those two points would be traveled more advantagiously by land as the navigation of the Missouri above the Falls is crooked laborious and 521 miles distant by which no advantage is gained as the rout which we are compelled to travel by land from the Source of Jeffersons River to the enterance of Travellers rest Creek is 220 miles being further by At. 600 miles than that from the Falls of the Missourie to the last mentioned point (Travellers rest Creek) and a much worse rout if indian information is to be relied on which is from the So so nee or Snake Indians, and the Flatheads of the Columbia west of the rocky mountains. from the Same information Clarks river like that of the S. E. branch of the Columbia which heads with Jefferson's and Maddisons river's can not be navagated thro the rocky mountains in consequence of falls and rapids, and as a confirmation of the fact we discovered that there were no Salmon in Clark's river, which is not the Case in the S. E. branch of the Columbia altho it is not navagable. added to this, the Indians of different quartes further inform us, that Clark's river runs in the direction of the Rocky Mountains for a great distance to the north before it discharges itself into the Columbia river-- from the Same information the Columbia from the enterance of the S. E. branch to the enterance of Clark's river is obstructed with a great number of dificuelt and dangerous rapids (and the place Clark's river comes out of the Rocky mountains is a tremendious falls &c which there is no possibillity of passing the mountains either by land or water.) Considering therefore the dangers and deficuelties attending the navigation of the Columbia in this part, as well as the circuitous and distant rout formed by itself and that of Clark's River we Conceive that even admitting that Clarks river contrary to information to be as navagable as the Columbia below it's enterance, that the tract by land over the Rocky Mountains usially traveled by the nativs from the enterance of Travellers rest Creek to the Forks of the Kooskooske is preferable; the Same being a distance of 184 miles. The inferrence therefore deduced from these premises are, that the best and most practicable rout across the Continent is by way of the Missouri to the Great Falls; thence to Clarks river at the enterance of Travellers rest Creek, from thence up travillers rest Creek to the forks, from whence you prosue a range of mountains which divides the waters of the two forks of this Creek, and which still Continues it's westwardly Course on the mountains which divides the waters of the two forks of the Kooskooske river to their junction; from thence to decend this river to the S. E. branch of the Columbia, thence down that river to the Columbia, and down the Latter to the Pacific Ocian-. There is a large river which falls into the Columbia on its South Side at what point we could not lern; which passes thro those extencive Columbian Plains from the South East, and as the Indians inform us head in the mountains South of the head of Jeffersons River and at no great distance from the Spanish Settlements, and that that fork which heads with the River Rajhone and waters of the Missouri passes through those extensive plains in which there is no wood, and the river Crowded with rapids & falls many of which are impassable. the other or westerly fork passes near a range of mountains and is the fork which great numbers of Indian Bands of the So sone or Snake Indians, this fork most probably heads with North River or the waters of Callifornia. This River may afford a practicable land Communication with New Mexico by means of its western fork. This river cannot be navagable as an unpracticable rapid is within one mile of its enterance into the Columbia, and we are fully purswaded that a rout by this river if practicable at all, would lengthen the distance greatly and incounter the Same dificuelties in passing the Rocky Mountains with the rout by way of Travellers rest Creek & Clarks river.