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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, April 17, 1806

Thursday April 17th 1806. This morning early I sent out the hunters, and set several additional hands about the packsaddles. I find that the sturgeon is not taken by any of the natives above the Columbean vally. the inhabitants of the rapids at this time take a few of the white salmon trout and considerable quantities of a small indifferent mullet on which they principally subsist. I have seen none except dryed fish of the last season in the possession of the people above that place, they subsist on roots principally with some dryed and pounded fish. the salmon not having made their appearance proves a serious inconvenience to us. but few of the natives visited my camp today and those only remained a few hours. even at this place which is merely on the border of the plains of Columbia the climate seems to have changed the air feels dryer and more pure. the earth is dry and seems as if there had been no rain for a week or ten days. the plain is covered with a rich virdure of grass and herbs from four to nine inches high and exhibits a beautiful) seen particularly pleasing after having been so long imprisoned in mountains and those almost impenetrably thick forrests of the seacoast. Joseph Feilds brought me today three eggs of the party coloured corvus, they are about the size and shape of those of the pigeon. they are bluish white much freckled with dark redish brown irregular spots, in short it is reather a mixture of those colours in which the redish brown predominates, particularly towards the larger end.- This evening Willard and Cruzatte returned from Capt. Clark and brought me a note in which Capt. C. informed me that he had sill been unsuccessful) having not obtained a single horse as yet from the natives and the state of our stores are so low that I begin to fear we shall not be enabled to obtain as many horses at this place as will convey our baggage and unless we do obtain a sufficient number for that purpose we shall not hasten our progress as a part of our baggage must still be conveyed by water. Capt. C. informed me that he should proceed as far as the Eneshur village today and would return tomorrow and join me at the Skillute village to which place I mean to proceed with the party tomorrow. I dispatched Shannon with a note to Capt. Clark in which I requested him to double the price we have heretofore offered for horses and if possible obtain as many as five, by this means we shall be enabled to proceed immediately with our small canoes and those horses to the villages in the neighbourhood of the mussel shell rapid where horses are more abundant and cheaper; with the remainder of our merchandize in addition to the canoes we can no doubt obtain as many horses there as will answer our purposes. delay in the villages at the narrows and falls will be expensive to us inasmuch as we will be compelled to purchase both fuel and food of the indians, and might the better enable them to execute any hostile desighn should they meditate any against us.- all the hunters returned in the evening. Sheilds had killed one deer which he brought with him. the packsaddles were completed this evening. I had some Elkskins put in the water today make harnes for the packhorses but shall not cut them untill I know the number we can obtain.- there is a species of hiasinth in these plains the bulb of which the natives eat either boiled baked or dryed in the sun. this bulb is white, not entirely solid, and of a flat form; the bulb of the present year overlays, or crowns that of the last, and seems to be pressed close to it, the old bulb is withered much thiner equally wide with that of the present year and sends fourth from it's sides a number of small radicles.- this hiasinth is of a pale blue colour and is a very pretty flower. I preserved a specemine of it.