The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, April 29, 1806
Lewis, April 29, 1806
Tuesday April 29th 1806. This morning Yellept furnished us with two canoes and we began to transport our baggage over the river; we also sent a party of the men over to collect the horses. we purchased some dogs and shappellell this morning. we had now a store of 12 dogs for our voyage through the plains. by 11 A.M. we had passed the river with our party and baggage but were detained several hours in consequence of not being able to collect our horses. our guide now informed us that it was too late in the evening to reach an eligible place to encamp; that we could not reach any water before night. we therefore thought it best to remain on the Wallahwollah river about a mile from the Columbia untill the morning, and accordingly encamped on that river near a fish wear. this wear consists of two curtains of small willow switches matted together with four lines of withs of the same materials extening quite across the river, parrallel with eah other and about 6 feet assunder. those are supported by several parsels of poles placed in the manner before discribed of the fishing wears. these curtains of willow are either roled at one end for a few feet to permit the fish to pass or are let down at pleasure. they take their fish which at present are a mullet only of from one to five lbs., with small seines of 15 or 18 feet long drawn by two persons; these they drag down to the wear and raise the bottom of the seine against the willow curtain. they have also a small seine maniaged by one person it bags in the manner of the scooping net; the one side of the net is confined to a simicircular bow of half the size of a man's arm and about 5 feet long; the other side is confined to a strong string which being attatched to the extremities of the bow forms the cord line to the simicircle. The Wallahwollah river discharges itself into the Columbia on it's S. side 15 miles below the entrance of Lewis's river or the S. E. branch. a high range of hills pass the Columbia just below the entrance of this river. this is a handsome stream about 41/2 feet deep and 50 yds. wide; it's bed is composed of gravel principally with some sand and mud; the banks are abrupt but not high, tho it dose not appear to overflow; the water is clear. the indians inform us that it has it's surces in the range of mountains in view of us to the E and S. E. these mountains commence a little to the south of Mt. Hood and extending themselves in a N. Eastwardly direction terminate near a Southen branch of Lewis's river short of the Rocky mountains. The Towannahiooks river, river LaPage and the Wollah-wollah rivers all take their rise on the N side of these mountains; two principal branches of the first of these take their rise in Mountains Jefferson and hood. these mountains are covered with snow at present tho do not appear high; they seperate the waters of the Multnomah from those of the Columbia river. they appear to be about 65 or 70 miles distant from hence. The Snake indian prisoner informed us that at some distance in the large plains to the South of those mountains there was a large river runing to the N. W. which was as wide as the Columbia at this place which is nearly one mile. this account is no doubt some what exagerated but it serves to evince the certainty of the Multnomah being a very large river and that it's waters are seperated from the Columbia by those mountains and that with the aid of a southwardly branch of Lewis's river which passes arrond the eastern extremity of those mountains, it must water that vast tract of country extending from those mountains to the waters of the gulph of California. and no doubt it heads with the Yellowstone river and the del Nord. we gave small medals to two inferior cheifs of this nation and they each presented us a fine horse in return we gave them sundry articles and among others one of my case pistols and several hundred rounds of amunition. there are 12 other lodges of the Wollahwollah nation on this river a little distance below our camp. 12 these as well as those beyond the Columbia appear to depend on this fishing wear for their subsistence. these people as well as the Chymnahpos are very well dressed, much more so particularly their women than they were as we decended the river last fall most of them have long shirts and leggings, good robes and mockersons. their women wear the truss when they cannot procure the shirt, but very few are seen with the former at this moment. I presume the success of their winters hunt has produced this change in their attire. they all cut their hair in their forehead and most of the men wear the two cews over each sholder in front of the body; some have the addition of a few small plats formed of the earlocks and others tigh a small bundle of the docked foretop in front of the forehead. their ornaments are such as discribed of the nations below and are woarn in a similar manner. they insisted on our dancinq this evening but it rained a little the wind blew hard and the weather was cold, we therefore did not indulge them.