The Journals of Lewis & Clark: March 31, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
March 30, 1806
April 1, 1806

March 31, 1806

Monday March 31st 1806

We set out early this morning and proceeded untill 8 A.M. when we Landed on the N. side opposite one large wooden house of the Shah-ha-la nation and took breakfast. when we decended the river in November last there were 24 other lodges formed of Straw and covered with bark near this house; these lodges are now distroyed and the inhabitants as the indians inform us have returned to the great rapids of this river which is their permanent residence; the house which remains is inhabited; soon after we landed two canoes came over from this house with 4 men and a woman. they informed us that their relations who were with them last fall usuly visit them at that season for the purpose of hunting deer and Elk and collecting wappetoe and that they had lately returned to the rapids I presume to prepare for the fishing season as the Salmon will begin to run shortly.- this morning we overtook the man who had visited our camp last night he had a fine sturgeon in his canoe which he had just taken. the Sagittaria Sagittifolia dose not grow on this river above the Columbian valley.- These indians of the rapids frequently visit this valley at every season of the year for the purpose of collecting wappetoe which is abundant and appears never to be out of season at any time of the year. at 10 A.M. we resumed our march accompanyed by three men in a canoe; one of these fellows appeared to be a man of some note among them; he was dressed in a salor's jacket which was decorated in his own fassion with five rows of large and small buttons in front and some large buttons on the pocket flaps. they are remarkably fond of large brass buttons. these people speak a different language from those below tho in their dress habits manners &c they differ but little from the quathlahpohtles. their women wear the truss as those do of all the nations residing from the quathlahpohtles to the entrance of Lewis's river. they differ in the manner of intering their dead. they lay them horizontally on boards and cover them with mats, in a valt formed with boards like the roof of a hose supported by forks and a single pole laid horizontally on those forks. many bodies are deposited in the same valt above ground. these are frequently laid one on the other, to the hight of three or for corps. they deposit with them various articles of which they die possessed, and most esteem while living. their canoes are frequently broken up to strengthen the vault.- these people have a few words the same with those below but the air of the language is intirely different, insomuch, that it may be justly deemed a different language. their women wear longer and larger robes generally, than those below; these are most commonly made of deer skins dressed with the hair on them. we continued our rout along the N. side of the river passed diamond Island and whitebrant island to the lower point of a handsom prarie opposite to the upper entrance of the Quicksand river; here we encamped having traveled 25 miles today. a little below the upper point of the White brant Island Seal river discharges itself on the N. side. it is about 80 yards wide, and at present discharges a large body of water. the water is very clear. the banks are low and near the Columbia overflow and form several large ponds. the natives inform us that it is of no great extent and heads in the mountains just above us. at the distance of one mile from the entrance of this stream it forks, the two branches being nearly of the same size. they are both obstructed with falls and innumerable rappids, insomuch that it cannot be navigated. as we could not learn any name of the natives for this stream we called it Seal river from the great abundance of those animals which we saw about it's entrance. we determined to remain at our present encampment a day or two for the several purposes of examining quicksand river making some Celestial observations, and procuring some meat to serve us as far as the falls or through the Western mountains where we found the game scarce as we decended.- the three indians who accompanied us last evening encamped a little distance above us and visited our camp where they remained untill 9 P.M. in the entrance of Seal river I saw a summer duck or wood duck as they are sometimes called. this is the same with those of our country and is the first I have seen since I entered the rocky mountains last summer.- our hunters who had halted a little below Seal river in consequence of the waves being too high for their small canoe did not join us untill after dark. Drewyer who was out below Seal river informed us that game was very scarce in that quarter, a circumstance which we did not expect.

Monday March 31st 1806

we Set out this morning and proceeded untill 8 oClock when we landed on the N. Side opposit one large House of the Shah-ha-la Nation near this house at the time we passed on the 4th of November last was Situated 25 houses, 24 of them were built of Straw & Covered with bark as before mentioned. those of that description are all distroyed, the one built of wood only remains and is inhabited. we overtook the man whome came to our Camp last night and Soon after we landed two canoes Came over from the opposit Side with 5 men & a woman those people informed us that their relations who was with them last fall reside at the Great rapids, and were down with them last fall gathering Wappato which did not grow above, and also killing deer, that they Secured the bark of the houses which they then lived in against their return next fall. they also inform us that their relations also visit them frequently in the Spring to collect this root which is in great quantities on either Side of the Columbia. at 10 A. M we proceeded on accompanied by one Canoe and three men, one of them appeared to be a man of Some note, dressed in a Salors jacket which had 5 rows of large & Small buttons on it. Those people Speak a differant language from those below, with Some fiew Words the Same, the accent entirely different. their dress and Manners appear very Similar. the women ware the truss or breach clout and Short robes, and men roabs only passed up on the N. Side of White brant Island near the upper point of Which a Small river falls in about 80 yards wide and at this time discharges a great quantity of water. the nativs inform us that this river is very Short and heads in the range of mountains to the N E of its enterance into the Columbia the nativs haveing no name which we could learn for this little river we Call it Seal river from the great number of those Animals which frequents its mouth. this river forks into two nearly equal branches about 1 mile up and each branch is crouded with rapids & falls. we proceed on about 2 miles above the enterance of this Seacalf river and imedeately opposit the upper mouth of the quick Sand river we formed a Camp in a Small Prarie on the North Side of the Columbia where we intend to delay one or two days to make Some Selestial observations, to examine quick sand river, and kill Some meat to last us through the Western Mountains which Commences a fiew miles above us and runs in a N. N. W. & S. S. E. derection. The three Indians encamped near us and visited our fire we entered into a kind of a Conversation by signs, of the Country and Situation of the rivers. they informed us that Seal river headed in the mountains at no great distance. quick Sand river was Short only headed in Mt. Hood which is in view and to which he pointed. this is a circumstance we did not expect as we had heretofore deemed a considerable river. Mount Hood bears East from this place and is distant from this place about 40 miles. this information if true will render it necessary to examine the river below on the South Side behind the image canoe and Wappato islands for some river which must water the Country weste of the western mountains to the Waters of California. The Columbia is at present on a Stand and we with dificuelty made 25 miles to day-.