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This morning early we dispatched Sergt. Pryar with two men in a small canoe up quicksand river with orders to proceed as far as he could and return this evening. we also sent a party of three hunters  over the river to hunt a large bottom of woodland and prarie above the entrance of the Quicksand river; the ballance of the hunters we sent out in different directions on this side of the Columbia and employed those about camp in making a rope of Elkskin. the Indians who encamped near us last evening continued with us untill about midday. they informed us that the quicksand river which we have heretofore deemed so considerable, only extendes through the Western mountains as far as the S. Western side of mount hood where it takes it's source.  this mountain bears E from this place and is distant about 40 miles. this information was corroborated by that of sundry other indians who visited us in the course of the day. we were now convinced that there must be some other considerable river which flowed into the columbia on it's south side below us which we have not yet seen, as the extensive valley on that side of the river lying between the mountainous country of the Coast and the Western mountains  must be watered by some stream which we had heretofore supposed was the quicksand river. but if it be a fact that the quicksand river heads in Mount Hood it must leave the valley within a few miles of it's entrance and runs nearly parallel with the Columbia river upwards. we indeavoured to ascertain by what steam the southern portion of the Columbia valley was watered but could obtain no satisfactory information of the natives on this head. they informed us that the quicksand river is navigable a short distance only in consequence of falls and rapids; and that no nation inhabits it.— Sergt. Pryar returned in the evening and reported that he had ascended the river six miles; that above the point at which it divides itself into two channels it is about 300 yds wide tho' the channel is not more than 50 yds and only 6 ft deep. this is a large vollume of water to collect in so short a distance; I therefore think it probable that there are some large creeks falling into it from the S. W. the bed of this stream is formed entirely of quicksand; it's banks are low and at preasent overflows. the water is turbid and current rapid.— the following are the courses taken by Sergt. Pryor. S. 10° W. 1 M. to a point on the Lard. side passing a large Island on Stard. S. 24° E. 2 m. to the head of an Island near the Lard. shore S 33° E. 4 m. to a stard. point passing several islands on the Lard. side and a creek 50 yds. wide on Stard at 1 ½ miles. the river from hence appeared to bend to the East. he heard falls of water. several different tribes informed us that it heads at Mount Hood. We were visited by several canoes of natives in the course of the day; most of whom were decending the river with their women and children. they informed us that they resided at the great rapids and that their relations at that place were much streightened at that place for the want of food; that they had consumed their winter store of dryed fish and that those of the present season had not yet arrived. I could not learn wheather they took the Sturgeon but presume if they do it is in but small quantities as they complained much of the scarcity of food among them. they informed us that the nations above them were in the same situation & that they did not expect the Salmon to arrive untill the full of the next moon which happens on the 2d of May.  we did not doubt the varacity of these people who seemed to be on their way with their families and effects in surch of subsistence which they find it easy to procure in this fertile valley.— This information gave us much uneasiness with rispect to our future means of subsistence. above falls or through plains from thence to the Chopunnish there are no deer Antelope  nor Elk on which we can depend for subsistence; their horses are very poor most probably at this season, and if they have no fish their dogs must be in the same situation. under these circumstances there seems to be but a gloomy prospect for subsistence on any terms; we therefore took it into serious consideration what measures we were to pursue on this occasion; it was at once deemed inexpedient to wait the arrival of the salmon as that would detain us so large a portion of the season that it is probable we should not reach the United States before the ice would close the Missouri; or at all events would hazard our horses which we lelft in charge of the Chopunnish  who informed us that they intended passing the rocky mountains to the Missouri as early as the season would permit them wich is as we believe about the begining of May. should these people leave their situation near kooskooske  before our arrival we may probably find much difficulty in recovering our horses; without which there will be but little possibility of repassing the mountains; we are therefore determined to loose as little time as possible in geting to the Chopunnish Village. at 3 P. M. the hunters who were sent over the river returned having killed 4 Elk and two deer; the Elk were in good order but the deer extreemly poor. they informed us that game is very plenty in that quarter. the hunters on this side of the river also returned but had killed nothing; they saw a few Elk and deer. there was also much sign of the black bear  seen on the other side of the river. we sent a party to bring in the flesh of the Elk and deer that were killed. they did not return this evening. I purchased a canoe from an Indian today for which I gave him six fathoms of wampum beads;  he seemed satisfyed with his bargain and departed in another canoe but shortly after returned and canceled the bargain; took his canoe and returned the beads. this is frequently the case in their method of traiding and is deemed fair by them. The last evening and this morning were so cloudy that I could neither obtain any Lunar observations nor equal altitudes.—
At our encampment on the N. side of the Columbia opposite the upper entrance of the Quicksand river
it was so cloudy at the time of this observation that cannot vouch for any great accuracy.—
This morning early we dispatched Sergt. Pryor, with two men in a Small canoe up quick sand river with orders to proceed as far as he Could and return this evening. we also Sent a party of three hunters over the river to hunt a large bottom of woodland and prarie above the enterance of Q. Sand River; the ballance of the hunters we Sent out in different directions on this Side of the Columbia, and employed those about Camp in makeing a rope of Elk Skin.
The information given by the indians to us last night respecting quick Sand river was corrobarated by Sundery other indians who visited us in the Course of this day. we were now convinced that if there information 〈must〉 be just; that Some Considerable river which flowed into the Columbia on it's South Side below us which we have not yet Seen, as the extensive vally on that Side of the river lying between the mountanious Country of the Coast, and the western mountains must be watered by Some Stream, which we had heretofore Supposed was the quick Sand river. but if it be a fact that Quick Sand river heads in Mount Hood it must leave the vally within a fiew miles of it's enterance, and runs nearly parrilal with the Columbia River upwards. we indeavered to assertained by what Stream the South portion of the Columbia Vally was watered, but could obtain no Satisfactory information of the waters on this head. they inform us that the quick Sand river is not naviagable any distance in consequence of falls and rapids; and that no nation inhabit it. Sergt. Pryor returned in the evening and reported that he had assended the river Six Miles; that above the point which it divides itself into two Chanels, it is about 300 yards wide tho' the Chanel is not more than 50 yards, and only 6 feet deep. the other part of the river from 2 to 4 inches water, the bead of this river is formed entirely of quick Sand; its banks are low and at present overflown. the water is turbed and current rapid.— The following are the Courses taken by Sergt. Pryor.— "S. 10° W. 1 mile to a point on the Lard. Side passing a large island on Stard Side. S 24° E. 2 m. to the head of the island near the Lard Shore. S 33° E 4 m. to a Stard. point passing several islands on the Lard Side and a Creek 50 yards wide on the Stard. Side at 1 ½ miles. the river from hence upwards bend to the East. a fall of water heard at no great distance up this river." Several diffirent tribes of indians inform us that it heads at Mount Hood which is in view.
We were visited by Several Canoes of the nativs in the Course of this day; most of whome were decending the river with their womin and children. they inform us that they reside at the great rapids and that their relations at that place were much Streightened for the want of food; that they had consumed their winter Store of dryed fish and those of the present Season had not yet arived. I could not lern whether they took Sturgion but prosume if they do it is in but Small quantities as they complain much of the Scercity of food among them, they informed us that the nativs above them were in the Same Situation, and that they did not expect the Salmon to arrive untill the full of the next moon which happens on the 2nd of May. we did not doubt the veracity of those people who Seamed to be on their way with their families and effects in serch of Subsistence which they find it easy to precure in this fertile Vally—. This information givs us much uneasiness with respect to our future means of Subsistence, above the falls, on through the Plains from thence to the Chopunnish there are no Deer Antilopes or Elk on which we could depend for Subsistence; their horses are very poor most probably at this Season, and if they have no fish their dogs must be in the Same Situation. under these circumstances there Seams to be a gloomey prospect for Subsistence on any terms; we therefore took it into Serious Consideration what measure we were to pursue on this Occasion; it was at once deemed inexpedient to waite the arival of the Salmon as that would detain us So long a portion of the Season that it is probable we Should not reach the U States before the ice would close the Missouri; or at all events would hazard our horses which we left in charge of the Chopunnish who informed us that they intended passing the Rocky Mountains to the Missouri as early as the Season would permit them which is about the first of May. Should these people leave their Situation near Kooskooske before our arival we may probably find much dificulty in recovering our horses; without which there will be but little possibility of repassing the Mountains; we are therefore determined to lose as little as possible to getting to the Cho punnish Village.
at 3 P. M. the hunters who were Sent over the river returned, having Killed 4 Elk and 2 Deer; the Elk were in good order but the deer extreemly poor. they informed us that game is very plenty in that quarter. the hunters on this Side of the river also returned but had killed nothing; they Saw a fiew Elk and Deer. there were also much Sign of the black bear Seen on the other Side of the river. we Sent a party to bring in the flesh of the Elk and Deer that were killed. they did not return this evening. We purchased a Canoe from an Indian today for Six fathoms of white wampom; he Seemed Satisfied with his bargin and departed in another Canoe but Shortly after returned and canseled the bargain, took his canoe and returned the beeds. this is frequently the case in their method of tradeing and is deemed fair by them. The last evening and this morning were So cloudy that we could neither obtain any Lunar observation nor equal altitudes.—.
Tuesday 1st of April 1806. Sergt. Pryor & three men was Sent 5 or 6 miles up Quick Sand River to make discovries & Several hunters went up the Seal —River a hunting & others went out in different directions a hunting. a number of the natives visited us as they were passing down the River late in the afternoon Sergt. Pryor returned had been about 4 miles up quick Sand River found the current rapid & only about 4 feet deep. he killed one deer. the other hunter returned had killed 4 Elk and 2 deer and an otter the hunters tells us that the country back from the River is rich land Some praries and rich plains &C. a number of Savages passing down the River in their canoes. we discovred yesterday the top of a high white Mountain Some distance to the Southward our officers name it Mount Jefferson.  2 canoe loads of Savages Camped near us.
Tuesday 1st April, 1806. We had a cloudy morning; and we agreed to stay here all day, for the purpose of hunting. So 9 hunters  set out early; 3 of whom  went up Quicksand river, and killed a deer; the other six killed 4 elk and a deer. In the evening nine of us went to bring in the meat of the elk; but it being late we were obliged to encamp out all night.
Tuesday April 1st This morning our Officers sent Serjeant Pryor & 2 of our party in a Canoe in order to go 5 or Six Miles up 〈Quick Sand or〉 Quicksand or Sandy River, (the River we passed last Evening) & Several of our Men were sent out a hunting. A number of the Natives visited us in their Canoes, as they were passing down the River. these Canoes were loaded with fish Roots &ca— I went up Quick Sand River about 4 Miles. The backwater from the Columbia River went only a quarter of a mile up that River, & then it is a continual rapid as far as I went, & full of Islands, and Sands barrs. Serjeant Pryor killed on his route 1 Deer which he & his party brought to our Camp. Our hunters also returned, & had killed 4 Elk 2 Deer & an Otter. On my route up Quicksand River I saw a Creek  which lay on the East side of that River which was about 50 yards wide. The Quick Sand River is 350 Yards wide & only 50 Yards of Water the remainder being entirely a Quick Sand.— I found this river part of the way up it, 6 feet deep, & the remainder as far up it as I went, only 6 inches deep of water & 4 inches quick sand. we saw a high mountain laying a great distance off to the Southward of us, which appeared to be covered with snow. Our Officers named this Mountain Jefferson Mountain. We had a number of Indians encamped near us for the Night. they came in 2 Canoes
1. Including Gibson. (Return to text.)
2. In Hood River County, Oregon. (Return to text.)
3. The Willamette Valley, between the Coast and Cascade ranges. (Return to text.)
4. Prior to the building of the Columbia River dams, salmon runs peaked about May 1 in this region. (Return to text.)
5. Antelope are more correctly pronghorn, Antilocapra americana. (Return to text.)
6. The term Chopunnish may be from Nez Perce tsoopnit, "(the act of) punching a hole with a pointed object," and by extension tsoopnitpeloo meaning "piercing people." It was the captains' name for the tribe; see September 20, 1805. (Return to text.)
8. Ursus americana. (Return to text.)
9. Apparently strung beads about thirty-six feet in length. (Return to text.)
10. "Seal" may have been added later to a blank space. (Return to text.)
12. Gibson was one of the hunters. (Return to text.)
13. It is not entirely clear if Gass is referring to Pryor's exploring party which was sent up Sandy River, or to a party of three hunters sent to the area above Sandy River. (Return to text.)
14. Probably either Smith Creek or Big Creek, Multnomah County, Oregon. (Return to text.)
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