October 24, 1805
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October 24, 1805


a fine morning    the Indians approached us with caution.    our 2 old Chiefs deturmin to return home, Saying they were at war with Indians below and they would kill them    we pursuaded them to Stay 2 nights longer with us, with a view to make a peace with those Indians below as well as to have them with us dureing our Delay with this tribe. Capt Lewis went to view the falls    I Set out with the party at 9 oClock a m    at 2½ miles passed a rock which makes from the Stard Side 4 Lodges above 1 below and Confined the river in a narrow channel of about 45 yards [1] this continued for about ¼ of a mile & widened to about 200 yards, in those narrows the water was agitated in a most Shocking manner boils Swell & whorl pools, we passed with great risque It being impossible to make a portage of the Canoes, about 2 miles lower passed a verry Bad place between 2 rocks one large & in the middle of the river    here our Canoes took in Some water, I put all the men who Could not Swim on Shore; & Sent a fiew articles Such as guns & papers, and landed at a village of 20 houses on the Stard Side in a Deep bason where the river apprd. to be blocked up with emence rocks [2]    I walked down and examined the pass found it narrow, and one verry bad place a little 〈below〉 in the narrows    I pursued this Chanel which is from 50 to 100 yards wide and Swels and boils with a most Tremendeous manner; prosued this channel [3] 5 ms & returned    found Capt Lewis & a Chief from below with maney of his men on a visit to us, one of our Party Pete Crusat played on the violin which pleased the Savage, the men danced, Great numbers of Sea Orter Pole Cats about those fishories.    the houses of those Indians are 20 feet Square and Sunk 8 feet under ground & Covered with bark with a Small door round at top rose about 18 Inches above ground, to keep out the Snow    I saw 107 parcels of fish Stacked, and great quantites in the houses


The morning fare after a beautifull night, the nativs approached us this morning with great caution.    our two old chiefs expressed a desire to return to their band from this place, Saying "that they Could be of no further Service to us, as their nation extended no further down the river than those falls, [NB: they could no longer understand the language of those below the falls, till then not much difference in the vocaby.] [4] and as the nation below had expressed hostile intentions against us, would Certainly kill them; perticularly as They had been at war with each other;" we requested them to Stay with us two nights longer, and we would See the nation below and make a peace between them, they replied they "were anxious to return and See our horses" we insisted on their Staying with us two nights longer to which they agreed; our views were to detain those Chiefs with us untill we Should pass the next falls, which we were told was verry bad, and at no great distance below, that they might inform us of any designs of the nativs, and if possible to bring about a peace between them and the tribes below.

Long and Short Narrows (The Dalles)
of the Columbia River, Washington and Oregon,
October 22–28, 1805, Codex H, pp. 2–3
(American Philosophical Society library,
used with permission.)

Shape of a Hut Door, October 24, 1805, Codex H, p. 63
(American Philosophical Society library,
used with permission.)

The first pitch of this falls is 20 feet perpendicular, then passing thro' a narrow Chanel for 1 mile to a rapid of about 18 feet fall below which the water had no perceptable fall but verry rapid See Sketch No. 1. [5] It may be proper here to remark that from Some obstruction below, the cause of which we have not yet learned, the water in high fluds (which are in the Spring) rise 〈nearly〉 below these falls nearly to a leavel with the water above the falls; the marks of which can be plainly trac'd around the falls. at that Stage of the water the Salmon must pass up which abounds in Such great numbers above—    below thos falls are Salmon trout and great numbers of the heads of a Species of trout Smaller than the Salmon. those fish they catch out of the Salmon Season, and are at this time in the act of burrying those which they had drid for winter food.    the mode of buring those fish is in holes of various Sizes, lined with Straw on which they lay fish Skins in which they inclose the fish which is laid verry close, and then Covered with earth of about 12 or 15 inches thick. Capt Lewis and three men crossed the river and on the opposit Side to view the falls which he had not yet taken a full view of—    At 9 oClock a. m. I Set out with the party and proceeded on down a rapid Stream of about 400 yards wide    at 2½ miles the river widened ito a large bason to the Stard. Side on which there is five Lodges of Indians.    here a tremendious 〈heigh〉 black rock Presented itself high and Steep appearing to choke up the river [6] nor could I See where the water passed further than the Current was drawn with great velocity to the Lard Side of this rock at which place I heard a great roreing. I landed at the Lodges and the natives went with me to the top of this rock which makes from the Stard. Side; from the top of which I could See the dificuelties we had to pass for Several miles below; at this place the water of this great river is compressed into a Chanel between two rocks not exceeding forty five yards wide and continues for a ¼ of a mile when it again widens to 200 yards and continues this width for about 2 miles when it is again intersepted by rocks. This obstruction in the river accounts for the water in high floods riseing to Such a hite at the last falls. The whole of the Current of this great river must at all Stages pass thro' this narrow chanel of 45 yards wide.    as the portage of our canoes over this high rock would be impossible with our Strength, and the only danger in passing thro those narrows was the whorls and Swills arriseing from the Compression of the water, and which I thought (as also our principal watermen Peter Crusat) by good Stearing we could pass down Safe, accordingly I deturmined to pass through this place notwithstanding the horrid appearance of this agitated gut Swelling, boiling & whorling in every direction (which from the top of the rock did not appear as bad as when I was in it;[)] however we passed Safe to the astonishment of all the Inds: of the last Lodges who viewed us from the top of the rock.    passed one Lodge below this rock and halted on the Stard. Side to view a verry bad place, the Current divided by 2 Islands of rocks the lower of them large and in the middle of the river, this place being verry bad I Sent by land all the men who could not Swim and Such articles as was most valuable to us Such as papers Guns & amunition, and proceeded down with the Canoes two at a time to a village of 20 wood housies in a Deep bend to the Stard. Side below which a rugid black rock about 〈the〉 20 feet hiter 〈of〉 than the Common high fluds of the river with Several dry Chanels which appeared to Choke the river up quite across; this I took to be the 2d falls or the place the nativs above call timm, The nativs of this village reived me verry kindly, one of whome envited me into his house, which I found to be large and comodious, and the first wooden houses in which Indians have lived Since we left those in the vicinity of the Illinois, they are scattered permiscuisly on a elivated Situation near a mound of about 30 feet above the Common leavel, which mound has Some remains of houses and has every appearance of being artificial—    those houses are about the Same Shape Size and form 20 feet 〈Square〉 wide and 30 feet long with one Dore raised 18 Inches above ground, 〈which〉 they are 29½ inches high & 14 wide, forming in a half Circle above [7]    those houses were Sunk into the earth Six feet, the roofs of them was Supported by a ridge pole resting on three Strong pieces of Split timber thro' one of which the dore was cut 〈on which〉 that and the walls 〈which〉 the top of which was just above ground Suported a certain number of Spars which are Covered with the Bark of the white Ceadar, or Arber Vitea; and the whole attached and Secured by the fibers of the Cedar.    the eaves at or near the earth, the gable ends and Side walls are Secured with Split boards which is Seported on iner Side with Strong pieces of timber under the eves &c.    to keep those pieces errect & the earth from without pressing in the boards, Suported by Strong posts at the Corners to which those poles were attached to give aditional Strength, Small openings were left [NB: in the roof] above the ground, for the purpose, as I conjectured, of deschargeing Their arrows at a besieging enimey; Light is admited Thro an opening at top which also Serves for the Smoke to pass through.    one half of those houses is apropriated for the Storeing away Dried & pounded fish which is the principal food The other part next the dore is the part occupied by the nativs who have beds raised on either Side, with a fire place in the center of this Space each house appeared to be occupied by about three families; that part which is apropriated for fish was crouded with that article, and a fiew baskets of burries—    I dispatched a Sufficent number of the good Swimers back for the 2 canoes above the last rapid and with 2 men walked down three miles to examine the river Over a bed of rocks, which the water at verry high fluds passes over, on those rocks I Saw Several large Scaffols on which the Indians dry fish; as this is out of Season the poles on which they dry those fish are tied up verry Securely in large bundles and put upon the Scaffolds, I counted 107 〈Scaff〉 Stacks of dried pounded fish in different places on those rocks which must have contained 10,000 w. of neet fish, The evening being late I could not examine the river to my Satisfaction, the Chanel is narrow and compressed for about 2 miles, when it widens into a deep bason to the Stard. Side, & again contracts into a narrow chanel divided by a rock    I returned through a rockey open countrey infested with pole-cats to the village where I met with Capt. Lewis the two old Chiefs who accompanied us & the party & canoes who had all arrived Safe; the Canoes haveing taken in Some water at the last rapids. here we formed a Camp near the Village, The principal Chief from the nation below with Several of his men visited us, and afforded a favourable oppertunity of bringing about a Piece and good understanding between this chief and his people and the two Chiefs who accompanied us which we have the Satisfaction to Say we have accomplished, as we have every reason to believe and that those two bands or nations are and will be on the most friendly terms with each other.    gave this Great Chief a Medal and Some other articles, of which he was much pleased, Peter Crusat played on the violin and the men danced which delighted the nativs, who Shew every civility towards us.    we Smoked with those people untill late at night, when every one retired to rest.


Thursday 24th Oct. 1805.    the natives did not attempt to trouble us last night.    a clear pleasant morning.    we loaded the canoes and Set out about 9 oClock and proceeded on    the current rapid    we went through a narrows [8] where the river is all confined in a narrow channel of about 20 yds and verry rapid and bad whorl pools, and went on verry well    towards evening we came to another narrows [9]    we camped [10] little above at an Indian village which was made half under the surface of the ground and the upper part well formed and covred with white ceeder bark.    they are verry comfortable houses.    we bought a number of fat dogs, crambries and white cakes of root bread.    high prarie and barron hills near the River but appears to be Some timber back from the River.


Thursday 24th.    We had a fine morning and proceeded on early; found the water very rapid below the falls; and having gone 4 miles below the narrows, came to other narrows still more confined and the rocks higher. At the head of these narrows we halted about 2 o'clock at a great Indian village, and remained there all night. [11] We got fish and dogs from the natives, and some berries, different from any we got before, some call them cranberries; [12] whether of the real kind or not I am not certain. In our way down to day we saw a great many sea otters [13] swimming in the river, and killed some, but could not get them as they sunk to the bottom. This village has better lodges than any on the river above; one story of which is sunk under ground and lined with flags mats: The upper part about 4 feet above ground is covered over with cedar bark, and they are tolerably comfortable houses.


Thursday 24th Oct. 1805.    a clear cool morning    we loaded up and Set out about 9 oClock and proceeded on down.    the current verry rapid.    we went through a place wher the river was all confined in a narrow channel of about 20 yds. wide high rocks on each Side    the current verry rapid and full of whorl pools    we ran down verry fast, passed Several fishing Camps.    high barron land on each Side of the River.    about 4 oClo P. m. we went down a bad rapid where the River was cut in rockey Isld. &.c.    a Short distance below we came to another narro where the River is filled with high rocks.    we halted and Camped for the night at a village of Savages or red people, which have their houses in our form only they have them in the ground except the roof which is covred with white ceeder bark    Some hewn plank which are verry nice comfortable houses    their flag mats &c.    we bought from them Some cakes of white root bread and other kinds cramberies &c.    we bought a nomber of fat dogs and Some wood for us to cook with.    their appears to be Some timber back from the River.    their has been white people tradeing among these Savages    Saw one half white child among them.    Saw also a new copper tea kittle beeds copper and a nomber of other articles which must have come from Some white trader.    we had went only 7 miles this day.    〈this may〉

Thursday October 24th    We had a cool pleasant morning.    We loaded our Canoes & set out about 9 o'Clock A. M. on our Voyage; we found the current of the river running very rapid.    We proceeded on, and passed through a part of the River, which was confined in a narrow channel of about 20 Yards wide; having high rocks on each side of it, the Current very rapid, and a great many whirl pools.    Our Canoes went with very great rapidity through this place.    We got through this dangerous place, without any accident happening to us, & passed by several Indian fishing Camps, & high barren land which lay on both sides of the River.—    About 4 o'Clock P. M. we went down a bad rapid, where the River had made channels, in rockey Islands, & dangerous places; and a short distance below that place, we came to a Narrow place in the River, where across the River, was many high Rocks, & several rapid Channels running between them.—    We halted above this Narrow, & encamped for the night at a Village Inhabited by Indians.    These Indians had their houses built, in the same form that we build our houses in the United States with these exceptions, that they were built in the ground, & the Roofs were made, of white Cedar bark, & neatly put on.    They had also some of them covered with hewn plank.    They appeared to live comfortable, they had matts to lay on, made out of flaggs & several other household utensials.—    We purchased from them some Cakes of white Root bread; Cranberries, a number of fat dogs, Wood to cook with, &ca.    We saw some timber here, which grew a distance back from the River.—    We conclude that their must have been some white people among these Indians, as they had among them, a new Copper Tea kettle, beads, small pieces of Copper & a number of other articles    We saw also a Child among them, which was a mix'd breed, between a White Man & Indian Women.    The fairness of its Skin, & rosey colour, convinced us that it must have been the case, and we have no doubt, but that white Men trade among them—    We came but 7 Miles this day & our Course was as usual West,—

1. The Short, or Little, Narrows, with the Long Narrows, constitute The Dalles of the Columbia, located above the present town of The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon. Once major obstacles to navigation, they are now inundated by The Dalles Dam. Clark drew a detailed skech map of the area in Codex H, pp. 2–3, and another version in Voorhis No. 4. Allen (PG), 313; Atlas map 78. The four lodges have been reported as occurring in the vicinity of Browns Island, but the precise location has not been ascertained. This seems too far downstream, as Browns Island occurs downstream of the Lewis and Clark's Short Narrows and the lodges are shown at the upstream end on Atlas map 78. Wilke et al., 27–28. (back)
2. They camped here, in Klickitat County, Washington, in the vicinity of Horsethief Lake State Park. The reason for the asterisk at the beginning of the next sentence is unknown. The Indians were Wishram-Wasco Chinookans whom Lewis and Clark called Echelutes, from the term i-č-xlúit, "I am a Wishram[-Wasco] Indian." Ronda (LCAI), 170; Atlas map 78; Sapir, 533; Curtis, 180 n. 1. The wealth of archaeological materials recorded in this general area at the head of the Long Narrows certainly could contain the village near which Lewis and Clark camped. These lodges may be near what was recorded as the Wishram village of wa'q!Emap. Spier & Sapir, 164. Extensive archaeological research between Horsethief Lake and The Dalles Dam has taken place since the 1920s. Duncan; Wilke et al.; Spier & Sapir; Butler (WM); Caldwell; Butler (ALCV); Cressman et al.; Strong, Schenck, & Steward. (back)
3. The Long Narrows. Atlas map 78. (back)
4. The Dalles area was a dividing point between Chinookan-language speakers downstream and Shahaptian-language speakers upstream. The two Nez Perce chiefs could no longer serve as interpreteres. Ronda (LCAI), 173. (back)
5. A references a figure from Codex H. (back)
6. The rocks here are composed of basalt of the middle Miocene Frenchman Springs Member of the Wanapum Basalt. A fault cuts across the eastern end of the basin raising a block of these rocks across the river. (back)
7. Here in Codex H, p. 63, Clark inserts his drawing of the door shape. (back)
8. The Short, or Little, Narrows, and the Long Narrows, which the party would pass the next day, together constitute The Dalles of the Columbia River above the town of The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon. The narrows have disappeared under the waters of The Dalles Dam. (back)
10. In the vicinity of Horsethief Lake State Park, Klickitat County, Washington, among Wishram-Wasco Indians. (back)
12. Probably American cranberrybush, Viburnum trilobum Marsh., restricted to the Columbia gorge in this region. (back)
13. Not the sea otter, Enhydra lutris, which never leaves salt water, but the harbor seal, Phoca vitulina richardii. The captains later became aware of their error in this matter. (back)