October 31, 1805
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October 31, 1805


a cloudey raney morning    I proceed down the river to view it more at leasure, I took Jos. Fields & Peter Crusat and proceeded on down, Send Crusat back at 2 ms. to examine the rapid near the shore & I proceeded on down about 10 miles to a very high rock [1] in a bottom on the Stard. opsd. 2 Islands covered with timber on which I saw Inds. at a distance; found the river rocky for 6 miles, after which the Current became uniform—    at 1 mile I passed an old deserted village on a Pond on a high Situation of 8 Houses—    at 3 ½ miles one house the only remt. of an antient Villag [2]    ½ a mile lower I saw 8 Vaults for the Dead which was nearly Square 8 feet Closely Covered with broad boads Curiously engraved, the bones in Some of those vaults wer 4 feet thick, in others the Dead was yet layed Side of each other nearly East & west, raped up & bound Securley in robes, great numbers of trinkets Brass Kittle, Sea Shells, Iron, Pan Hare &c. &c. was hung about the vaults and great many wooden gods, or Images of men Cut in wood, Set up round the vaults, Some of those So old and worn by time that they were nearly worn out of Shape, and Some of those vaults So old that they were roted entirely to the ground—    not withstanding they wood is of Pine & [one word illegible] or Seder as also the wooden gods

I can not learn certainly if those people worship those woden emiges, they have them in conspicuous parts of their houses    at 5 miles I passed 4 large houses [3] on the Stard Side a little above the last rapid and opposit a large Island [4] which is Situated near the Lard. Side—    The enhabitents of those houses had left them closely Shut up, they appeared to Contn. a great deel of property and Provisions Such as those people use, I did not disturb any thing about those houses, but proceed on down below the rapid which I found to be the last, a large village has at Some period been on the Stard. Side below this rapid    The bottom is high Stoney and about 2 miles wide covered with grass, here C[overed?] is the head of a large Island in high water, [5] at this time no water passes on the Stard. Side    I walked thro this Island which I found to be verry rich, open & covered with Strawberry vines, [6] and has greatly the appearance of having at Some period been Cultivated, The natives has dug roots in Some parts of this Isld. which is about 3 miles long & 1 Wide, a Small Island covered with timber opposit the lower point no water runs on the Stard. Side. of it.    below and in the middle of the river is a large Island Covered with tall trees    opposit the Strawberry Island on its Stard. Side a creek falls in which has no running water at present, it has the appearanc of throwing out emense torents—    I saw 5 Indians in a canoe below—    Jo. killed a Sand hill Crane & we returned by the same rout to camp at the grand Shute where I found Several Indians, I Smoked. Two canoes loaded with fish for the Trade below Came down & unloaded the after noon fare

S. 30° E [7] 1 mile to a Lard Bend passing the grand Shute which is ¼ of a
mile and the Wate Confined within about 150 yards, passing
with Tremendious force, great number of rocks on the upper
pt. of this Shute, a low pine Mountain on the Stad. Side high
one on the Lard Side—
S. 30° W. 1 mile to a Lard. bend    passd. Several rocks in the river & a
rapid at ¾ of a mile th water being Confined between large
rocks, maney of which is under water.    an old village of 8
houses on the Stard. Side on the hill opposit
S. 45° W. 2 miles to a high rock above the upper point of a large Isld. on
the Lard Side, passed maney rocks in different directions, a
house on the Stard. at 1 mile    just below is 8 Indian vaults
in which is great number of dead raped up their trinkets, &
wooden Gods are placed around the vaults, they lie East & west
S. 60° W [8] 2 miles to a large black rock in a Stard. bend at the Comence-
ment of a rapid opsd. a Lower point of an Island    passed a
rapid at ½ Ms. Ld not bad. Several large rocks in the river per-
miscusly, 4 large Ind. houses without inhabitants on the Stard.
Side at 1½ mile a Island on the Lard Side extensive high
Stoney bottoms on the Stard Side
South [9] 2 miles to a Creek under a Bluff in a Lard bend passed the rapid
¼ of a mile long—    the upper point of a large Island on the
Stard. Side no water running on the Stard. Side of it at present
this Island is high rich and open Covered with Strawbery vines
a narrow open bottom on the Lard. Side

Those Indians Cut off the hands of those they kill & proserve the fingers.


A Cloudy rainey disagreeable morning    I proceeded down the river to view with more attention [NB: the rapids] we had to pass on the river below, the two men with me Jo. Fields & Peter Crusat proceeded down to examine the rapids    the Great Shute which commenced at the Island on which we encamped Continud with great rapidity and force thro a narrow chanel much compressd. and interspersed with large rocks for ½ a mile, at a mile lower is a verry Considerable rapid at which place the waves are remarkably high, and proceeded on in a old Indian parth 2½ miles by land thro a thick wood & hill Side, to the river where the Indians make a portage, from this place I dispatched Peter Crusat (our principal waterman) back to follow the river and examine the practibility of the Canoes passing, as the rapids appeared to continue down below as far as I could See, I with Jo. Fields proceeded on, at ½ a mile below the end of the portage passed a house where there had been an old town for ages past as this house was old Decayed and a plac of flees I did not enter it, about ½ a mile below this house in a verry thick part of the woods is 8 vaults which appeared Closely Covered and highly deckerated with orniments. Those vaults are all nearly the Same Sise and form 8 feet Square, 5 feet high, Slopes a little So as to convey off the rain made of Pine or Cedar boards Closely Connected & Scurely Covered with wide boards, with a Dore left in The East Side which is partially Stoped with wide boards curiously engraved. In Several of those vaults the dead bodies wre raped up verry Securely in Skins tied around with cords of grass & bark, laid on a mat, all east & west and Some of those vaults had as maney as 4 bodies laying on he Side of each other.    the other Vaults Containing bones only, Some contained bones for the debth of 4 feet.    on the tops and on poles attached to those vaults hung Brass kittles & frying pans pearced thro their bottoms, baskets, bowls of wood, Sea Shels, Skins, bits of Cloth, Hair, bags of Trinkets & Small peices of bone &c and independant of the [NB: Hieroglyphics, figures of men & animals] curious ingraveing and Paintings    on the boards which formed the vaults I observed Several wooden Images, cut in the figure of men and Set up on the 〈South〉 Sides of the vaults all round. Some of those So old and worn by time, that they were nearly out of Shape, I also observed the remains of Vaults rotted entirely into the ground and covered with moss. This must bee the burrying place for maney ages for the inhabitants of those rapids, the vaults are of the most lasting timber Pine & Cedar—    I cannot Say certainly that those nativs worship those wooden idols as I have every reason to believe they do not; as they are Set up in the most conspicious parts of their houses, and treated more like orniments than objects of aderation.    at 2 miles lower & 5 below our Camp I passed a village of 4 large houses abandend by the nativs, with their dores bared up, I looked into those houses and observed as much property as is usial in the houses of those people which induced me to conclude that they wre at no great distance, either hunting or Colecting roots, to add to their winter Subsistance.    from a Short distance below the vaults the mountain which is but low on the Stard. Side leave the river, and a leavel Stoney open bottom Suckceeds on the Said Std. Side for a great Distance down, the mountains high and rugid on the Lard Side    this open bottom is about 2 miles    a Short distance below this village is a bad Stoney rapid and appears to be the last in view    I observed at this lower rapid the remains of a large and antient Village which I could plainly trace by the Sinks in which they had formed their houses, as also those in which they had buried their fish—    from this rapid to the lower end of the portage the river is Crouded with rocks of various Sizes between which the water passes with great velociety createing in many places large Waves, an Island which is Situated near the Lard. Side occupies about half the distance the lower point of which is at this rapid. immediately below this rapid the high water passes through a narrow Chanel through the Stard. Bottom forming an Island of 3 miles 〈wide〉 Long & one wide, I walked through this Island which I found to be verry rich land, and had every appearance of haveing been at Some distant period Cultivated.    at this time it is Covered with grass intersperced with Strawberry vines. [10] I observed Several places on this Island where the nativs had dug for roots and from its lower point I observed 5 Indians in a Canoe below the upper point of an Island near the middle of the river Covered with tall timber, which indued me to believe that a village was at no great distanc below, I could not See any rapids below 〈for〉 in the extent of my view which was for a long distance down the river, which from the last rapids widened and had everry appearance of being effected by the tide,—    [NB: This was in fact the first tide water]    I deturmind to return to Camp 10 miles distant, a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side near the lower point of this Island on the Stard. Side about 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call the Beaten [NB: Beacon] rock.    a Brook falls into the narrow Chanel which forms [NB: what we call] the Strawberry Island, which at this time has no running water, but has every appearance of dischargeing emence torrents &c. &c. Jo. Fields Shot a Sand hill Crane. I returned by the Same rout on an Indian parth passing up on the N W. Side of the river to our Camp at the Great Shute.    found Several Indians from the village, I Smoked with them; Soon after my return two Canoes loaded with fish & Bear grass for the trade below, came down from the village at the mouth of the Catterack River, they unloaded and turned their Canoes up Side down on the beech, & camped under a Shelveing rock below our Camp

one of the men Shot a goose above this Great Shute, which was floating into the Shute when an Indian observed it, plunged into the water & Swam to the Goose and brought in on Shore, at the head of the Suck, [NB: great danger, rapids bad, a descent close by him (150 feet off) of all Columbia river, current dashed among rocks if he had got in the Suck—lost]    as this Indian richly earned the goose I Suffered him to keep it which he about half picked and Spited it up with the guts in it to roste.

This Great Shute or falls is about ½ a mile with the water of this great river Compressed within the Space of 150 paces in which there is great numbers of both large and Small rocks, water passing with great velocity forming & boiling in a most horriable manner, with a fall of about 20 feet, below it widens to about 200 paces and current gentle for a Short distance.    a Short distance above is three Small rockey Islands, and at the head of those falls, three Small rockey Islands are Situated Crosswise the river, Several rocks above in the river & 4 large rocks in the head of the Shute; those obstructions together with the high Stones which are continually brakeing loose from the mountain on the Stard Side and roleing down into the Shute aded to those which brake loose from those Islands above and lodge in the Shute, must be the Cause of the rivers daming up to Such a distance above, 〈and Show〉 where it Shows Such evidant marks of the Common current of the river being much lower than at the present day


Thursday 31st Oct. 1805. Cloudy.    we unloaded the canoes and went at halling them past the Shoote    took one down at a time over verry high rocks.    this Shoote is full of rocks and roles verry high waves &C.    the after part of the day pleasant.


Thursday 31st.    The morning was cloudy. We unloaded our canoes and took them past the rapids, some part of the way by water, and some over rocks 8 or 10 feet high. It was the most fatiguing business we have been engaged in for a long time, and we got but two over all day, the distance about a mile, and the fall of the water about 25 feet in that distance.


Thursday 31st Oct. 1805.    Some cloudy.    we got in readiness to carry our baggage past the portage, which we expict will be about two miles.    about 9 oClock cleared off pleasant.    as the road was Slippery we concluded to take Some of the canoes down to day.    So we took down two canoes 1 at a time over high rocks on rollers, by main Strength and by being in the water which ran between Sd. Stone & large rocks.    we had to hall them in that way past 2 of the worst rapids    then took them a half a mile below, where we intend loading which will make the portage in all only about one mile, but a verry bad one.    in the evening 2 Indian canoes came to our Camp    5 Indians in them which were going down the River tradeing with fish &c.

Thursday October 31st    This morning was cool & Cloudy.    Our party were employed in getting every thing fixed in order to carry the baggage &ca. below the Portage, which we expect will be about 2 Miles.    About 9 o'Clock A. M. the weather cleared off, and became pleasant.    The Road being slippey, Our officers concluded to have only part of our Canoes hawled down this day.    We proceeded on with 2 of our Canoes on Rollers at a time; over high Rocks, by main strenghth hawling them all the way, which was about ½ Miles & passed two of the worst Rapids, & went about half a mile further below them, at which place we intend loading the Canoes again, making the whole of the Portage to be only about 1 Mile—    and all this way bad Road.    In the Evening 2 indian Canoes came to our Camp.    They had 5 Indians in them, & were going down the River in Order to trade away fish &ca. which their Canoes were loaded with

1. Beacon Rock is an eroded volcanic pipe or plug composed of Pliocene or Pleistocene olivine basalt. It is in Skamania County, Washington, just above Skamania in Beacon Rock State Park. It was called Castle Rock for many years, but Clark's name (given in the codex entry) was restored in 1916. Clark's estimate of its height is remarkably correct. Biddle (BR); Appleman (LC), 189; Atlas maps 79, 88. (back)
2. This is the "old village" on Atlas map 79, in Skamania County between the Bridge of the Gods and Bradford Island. It is noted as having only one house. Investigators have named it sk!Ema'niak or Skamanyak ("obstructed"). Spier & Sapir, 167; Beckham, 17–19, 28; Minor. (back)
3. Investigators disagree on the relation of this village to the next site ("a large village has at Some period been"). Some view the two as a part of one complex, while others see them as separate entities. Beckham, 17–18, 31–34; Minor, Toepel, & Beckham, 41–51; Dunnell & Whitlam, 5–7; Dunnell; Phebus, 127–30. Only the first site is shown on Atlas map 79; both are represented on figs. 28 and 29 in volume 5. They are in Skamania County opposite present Bradford and Hamilton islands. (back)
4. Present Bradford Island, in Hood River County, Oregon, now crossed by Bonneville Dam; "Brant I." on figs. 28 and 29 in volume 5. Atlas map 79. (back)
5. Lewis and Clark's "Strawberry Island" is now Hamilton Island in Skamania County. Atlas map 79. Archaeological work on the island is discussed by Dunnell & Campbell. (back)
6. The woodland strawberry, Fragaria vesca L. var. crinita (Rydb.) C. L. Hitchc. Booth & Wright, 112; Hitchcock et al., 3:108. (back)
7. In the Codex H compendium of courses these courses are given under the date of November 1, 1805. (back)
8. In Codex H this distance is given as three miles. (back)
9. In Codex H this course appears under the date of November 2, 1805, with the distance given as one mile. (back)
10. A vertical line through this passage from "from this rapid" to about this point was probably penned by Biddle, but not in his usual red ink. (back)