This last survey was also fruitless, as Messrs. M’Dougal and Stuart did not find an advantageous site to build upon. But, as the captain wished to take advantage of the fine season to pursue his traffic with the natives along the N.W. coast, it was resolved to establish ourselves on Point George, situated on the south bank, about fourteen or fifteen miles from our present anchorage. Accordingly, we embarked on the 12th, in the long-boat, to the number of twelve, furnished with tools, and with provisions for a week. We landed at the bottom of a small bay, where we formed a sort of encampment. The spring, usually so tardy in this latitude, was already far advanced; the foliage was budding, and the earth was clothing itself with verdure; the weather was superb, and all nature smiled. We imagined ourselves in the garden of Eden; the wild forests seemed to us delightful groves, and the leaves transformed to brilliant flowers. No doubt, the pleasure of finding ourselves at the end of our voyage, and liberated from the ship, made things appear to us a great deal more beautiful than they really were. Be that as it may, we set ourselves to work with enthusiasm, and cleared, in a few days, a point of land of its under-brush, and of the huge trunks of pine-trees that covered it, which we rolled, half-burnt, down the bank. The vessel came to moor near our encampment, and the trade went on. The natives visited us constantly and in great numbers; some to trade, others to gratify their curiosity, or to purloin some little articles if they found an opportunity. We landed the frame timbers which we had brought, ready cut for the purpose, in the vessel; and by the end of April, with the aid of the ship-carpenters, John Weeks and Johann Koaster, we had laid the keel of a coasting-schooner of about thirty tons.
Voyage up the River.—Description of the Country.—Meeting with strange Indians.
The Indians having informed us that above certain rapids, there was an establishment of white men, we doubted not that it was a trading post of the Northwest Company; and to make sure of it, we procured a large canoe and a guide, and set out, on the 2d of May, Messrs M’Kay, R. Stuart, Montigny, and I, with a sufficient number of hands. We first passed a lofty head-land, that seemed at a distance to be detached from the main, and to which we gave the name of Tongue Point. Here the river gains a width of some nine or ten miles, and keeps it for about twelve miles up. The left bank, which we were coasting, being concealed by little low islands, we encamped for the night on one of them, at the village of Wahkaykum, to which our guide belonged.