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Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific.

We continued our journey on the 3d:  the river narrows considerably, at about thirty miles from its mouth, and is obstructed with islands, which are thickly covered with the willow, poplar, alder, and ash.  These islands are, without exception, uninhabited and uninhabitable, being nothing but swamps, and entirely overflowed in the months of June and July; as we understood from Coalpo, our guide, who appeared to be an intelligent man.  In proportion as we advanced, we saw the high mountains capped with snow, which form the chief and majestic feature, though a stern one, of the banks of the Columbia for some distance from its mouth, recede, and give place to a country of moderate elevation, and rising amphitheatrically from the margin of the stream.  The river narrows to a mile or thereabouts; the forest is less dense, and patches of green prairie are seen.  We passed a large village on the south bank, called Kreluit, above which is a fine forest of oaks; and encamped for the night, on a low point, at the foot of an isolated rock, about one hundred and fifty feet high.  This rock appeared to me remarkable on account of its situation, reposing in the midst of a low and swampy ground, as if it had been dropped from the clouds, and seeming to have no connection with the neighboring mountains.  On a cornice or shelving projection about thirty feet from its base, the natives of the adjacent villages deposite their dead, in canoes; and it is the same rock to which, for this reason, Lieutenant Broughton gave the name of Mount Coffin.

On the 4th, in the morning, we arrived at a large village of the same name as that which we had passed the evening before, Kreluit, and we landed to obtain information respecting a considerable stream, which here discharges into the Columbia, and respecting its resources for the hunter and trader in furs.  It comes from the north, and is called Cowlitzk by the natives.  Mr. M’Kay embarked with Mr. de Montigny and two Indians, in a small canoe, to examine the course of this river, a certain distance up.  On entering the stream, they saw a great number of birds, which they took at first for turkeys, so much they resembled them, but which were only a kind of carrion eagles, vulgarly called turkey-buzzards.  We were not a little astonished to see Mr. de Montigny return on foot and alone; he soon informed us of the reason:  having ascended the Kowlitzk about a mile and a half, on rounding a bend of the stream, they suddenly came in view of about twenty canoes, full of Indians, who had made a rush upon them with the most frightful yells; the two natives and the guide who conducted their little canoe, retreated with the utmost precipitancy, but seeing that they would be overtaken, they stopped short, and begged Mr. M’Kay to fire upon the approaching savages, which he, being well acquainted with the Indian character from the time he accompanied Sir Alexander M’Kenzie, and having met with similar occurrences before, would

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