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Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Alder Ridge, Washington"
Includes ... Alder Ridge ... Alder Creek ... Pine Creek ... Sixprong Creek ... Yakima Fold Belt ... Columbia River Basalt Group ...
Image, 2005, Union Pacific and Alder Ridge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Union Pacific and Alder Ridge, Washington. View from Interstate 84, Oregon. Image taken September 24, 2005.


Alder Ridge ...
Alder Ridge stretches nearly 10 miles on the Washington bank of the Columbia River, with Alder Creek (Columbia River Mile 258.5) being on its eastern edge and Pine Creek (Columbia River Mile 250) being on its western end. On the ridge's north side winds Sixprong Creek. Lewis and Clark camped on the right bank (western bank) of Alder Creek in April 1806, on their journey back home. Alder Ridge is a part of the Yakima Fold Belt, a section of lava flows of the Columbia River Basalt Group.

Yakima Fold Belt ...
Alder Ridge is a part of the Yakima Fold Belt, a section of lava flows of the Columbia River Basalt Group.
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Lewis and Clark and Alder Ridge ...
Lewis and Clark traversed along the top of Alder Ridge in 1806 and spent the night of April 25, 1806, at the base of Alder Ridge, camped on the western banks of Alder Creek.

"... the Country we passed through was Sandy indifferent rocky and hills on the left. proceeded up on the North Side the river hills are about 250 feet high & generally abrupt and Craggey in maney places faced with a pirpendicular and Solid rock. this rock is black and hard. leavel plains extend themselves from the top of the river hills to a great distance on either Side of the river. ..." [Clark, April 25, 1806]

"... encamped below the mouth of a Small Creek ..." [Clark, April 25, 1806]

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Image, 2005, Alder Ridge, Washington, with Alder Creek, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Alder Ridge, Washington, with Alder Creek. Image taken May 24, 2005.
Image, 2005, Alder Creek and Alder Ridge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Alder Creek and Alder Ridge, Washington. Image taken May 24, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 20, 1805 ...
A cool morning wind S. W. we concluded to delay untill after brackfast which we were obliged to make on the flesh of dog. after brackfast we gave all the Indian men Smoke, and we Set out leaveing about 200 of the nativs at our Encampment [near Irrigon, Oregon]; passd. three Indian Lodges on the Lard Side a little below our Camp [Irrigon, Oregon] which lodges <we> I did not discover last evening, passed a rapid at Seven miles one at a Short distance below we passed a verry bad rapid, a chane or rocks makeing from the Stard. Side and nearly Chokeing the river up entirely with hugh black rocks [Lewis and Clark called these rapids "Pelican Rapids"] an Island below close under the Stard. Side on which was four Lodges of Indians drying fish,- here I Saw a great number of pelicons on the wing, and black Comerants [American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants]. at one oClock we landed on the lower point of <Some> an Island at Some Indian Lodges, a large Island on the Stard Side nearly opposit and a Small one a little below on the Lard Side on those three Island I counted Seventeen Indian Lodges, ...

[Lewis and Clark are passing through the Blalock Islands area. Today most of the islands are beneath the waters of Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam. In this vicinity are today's Boardman, Whitcomb Island, Canoe Ridge, slightly downstream is Crow Butte and historic Castle Rock, along with the many lands of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge.]

after diner we proceeded on to a bad rapid at the lower point of a Small Island on which four Lodges of Indians were Situated drying fish; here the high countrey Commences again on the Stard. Side [Alder Ridge] leaveing a vallie of 40 miles in width, from the mustle Shel rapid [Umatilla Rapids at the McNary Dam]. examined and passed this rapid close to the Island at 8 miles lower passed a large Island near the middle of the river a brook on the Stard. Side [Alder Creek] and 11 Islds. all in view of each other below, a riverlit [Willow Creek] falls in on the Lard. Side behind a Small Island a Small rapid below. The Star Side is high rugid hills [Alder Ridge], the Lard. Side a low plain and not a tree to be Seen in any Direction except a fiew Small willow bushes which are Scattered partially on the Sides of the bank

The river to day is about 1/4 of a mile in width; this evening the Countrey on the Lard. Side [area around Arlington, Oregon] rises to the hight of that on the Starboard Side [ridge above Roosevelt], and is wavering- we made 42 <days> miles to day [to Roosevelt, Washington]; the current much more uniform than yesterday or the day before. Killed 2 Speckle guls Severl. ducks of a delicious flavour.






Clark, April 25, 1806 ...
This morning we Collected our horses very conveniently [downstream of Roosevelt, Washington] and Set out at 9 A M and proceeded on to a village of Pish-quit-pahs of 52 mat Lodges 11 miles     this village Contains about 700 Soles here we turned out our horses and bought 5 dogs & some wood and dined here we met with a Chief and gave him a Medal of the Small Size [Jefferson Peace Medal]. we passed a house a little above the place we encamped on the 20th of Octr. 1805 [Roosevelt, Washington]. ...     at 4 P. M Set out. I <had not> was in the rear and had not proceeded verry far before one of the horses which we had hired of the Chopunnish, was taken from Hall who I had directed to ride. he had fallen behind out of my sight at the time. we proceeded on about 9 miles through a Country Similar to that of yesterday and encamped below the mouth of a Small Creek [Alder Creek] ...     we passed at 4 miles a Village of 5 Mat Lodges of the War-war-wa Tribe [Moulton states the Walla Walla Tribe]. We made a Chief and gave a metal to a Chief of each of those two tribes. great numbers of the nativs accompanied us to our encampmt. ...     the Winds which Set from mount hood [Mount Hood, Oregon, which is visible to the southwest in this area] or in a westwardly direction are much more cold than those from any other quarter. there are no dews in these plains, and from the appearance of the earth there appears to have been no rain for Several Weeks. ...     . we Continued our rout about 9 miles, where finding as maney Willows as would answer our purpose for fuel we encamped for the night [Alder Creek]. the Country we passed through was Sandy indifferent rocky and hills on the left. proceeded up on the North Side the river hills are about 250 feet high [Alder Ridge] & generally abrupt and Craggey in maney places faced with a pirpendicular and Solid rock. this rock is black and hard. leavel plains extend themselves from the top of the river hills to a great distance on either Side of the river. the Soil is not as fertile as about the falls tho it produces low grass on which the horses feed very Conveniently. it astonished me to See the order of their horses at this Season of the year when I know they had wintered on dry grass of the plains and at the Same time rode with greater Severity than is Common among ourselves. I did not See a Single horse which Could be deemed pore, and maney of them were verry fat. their horses are generally good. this evening after we had encamped we traded for two horses with nearly the Same articles we had offered at the Village. ...     I think those plains are much more Sandy than any which I have Seen and the road is a bed of loose Sand. made 20 miles





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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June 2012