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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Lower Klickitat Trail, Washington"
Includes ... Lower Klickitat Trail ... Hudson's Bay Company ... Back Plains ...
Image, 2016, Lower Klickitat Trail, click to enlarge
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Lower Klickitat Trail. (to come)


Lower Klickitat Trail ...
The Hudson's Bay Company's Back Plains (First Plain, Second Plain, Third Plain, Fourth Plain, Fifth Plain, and Camas Plain) corresponded to the plains and prairies which Native American tribes used, traveling from the south-central Cascades to the Columbia River. These plains and prairies were first mapped between 1853 and 1855 by Pacific Railroad surveyors George McClellan (1853) and James G. Cooper (1854, 1855).

According to the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Cultural Landscape Report (U.S. National Park Service, 2003):

"The lower Klickitat Trail prairies mapped by McClellan and Cooper were called Alack-ae ("turtle place"), Wahwaikee ("acorn"), Pahpoopahpoo ("burrowing owls"), Heowheow, Kolsas, and Simsik by the Indians according to J.F. Minter's records. Hudson's Bay Company settlers re-named these prairies "Fort Plain", "First Plain", "Second Plain", "Third Plain", "Fourth Plain", and "Fifth Plain", respectively. Cooper noted that First Plain through Fifth Plain were covered with good grass for horses, and eight edible berry species; ..."


Information, Reports, etc.

  • Vancouver Naitonal Historic Reserve Cultural Landscape Report, 2005 ...
  • Captain McClellan, 1853 ...
  • Eugene Hunn, Anthropological Study of Yakama Tribe, 2003 ...


Vancouver National Historic Reserve Cultural Landscape Report, 2005 ...
"Like the Chinook tribes, the Klikitat Indians and other interior peoples accessed the Columbia River, but in contrast to the lower Columbia River tribes' shoreline orientation, the Klikitat traveled north and south along the tribuatires between the south-central Cascades and the Columbia River. The Klikitats' subsistence strategy was "prairie-oriented," moving with the seasons to take advantage of plant resources ripening at different elevations. The Klickitat Trail, an overland route from Fort Vancouver to The Dalles and Yakima, was a network of trails and prairies that connected the Klikitats' subsistence areas, and enabled the tribes to take advantage of trans-Cascade trade. ...   The Klickitat Trail ended approximately in the vicinity of the current Vancouver National Historic Reserve, although the exact terminus is unknown.

Pacific Railroad surveyors George McClellan (1853) and James G. Cooper (1854, 1855) examined the Klickitat Trail, and documented the prairies dotted along the route. Cooper classified the prairies as "wet" or "dry" and observed the Indians' practice of setting fires to maintain the dry prairies. ...

The lower Klickitat Trail prairies mapped by McClellan and Cooper were called Alack-ae ("turtle place"), Wahwaikee ("acorn"), Pahpoopahpoo ("burrowing owls"), Heowheow, Kolsas, and Simsik by the Indians according to J.F. Minter's records. Hudson's Bay Company settlers re-named these prairies "Fort Plain", "First Plain", "Second Plain", "Third Plain", "Fourth Plain", and "Fifth Plain", respectively. Cooper noted that First Plain through Fifth Plain were covered with good grass for horses, and eight edible berry species; ..."


Source:    Vancouver National Historic Reserve Cultural Landscape Report, October 2005, Produced by Jones & Jones Architects and Landscape Architects, Ltd., Seattle, Washington, for the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.


Captain McClellan, 1853 ...
Itinerary of Captain Mc'Clellan's Route; Prepared by J.F. Minter.
Olympia, Washington Territory, February 25, 1854.

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following ininerary of the route pursued by the party under your command, in an exploration of the Cascade mountains, during the months of July, August, September, October, and November, 1853.

July 18, 1853. (1 3/4 miles) -- From Fort Vancouver [Fort Plain]   to camp Wahwaikee [First Plain];   wagon road through fir, with dense underbrush; road good; crossed a running creek [Burnt Bridge Creek]   Camp on a small plain, grass and wood good; water half a mile distant.

July 21. (4 1/4 miles) -- To camp Kolsas [Fourth Plain],   road same as on the 18th; crossed two small prairies with good grass [Second Plain and Third Plain];   crossed small stream [???, possibly Fifth Plain Creek which cuts through the lower portion of Fourth Plain].   Camped on a large prairie [Fourth Plain];   grass indifferent; water for animals quarter of a mile from camp.

July 22. (6 miles) -- To camp Sim-Sik [Fifth Plain];   Indian trail passing for one mile through Kolsas prairie, thence through a dense fir forest, with much underbrush and fallen timber; country flat; much labor to clear the trail from here to Chequoss [???, they arrive there August 8];   no water during the march; camped in a small prairie near a little brook [most likely the upper reaches of the 8-mile-long Fifth Plain Creek];   soil poor, grass good; seven hours and a hlf from camp to camp.

July 23. (6 1/2 miles) -- To camp Mesache [???].   Country rougher than heretofore. Crossed two boggy creeks, and two with fine crossings; much fallen timeber and brush; timber as before; camped on a small stream fifteen feet wide; grass in small openings of the forest; twelve hours from camp to camp.

(report continues)


Source:    U.S. War Department, 1855, "Reports of explorations and surveys: to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Volume 1", Joseph Henry and Spencer Fullerton Baird, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, A.O.P. Nicholson, Printer.


Eugene Hunn, Anthropological Study of Yakama Tribe, 2003 ...
5.2.1. The Lewis River Basin and the Lower Columbia River:

wee-kas    Information by Chief Stwire Waters: CHIEF WHITE SWAN. About eight miles west of Vancouver, Wash. is Wee-kas, a lake of considerable size (Vancouver Lake?). It was a great resort of the white swan, as well as of geese and ducks. In 1852, according to Chief Waters, the Klikitats sold these water fowls to the small town of Portland, by the canoe load. For a swan they received $1-50, the geese brining $1-00 each, while a duck was worth only 50 cents. ...

alashik-ash:    Literally 'turtle place'. Gibbs: Lower Plain (Jolie Prairie) near present-day Vancouver, Clark Co., WA. >Gibbs: (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982). [Sahaptin, but note that alashik means 'turtle' in Nisqually Salish also {Gibbs 1970}].

wawachi:    Literally 'acorn'; cf. "Wah-wow-wach" of McWhorter. McClellan/Minter: First Plain near present-day Vancouver, Clark Co., WA. (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1983).

papu-papu:    Literally 'burrowing owls'? McClellan: Second Plain near present-day Vancovuer, Clark Co., WA. >McClellan (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982).

kolsas:    Perhaps qals-as 'Place of balsamroots (Balsamorhiza deltoidea)'; McClellan (1853): next camp past papu-papu on Klickitat Trail northeast of Vancouver; may not be Sahaptin (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982).

simsik:    McClellan (1853): next camp past kolsas on Klickitat Trail northeast of Vancouver; may not be Sahaptin; here the survey party found an "old Indian camp" (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982:126).

tiicham:    Literally 'land'. McClellan: Mill Plain, near present-day Vancouver, Clark Co., WA. (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982).

taak:    Literally 'vernal meadow': McClellan/Gibbs/Minter: LaCamas Plain east of present-day Vancouver, Clark Co., WA. (Norton, Boyd, and Hunn 1982).

(report continues)


Source:    Eugene Hunn, 2003, Anthropological Study of Yakama Tribe: Traditional Resource Harvest Sites West of the Crest of the Cascades Mountains in Washington State and below the Cascades of the Columbia River (preliminary draft): Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, October 11, 2003.



From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, ...
 




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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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August 2016