Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Rooster Rock, Oregon"
Includes ... Rooster Rock ... "Woutoulat" ... Rooster Rock State Park ... "The Obolisk" ... "Crow's Roost" ... Mirror Lake ... Rooster Rock Landslide ... Rooster Rock Cannery ... Campsite of November 2, 1805 ... Campsite of April 6-8, 1806 ... Crown Point ... The Golden Age of Postcards ... Views from Rooster Rock State Park ...
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock, Oregon. View from Tunnel Point, off of Interstate 84, Portland, Oregon. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Rooster Rock ...
Rooster Rock is a large basalt feature located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River at River Mile (RM) 129, just below the base of Crown Point. Rooster Rock is located downstream of Shepperds Dell and upstream of Tunnel Point, Oregon. Across the Columbia are located Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Point Vancouver, the farthest upstream visited by Lieutenant Broughton in 1792, a member of the Captain George Vancouver expedition. Cape Horn and Beacon Rock both lie upstream on the Washington State side, and the famous Multnomah Falls lies upstream on the Oregon side. Lewis and Clark camped near Rooster Rock on November 2, 1805.

Rooster Rock Landslide ...
Rooster Rock is a landslide of a portion of the Crown Point intracanyon fill. The scar where the slide came from is visible on the cliff above. Rooster Rock itself is a spire from the Crown Point entablature.

Image, 2004, Rooster Rock and Crown Point, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock and Crown Point. Rooster Rock and Rooster Rock State Park are at the base of Crown Point, as seen from Interstate-84, Oregon, Tunnel Pullout. Vista House is just visible perched on top of Crown Point. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Rooster Rock State Park ...
Rooster Rock State Park is located along the Columbia River, 22 miles east of Portland, Oregon. The park features picnic spots, hiking trails, and 3 miles of beaches.

Image, 2004, Rooster Rock Lewis and Clark sign, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock, Lewis and Clark sign at Rooster Rock State Park. Image taken November 4, 2004.
Image, 2006, Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. View looking east. Image taken April 24, 2006.
Image, 2006, Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Boat ramp, Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken April 24, 2006.


Campsite of November 2, 1805 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 2, 1805 was near Rooster Rock and Crown Point.

"... we Encamped behind a large rock in the Lard. Bend, ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805, first draft]

"... we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side, here the mountains leave the river on each Side, which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805]

"... We came 23 miles, and encamped at a high peak resembling a tower on the south side ..." [Gass, November 2, 1805]

"... we came 21 miles this day & Camped under a verry Shelving clift on the Lard. Side ..." [Ordway, November 2, 1805]

"... went 21 miles and Camped under a Shelving clift & a green on the Lard. Side ..." [Whitehouse, November 2, 1805]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was upstream on the Washington side of the Columbia River near Fort Rains. The campsite of November 3, 1805, was on Government Island.


Image, 2004, Rooster Rock, Steigerwald Lake NWR, and Point Vancouver, from Crown Point, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock and Rooster Rock State Park, from Crown Point, Oregon. Rooster Rock and Rooster Rock State Park are at the base of Crown Point. Steigerwald Lake NWR and Point Vancouver are across the Columbia on the Washington side. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Campsite of April 6-8, 1806 ...
Rooster Rock State Park is located along the Columbia River, 22 miles east of Portland, Oregon. The park features picnic spots, hiking trails, and 3 miles of beaches. Lewis and Clark's campsite from April 6 through April 8, 1806, was in the Rooster Rock State Park area, at Shepperd's Dell.
[More]

Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park and Youngs Creek, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, and Youngs and Latourell Creeks. From Crown Point looking upstream at Rooster Rock State Park. Latourell Creek (right) and Youngs Creek (left) meander through the foreground. Shepperds Dell is to the right off of Youngs Creek. Youngs Creek, once leaving the Shepperd's Dell area, flows westward through Rooster Rock State Park, where it merges with Latourell Creek and forms Mirror Lake, which then merges with the Columbia River just below Rooster Rock. Image taken October 10, 2004.


Rooster Rock Cannery ...
The Rooster Rock Cannery once existed on the west side of Rooster Rock in the small bay between Tunnel Point and Rooster Rock. The Cannery was built by Antone Fastabend for Samuel Elmore, who had a large Cannery business in Astoria, Oregon. Because of constant silting of the bay where the cannery was located, it eventually was forced to move to Ellsworth on the Washington shore.
[More Columbia River Canneries]

Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock, Oregon, with Cannery, ca.1905
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock, Oregon, with Cannery ca.1905.
Penny Postcard, ca.1905. "Rooster Rock, Columbia River, Oregon." Note fishwheel along side of Cannery. Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. Undivided Back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


"Woutoulat" ...
"In our regional nomenclature place names of Indian origin are many. They are of special aptitude in most instances, and particularly to the natural objects about which hover a wealth of traditional reminiscence and mythical lore. This, it seems, should not be entirely lost or forgotten. The ancient name "Woutoulat" is preferable to Rooster rock. The one is redolent of the old time myths, and the religious symbolism that reaches back to a time anterior to the traditions, while the other serves no purpose, outside of being a mere name, the unsuitableness of which invariably calls forth the query, "Why?"."

Source:    H.H. Riddell, 1916, "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia", IN: Mazama, vol.5.

Early Rooster Rock ...
Lewis and Clarked camped at Rooster Rock on November 2, 1805, and called it a "high projecting rock" and a "high peak resembling a tower".

In 1841, Charles Wilkes, of the U.S. Exploring Expedition called Rooster Rock the "Obelisk" on his map "Sheet No.6 of Columbia River". He also had Tunnel Point labeled "Square Rock" and Reed Island called "Vancouver Island".

Mrs. Frances Fuller Victor in her 1872 publication "All Over Oregon and Washington" used the name "Crow's Roost" ... (p.77-78).

"We arrive now at what the tourist must ever regard as the most interesting portion of the river -- the gorge of the Columbia ... Fantastic forms of rock -- some with names by which they can be recognized -- begin to attract our attention. Crow's Roost is a single, detached rock on the right, which time and weather are slowly wearing down to the "needle" shape, so common among the trappean formations. It stands with its feet in the river, at the extremity of a heavily wooded point; and in the crevices about its base, and half-way up, good-sized firs are growing. Above the Crow's Roost the mountains tower higher and higher. Frequently from lofty ledges and terraces of rock silvery water-falls are seen descending, hundreds of feet, to some basin hidden by intervening curtains of wooded ridges. ...


According to Oregon Geographic Names (McArthur & McArthur, 2003),  : "The modern name is of phallic significance originating from rhyming slang.", however in 1896 Emma Adams wrote about the Rooster Rock name (see below).

A post office called "Rooster Rock" was established in May 1876, but changed to "Latorell Falls" in August 1887.


Rooster Rock in 1896 ...
Emma H. Adams wrote about passing Rooster Rock in 1886 while on the steamer "Dixie Thompson" in her publication "To and Fro, Up and Down, in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Territory ...".
[More]

"... [p.327]   Leaving Vancouver, the Thompson soon approached the point where the river emerges from its grand gorge in the Cascade Range, and before noon we had a stupendous scenery on either side, nearly every mile contributing some object of special interest.

'Do you see that lofty rock rising out of the water, just ahead, on the Oregon side?' asked the purser, a young man from Chicago, as we turned away from Vancouver.

'Yes,' answered the parties addressed ...

'Well, that is Rooster Rock, one of the marvels of the Columbia. We shall pass it close on our left.'

The 'marvel' is a column of dark basalt, of irregular conical shape, resting on the bed of the river sixty feet below the surface, and rising probably one hundred and fifty feet above the surging water. The powerful current must have spent ages in hewing the staunch shaft into its present shape. 'Looks it like a rooster?' No. It has not the slightest resemblance to one, but the top offers an admirable place from which to crow, could Mr. Gallus but reach it. Near by is another mass of rock, which answers very well for a hen, and scattered about are smaller ones, very suitable for chickens; thus is the spot supplied with a while family of the domestic fowl. ..."


Rooster Rock from Washington State ...

Image, 2003, Rooster Rock State Park and Crown Point, click to enlarge
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Crown Point, Rooster Rock, and Rooster Rock State Park. Rooster Rock and Rooster Rock State Park are at the base of Crown Point. Image taken June 25, 2003.


"The Golden Age of Postcards" ...

The early 1900s was the "Golden Age of Postcards", with the "Penny Postcard" being a popular way to send greetings to family and friends. Rooster Rock was a popular image for the cards.

Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock, Oregon, Image ca.1896, Card ca.1905
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock, Oregon, Image ca.1896, Card ca.1905.
Penny Postcard, Image ca.1896, Card ca.1905. "Rooster Rock, Columbia River, Oregon." Oregon Historical Society original image is titled "Hattie Belle at Rooster Rock, by Benjamin Gifford, ca.1896." Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. Card is in the same style as offical cards from the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock, Oregon, with Cannery, ca.1905
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock, Oregon, with Cannery ca.1905.
Penny Postcard, ca.1905. "Rooster Rock, Columbia River, Oregon." Note fishwheel along side of Cannery. Published by B.B. Rich, Official Stationer. Undivided Back. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock with Cannery, ca.1910
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock with Rooster Rock Cannery, ca.1910.
Penny Postcard, ca.1910, "Rooster Rock, Columbia River". Rooster Rock, Oregon, with the Rooster Rock Cannery. Published by Louis Scheiner, Portland, Oregon. Postcard has postmark of 1916. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock and Crown Point, with Cannery, ca.1920
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock and Crown Point, with Rooster Rock Cannery, ca.1920.
Penny Postcard, ca.1920, "Columbia River Gorge, Columbia River Highway 25 miles east of Portland. Seen from Union Pacific System Trains." View shows Rooster Rock and Crown Point, Oregon, with the Rooster Rock Cannery. Union Pacific System Pictorial Post Card, "The Scenic Columbia River Route to the Pacific Northwest". In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock, Steamer, ca.1908
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock, Oregon, and Steamer, Postmarked 1908.
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1908, "Rooster Rock, Columbia River, seen from O.R. & N. train.". Published for the J.K. Gill Co., Portland, Ore., by M. R., Los Angeles. Card #4020. Postcard has postmark of 1908. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.
Penny Postcard, Rooster Rock, Train Tracks, ca.1914
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Penny Postcard: Rooster Rock, Oregon, with Train Tracks, Postmarked 1914.
Penny Postcard, Postmarked 1914, "Rooster Rock, Columbia River." Published by Patton Post Card Co., Salem, Oregon. Card is postmarked October 4, 1914. In the private collection of Lyn Topinka.


Views from Rooster Rock State Park ...

Image, 2003, Columbia River upstream from Rooster Rock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River upstream from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Columbia River, looking upstream from Rooster Rock State Park, with Cape Horn and Beacon Rock, Washington, visible in the distance. Image taken October 18, 2003.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park and Cape Horn, as seen from Crown Point, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon (foreground), and Cape Horn, Washington (background), as seen from Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon. Image taken October 11, 2004.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park, with Cape Horn, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, with Cape Horn, Washington. Image taken November 4, 2004.
Image, 2003, Rooster Rock State Park, beach, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, beach. Hikers along the beach of Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, with the banks of Washington State in the background. Image taken October 18, 2003.
Image, 2004, Rooster Rock State Park, with Beacon Rock, click to enlarge
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Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, with Beacon Rock, Washington. Image taken November 4, 2004.
Image, 2003, Columbia River downstream from Rooster Rock, click to enlarge
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Columbia River downstream from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Columbia River, looking downstream from Rooster Rock State Park, with Point Vancouver and Steigerwald Lake refuge in the background. Image taken October 18, 2003.
Image, 2003, Cape Horn, Washington, from Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Cape Horn, Washington. Cape Horn as seen from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken October 18, 2003.
Image, 2006, 'Stealth Boat
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"Stealth boat" as seen from Rooster Rock State Park. Image taken April 24, 2006.
Image, 2004, Crown Point from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Crown Point, Oregon. Crown Point as seen from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken March 20, 2004.
Image, 2006, Crown Point from Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Crown Point, Oregon. View from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken April 24, 2006.


Wind and Ice, January 15, 2007 ...

Image, 2007, View from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Winter view, ice-covered jetty, from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken January 15, 2007.
Image, 2007, View from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Winter view, ice-covered jetty, from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken January 15, 2007.
Image, 2007, View from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Winter view, waves, ice-covered jetty, from Rooster Rock State Park, Oregon. Image taken January 15, 2007.


Windy Day, November 19, 2005 ...

Image, 2005, Looking upstream from Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Columbia River, windy day, looking upstream from Rooster Rock State Park. Looking at Cape Horn, Rooster Rock, and Beacon Rock. Image taken November 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, Looking upstream from Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Columbia River, windy day, from Rooster Rock State Park. Image taken November 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, From Rooster Rock State Park, click to enlarge
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Columbia River rainbow colors across the water, from Rooster Rock State Park. Image taken November 19, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 2, 1805, first draft ...
Meridian altitude 59 45' 45" made a portage of about 1 miles with half of the Baggage, and run the rapid with the Canoes without much damage ... we Set out Passed 2 bad rapids one at 2 & the other at 4 mile below the Isd on Lard. [Bradford Island] and upper end of Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island] on the Stard. Side from the Creek end of last Course

S. 50 W. 5 miles to a timbered bottom on the Lard. Side, passed the Lowr. point of Strawbery Isd. at 3 miles [Hamilton Island], a Isd Covd with wood below on Stard. Side a remarkable high rock on Stard. [Beacon Rock] Side about 800 feet high & 400 yds round, the Beaten Rock. The mountains and bottoms thickly timbered with Pine Spruce Cotton and a kind of maple Passed 2 Small wooded Islands on Std. Side [today Ives and Pierce Island], <opsd> below the lower Island on the Stard. Side at 4 miles an Indian village of 9 Houses. The river wider and bottoms more extencive.

S. 47 W. 12 miles to a <Lard.> Stard. point of rocks of a high clift of black rocks [Cape Horn]. passed a Stard. Point at 4 miles. here the mountains are low on each Side & thickly timbered with pine. river about 2 miles wide, passed a rock at 10 miles in the middle of the river [Phoca Rock] this rock is 100 feet high & 80 feet Diameter, a deep bend to the Stard. Side, ...

S. 58 W. 4 miles <to a> Stard. point of a large bottom. Encamped on the 21 Lard Side river about 2 miles wid Country thickly timbered we Encamped behind a large rock [Rooster Rock] in the Lard. Bend, a Canoe with 7 Inds. came down & Encamped with us



Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]     Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodward Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-






Lewis, April 6, 1806 ...
"This morning we had the dryed meat secured in skins and the canoes loaded; we took breakfast and departed at 9 A. M. we continued up the N. side of the river nearly to the place at which we had encamped on the 3rd of Nov. [in error ???, Lewis and Clark's camp of November 3, 1805 was on the north side of Government Island, downstream of the location they just spent 6 days at -- Cottonwood Beach. Most likely Lewis means the location of their camp of November 2, 1805, near Rooster Rock] when we passed the river to the south side in quest of the hunters we had sent up yesterday and the day before. from the appearance of a rock [Rooster Rock] near which we had encamped on the 3rd of November [November 2, 1805] last I could judge better of the rise of the water than I could at any point below. I think the flood of this spring has been about 12 feet higher than it was at that time; the river is here about 1 miles wide; it's general width from the beacon rock [Beacon Rock] which may be esteemed the head of tide water, to the marshey islands [in the lower Columbia River Estuary, near Cathlamet Bay] is from one to 2 miles tho' in many places it is still wider. it is only in the fall of the year when the river is low that the tides are persceptable as high as the beacon rock [Beacon Rock]. this remarkable rock which stands on the North shore of the river is unconnected with the hills and rises to the hight of seven hundred feet; it has some pine or reather fir timber on it's nothern side, the southern is a precipice of it's whole hight. it rises to a very sharp point and is visible for 20 miles below on the river.     at the distance of ten miles from our encampment [Cottonwood Beach ??? ... Rooster Rock ???] we met with our hunters in the upper end of the bottom [Shepperds Dell] to which we had directed them on the South side of the river. they had killed three Elk this morning and wounded two others so badly that they expected to get them. we therefore determined to encamp for the evening at this place [Shepperds Dell] in order to dry the meat, in surch of which we sent a party immediately and employed others in preparing scaffoalds and collecting firewood &c against their return."





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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:    Adams, E.H., 1888, To and Fro, Up and Down, in Southern California, Oregon, and Washington Territory, with Sketches in Arizona, New Mexico, and British Columbia: Cranston & Stowe, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis;    Columbia Gorge Discovery Center Photo Archives website, 2011;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    Norman, D.K., and Roloff, J.M., 2004, A Self-Guided Tour of the Geology of the Columbia River Gorge - Portland Airport to Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Open File Report 2004-7, March 2004;    Oregon Historical Society website, 2006;    Oregon State Parks and Recreation website, 2004;    Riddell, H.H., 1916, "The Lesser Waterfalls Along the Columbia", IN: Mazama, vol.5.    U.S. National Parks website, 2005, "National Historic Landmarks Program";    Victor, F.F., 1872, All Over Oregon and Washington: John H. Carmany & Co., San Francisco;   

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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April 2014