Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, Cathlamet Bay, Oregon"
Includes ... Twilight Eagle Sanctuary ... Cathlamet Bay ... Lewis and Clark campsite of November 28, 1805 ...
Image, 2003, Columbia River Estuary, Cathlamet Bay, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cathlamet Bay from the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary. Looking downstream from the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary viewing platform, across Cathlamet Bay (part of the Columbia River Estuary and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge). Approximate site of Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 26, 1805. Image taken August 2, 2003.


Twilight Eagle Sanctuary ...
The Twilight Eagle Sanctuary is located within Cathlamet Bay, 2.5 miles east of Astoria, Oregon, and just downstream from Settler Point. This wetland Sanctuary was established in 1992, and along with Columbia Land Trust acquisitions in 2009, now totals over 100 acres of old growth forest, tidal wetlands, and shoreline, and stretches nearly a mile along the Columbia River. The Sanctuary is just off of U.S. Highway 30. A viewing platform overlooks acres of mudflats, tidal marshes, open water, and islands. It is an excellent location to observe birds and other wildlife living on the lower Columbia River estuary. The viewing area has several interpretive panels about the wetlands, bald eagles, and the Lewis and Clark journey.

Campsite of November 26, 1805 ...
Lewis and Clark's campsite of November 26, 1805, was along the south bank of Cathlamet Bay's South Channel, downstream of Settler Point, in today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge.

"... we proceeded on through a Deep bend to the South and encamped under a high hill, where we found much difficuelty in precureing wood to burn, as it was raining hard, as it had been the greater part of the day ..." [Clark, November 26, 1805]

"... the day rainy and cold. we went on passd. Several low marshey Islands which was covred with course grass, and willows the Shore is high land covred thick with pine timber and under brush. we Campd in a thick part of wood ..." [Ordway, November 26, 1805]

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was on the Washington shore across from Pillar Rock, and their campsite of November 27, 1805, was on the isthmus of Tongue Point.


Image, 2003, Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge, Cathlamet Bay, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark NWR, Columbia River Estuary, Cathlamet Bay. Looking from the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary viewing platform, across Cathlamet Bay, part of the Columbia River Estuary and the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Image taken August 2, 2003.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 26, 1805, first draft ...
Cloudy and Some rain this morning at daylight wind blew from the E N. E, we Set out and proceeded on up on the North Side of this great river to a rock in the river from thence we Crossed to the lower point of an [blank] Island passed between 2 Islands to the main Shore, and proceeded down the South Side [Cathlamet Bay] passed 2 Inlets & halted below the 2d at a Indian village of 9 large houses [Knappa, Oregon] - those Indians live on an emenence behind a Island or a Channel of the river not more than 300 yds wide, they live on fish & Elk and Wapto roots, of which we bought a few at a high price they Call them Selves Cat-tar-bets description



We proceeded on about 8 miles and Encamped in a deep bend to the South [location of today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary], we had not been Encamped long ere 3 Indians Came in a Canoe to trade the Wapto roots - we had rain all the day all wet and disagreeable a bad place to Camp all around this great bend is high land thickly timbered brushey & almost impossible to penetrate we Saw on an Island below the village a place of deposit for the dead in Canoes-

Great numbers of Swan Geese Brant Ducks & Gulls in this great bend which is Crouded with low Islands covered with weeds grass &c. and overflowed every flood tide [today the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] The people of the last village is-[blank] ...     We are now decending to see if a favourable place should offer on the So Side to winter &c.

from a high Point opsd. a high Isd down the South Side is S. 30 W 6 mls to a point of low land opsd. upr. pt of Isd. passed lowr. pt. 1st Isd. marshey. at the upr. pt. of 2 low Isd. opsd. each other at 4 miles



S. 12 E 2 miles
to an Indn. Cat-tar-bet vilg of 9 houses [Knappa, Oregon] passed an inlet 300 yds wide on Std at 1/2 a mile

S. 60 W 1 mile
to high land on the South

S. 70 W 1 do.
to a South point Low land a low Isd. opsd. pass the former

S. 50 W. 6 miles
to a high point S.

South 2 miles to a bend Camped

N. 70 W. 6 miles
to a point No. 1 a deep bend to the left

S. 50 W 8 miles
to Point No. 2 passing a deep bend to the South

S. 50 W 1 1/2 miles S. 40 W 1 1/2 miles
to Pt in Bay

The bay turns to the N of East & recves 2 other small Brooks



Clark, November 26, 1805 ...
Cloudy and Some rain this morning from 6 oClock. wind from the E. N. E, we Set out out early and crossed a Short distance above the rock out in the river, & between Some low marshey Islands to the South Side of the Columbia at a low bottom about 3 miles below Point Samuel [Aldrich Point] and proceeded near the South Side leaveing the Seal Islands [islands in Cathlamet Bay, today a part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] to our right and a marshey bottom to the left 5 Miles to the Calt-har-mar Village [location of Knappa, Oregon] of 9 large wood houses on a handsom elivated Situation near the foot of a Spur of the high land behind a large low Island Seperated from the Southerly Shore by a Chanel of about 200 yards Wide, ...    



we proceeded on through a Deep bend to the South and encamped under a high hill [past Settler Point to the location of today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary], where we found much difficuelty in precureing wood to burn, as it was raining hard, as it had been the greater part of the day. ...     from the Village quite around this bend to the West the land is high and thickly timbered with pine balsom &c. a Short distance below the Calt har mer Village [Knappa, Oregon] on the Island which is Opposit I observed Several Canoes Scaffold in which Contained their dead, as I did not examine this mode of deposing the dead, must refer it to a discription hereafter.



Whitehouse, November 26, 1805 ...
Tuesday Novemr. 26th    A cloudy wet morning, & we set out early. we proceeded about 1 Mile up the River & then crossed it. In doing of which we passed through several Islands. We proceeded on down the South side of the River, & came to an Inhabited Village of Indians. [Knappa, Oregon] We halted at this place for a short time; ... We continued on still down the River; the day being wet, cold and very disagreeable. We encamped in a thicket on the South shore [today the location of the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary]. ... We saw along the shore, a number of Islands that lay very low & marshy. The Geese, swan & Ducks are in the greatest plenty at this place, & our Hunters killed a number of them.





Clark, November 27, 1805 ...
Rained all the last night and this morning it Continues moderately [the men are camped in Cathlamet Bay near the Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, today part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge] ...    we proceded on between maney Small Islands [west end of Cathlamet Bay] passing a Small river [John Day River, Clatsop County] of [blank] yds wide which the Indians Call ____ [Biddle added the notation Kekemar<qu>ke] and around a verry remarkable point [Tongue Point] which projects about 1 1/2 Miles directly towards the Shallow bay [Grays Bay] the isthmus which joins it to the main land is not exceding 50 yards and about 4 Miles around. we call this Point William [Tongue Point]

below this point [Tongue Point] the waves became So high we were Compelled to land unload and traw up the Canoes, here we formed a Camp on the neck of Land which joins Point William [Tongue Point] to the main at an old indian hut. The rain Continued hard all day we are all Wet and disagreeable. one Canoe Split before we Got her out of the Water 2 feet- The water at our Camp Salt that above the isthmus fresh and fine-






Clark, March 24, 1806 ...
Sent out 15 men verry early this morning for the flesh of the two Elk killed by Drewyer and Fields yesterday. they returned at 8 oClock ...     Set out at half past 9 a. m. [from their camp at Mill Creek, on the east side of Tongue Point] and proceeded [South Channel, along the shore of Cathlamet Bay. They pass the John Day River, the location of today's Twilight Eagle Sanctuary, and today's Svensen Island] to the Cath lah mah Village [near Knappa, Oregon] at 1 P. M. and remained untill after 3 p. m. at this village ...     we proceeded on through Some difficult and narrow Channels [possibly Knappa Channel] between the Seal Islands [islands in Cathlamet Bay, today part of the Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge], and the south side to an old village on the south side opposit to the lower War ki a com village [Skamokawa, Washington], and Encamped [Aldrich Point]. to this old villg. ...     Soon after we made our Camp 2 Indians visited us from the opposite Side, one of them Spoke Several words of English and repeeted the names of the traders, and many of the Salors.     made 16 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: "ColumbiaLandTrust.org" website, 2010;

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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September 2010