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The Volcanoes of
Lewis and Clark
April 30, 1806
The Walla Walla Shortcut - Overland to the Touchet
 
Home
The Volcanoes of Lewis and Clark

Map of the Journey
Volcanoes, Basalt Plateaus, Major Rivers, etc.

The Volcanoes
Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Mount Rainier, and Mount St. Helens

CALENDAR of the Journey
October 1805 to June 1806

Along the Journey
Pacific Northwest Maps - Columbia River, Volcanoes, Flood Basalts, Missoula Floods, Geology, etc.

The Corps of Discovery
The Journey of Lewis and Clark

About the Reference Materials
The Journals, Biddle/Allen, DeVoto, Gass, Moulton, Topo Maps, and others

USGS Lewis and Clark Links
Links to USGS Websites highlighting the Lewis and Clark Journey

Resources
Publications Referenced and Websites Visited


PREVIOUS

April 29
Up the Columbia, Walla Walla
April 30

The Walla Walla Shortcut,
Overland, Walla Walla to the Touchet

Walla Walla River, Palouse Loess (Sand), Eureka Flats, Touchet River, Blue Mountains
CONTINUE

May 1-3
The Walla Walla Shortcut, Overland, Touchet to the Snake River
 

On October 7, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the "Corps of Discovery" began their journey down the Clearwater River and into the volcanics of the Pacific Northwest. The Corps travelled from the Clearwater to the Snake and down the "Great Columbia", finally reaching the Pacific Ocean on November 15, 1805. Along the journey they encountered the lava flows of the Columbia Plateau, river channels carved by the great "Missoula Floods", and the awesome beauty of five Cascade Range volcanoes.

Map, Lewis and Clark in the Pacific Northwest, click for brief
                         summary
[Click map for brief summary about the area]


 
Heading for Home - April 1806
The Walla Walla Shortcut - Overland to the Touchet
 

Lewis and Clark's camp of April 29, 1806, was on the north side of the Walla Walla River, upstream of its junction with the Columbia. Today this spot is under Lake Wallula, the reservoir behind McNary Dam.

Wednesday, April 30, 1806
Although we had hobbled and secured our new purchases, we found some difficulty in collecting all our horses. ...... We have now twenty-three horses, may of whom are young and excellent animals, but the greater part of them are afflicted with sore backs. ......

The men are preparing to leave the Columbia River and travel up the Walla Walla drainage overland to reach the Snake River and the Clearwater.


Along the Journey - April 30, 1806
Walla Walla River, 2003

Walla Walla River:
The Walla Walla River basin lies between the Snake River basin on the north, the Blue Mountains to the east and south, and the Umatilla River basin on the south and west. The basin includes parts of Walla Walla and Columbia counties in Washington and part of Umatilla County in Oregon, and covers 1,720 square miles. The basin is approximately 55 miles long by 52 miles wide, with elevations ranging from a high of 6,250 feet to a low of 340 feet. It is located near the boundary between the Blue Mountains (south and southeast) and Columbia River Plateau (north and northwest) physiographic regions. Regional folding around the basin boundary and faulting formed the Walla Walla basin. The major rock underlying the basin is the Miocene Age (15 to 20 million years ago) Columbia River Basalt Group, which consists of a thick sequence of lava flows known to be in excess of 6,000 feet thick near Pasco. Individual flows generally range from approximately 50 to over 150 feet. Unconsolidated gravels and clays overlie the basalt. An extensive deposit of windblown silt (loess soil) called the Palouse Formation covers most of the Walla Walla River basin. This formation eroded and resulted in the gently rolling hills that are typical of the region. The Walla Walla River itself originates in the northeast corner of Umatilla County in Oregon. It dips south from there and then flows north through Milton-Freewater, crossing the Oregon/Washington border 6 miles north of Milton-Freewater. The principle tributaries of the Walla Walla include the Touchet River, Mill Creek, and the North and South Forks of the Walla Walla River. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Website, 2004, Walla Walla District, Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2004, and Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority Website, 2004


Map, 1814, Lewis and Clark on the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1833, Illman and Pilbrow, Columbia River, click to enlarge Map, 1853, Washington and Oregon and the Columbia River, click to enlarge Map, 1854, Columbia River, Willow Creek to Walla Walla, click to enlarge Map, 1855, Clearwater and Snake from Canoe Camp to the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1858 Military recon map, mouth of the Walla Walla River, click to enlarge Map, 1863, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Touchet Rivers, etc., click to enlarge Map, 1893, Columbia, Snake, and Walla Walla Rivers, click to enlarge Map, 1918 USGS topo map of Walla Walla River area, click to enlarge NASA Image, 1994, Columbia River from Crow Butte to the Snake River, click to enlarge NASA Image, 1994, Columbia River and the junction of the Walla Walla River, click to enlarge Engraving, 1853, Old Fort Walla Walla, click to enlarge Image, 2003, Walla Walla River
  1. 1814 Map, Lewis and Clark's map of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge.) Shows the Walla Walla River ("Wollawwollah R."). Map also includes three of the five volcanoes Lewis and Clark saw and commented on. While the journals mention the expedition seeing Mount Adams, it does not appear on their map. Mount Jefferson is just visible to the south (bottom) and Mount Rainier is to the north but off the map. From the "Nicholas Biddle/Paul Allen" 1814 publication. Original Map: "A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean". From: History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark : to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean : performed during the years 1804-5-6 : by order of the government of the United States / prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Philadelphia : Bradford and Insskeep, 1814. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University #upbover maps37. -- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library Website, 2004.
  2. 1833 Map (section of original), Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Includes Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. Note: Mount Baker is depicted (upper middle) but Mounts Adams, Rainier and St. Helens are missing. The Columbia River is shown as "Oregon River" at its mouth and "Columbia or Oregon R." further inland. "Wappatoo Valley" is labeled. Also shows Fort Clatsop ("F. Clatsop or F. George"), the Willamette River ("Multnomah R."), Sandy River ("Quicksand R."), John Day River ("R.La Page"), Walla Walla River ("Wallwullah R."), Snake River ("Lewis R."), and the Yakima River ("Tapete R."). Original Map: Oregon Territory, 1833. Creator: Illman & Pilbrow, published by Illman & Pilbrow, New York. Comments: Illman & Pilbrow is the engraving firm which copyrighted and published this map, the actual artist is unknown. Washington State University Digital Maps Collection #WSU323. University of Washington Digital Maps Collection #UW104. -- Washington State University Early Washington Maps Digital Collection Website, 2004
  3. 1853 Map, Washington and Oregon and the Columbia River, from the Clearwater River to the Snake River and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Includes: Clearwater River (Kooskooski), Lapwai Creek (Lapwai R.), Snake River (Saptin or Lewis R.), Columbia River (Columbia R.), Yakima River (Yakima R.), Walla Walla River (Wallawalla R.), Umatilla River (Umatilla R.), Willow Creek (Quesnells R.), John Day River (John day's R.), Deschutes River (Fall R.), Willamette River (Willammette R.), and Cowlitz River (Cowlitz R.). Original Map: "Map of California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and New Mexico (1853)", by Thomas Cowperthwait & Co. Washington State University Archives #WSU22. -- Washington State University Library Collections Website, 2003
  4. 1853-54 Map, Columbia River, including the Wallula Gap area (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Includes Horse Heaven Hills ("lands destitute of timber"), Willow Creek, Umatilla River, Walla Walla River, Touchet River, Twin Sisters ("Chimney Rock"), Yakima River, and the junction of the Snake River (only the "S" shows) with the Columbia. Original Map: "Rocky Mountains to Puget Sound : from explorations and surveys / made under the direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War by Isaac I. Stevens Governor of Washington Territory, 1853-4." Inset: (Supplementary sketch) Reconnaissance of the railroad route from Wallawalla to Seattle via Yak-e-mah River & Snoqualmie Pass. By A. W. Tinkham in January 1854. Drawn by J. R. P. Mechlin. 20 x 28 cm. Topographer, John Lambert, Published in Washington D.C., 1859, 1:1,200,000, Notes: From the U.S. War Department, Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Topographical Maps, to Illustrate the Various Reports, U.S. Library of Congress American Memories Reference "LC Railroad Maps #156". -- U.S. Library of Congress, American Memories Website, 2004
  5. 1855 Map, Clearwater and Snake Rivers, including the Walla Walla River (Wahlah Wahlah R.) (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Map of Oregon and Washington Territories: showing the proposed Northern Railroad route to the Pacific Ocean, by John Disturnell, 1855. University of Washington Archives #UW155. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  6. 1858 Military Recon Map (section of original), Mouth of the Walla Walla River. (Click to enlarge). Map of military reconnaissance from Fort Dalles, Oregon, via Fort Wallah-Wallah, to Fort Taylor, Washington Territory, 1858. Shows approximate location of military road constructed 1859 to 1862. From the report and maps of Captain John Mullan, United States Army, G.P.O., 1863. University of Washington Archives #UW85. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  7. 1863 Map (section of original), Columbia River, Umatilla Rapids, Monumental Rocks, Umatilla River, Walla Walla River, Touchet River, etc. (Click to enlarge). Original map by John Mullan, Julius Bien, and Edward Freyhold, United State Office of Explorations and Surveys. Prepared from field notes from 1858-1863. Scale 1:1,000,000. Original map from: report and maps of Captain John Mullan, United States Army, of his operations while engaged in the construction of a military road from Fort Walla-Walla, on the Columbia River, to Fort Benton, on the Missouri River, 1863. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  8. 1893 Map part of the Columbia River showing junctions with the Snake and Walla Walla Rivers (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Part of the Snake River from its mouth to the Grande Ronde, showing location of principal rapids". U.S. Engineers Office, 1893. Washington State University Historical Maps Collection #WSU586. -- Washington State University Library Archives Website, 2002
  9. 1918 Map (section of original), from Wallula 1:125,000 topographic quadrangle. (Click to enlarge). Original map surveyed in 1915, contour interval of 50 feet. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  10. 1994, NASA Image, Columbia River from Crow Butte to the Snake River (section of original) (Click to enlarge). View from space - Columbia River, Snake River, Yakima River, Walla Walla River, Umatilla River, Crow Butte and Wallula Gap, north-looking, low-oblique photograph, September 1994. NASA Earth from Space #STS064-112-093. -- NASA Earth from Space Website, 2002
  11. 1994, NASA Image, Columbia River and the junction of the Walla Walla River (section of original) (Click to enlarge). View from space - Columbia River and the Walla Walla River, north-looking, low-oblique photograph, September 1994. NASA Earth from Space #STS064-112-093. -- NASA Earth from Space Website, 2002
  12. 1853 Engraving, Nez Perce camp outside walls of Old Fort Walla Walla on the Columbia River, Washington. (Click to enlarge). Engraving by John M. Stanley, 1853. From: University of Washington Library Collection #NA4169. Original from U.S. War Department's Reports of explorations and surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, 1860, v.12, pt.1, pl.42. -- University of Washington Library Collection Website, 2002
  13. 2003, Walla Walla River near confluence with the Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Copyright © 2003 Lyn Topinka, private archives, used with permission.



At eleven o'clock we left these honest, worthy people accompanied by our guide and the Chopunnish family, and directed our course north 30o east, across an open level sandy plain, unbroken except by large banks of pure sand, which have drifted in many parts of the plain to the height of fifteen or twenty feet.


Along the Journey - April 30, 1806
Palouse Hills Farming

Palouse Loess (Sand):
Fertile soils formed from Pleistocene silt and sand blanket the Walla Walla basin. During the Pleistocene ice ages, the region underwent severe change as the continental glaciers advanced and retreated to the north, and valley glaciers carved channels in the higher elevations. Massive floods swept through the Columbia basin periodically through the Quaternary era, bringing vast amounts of sediment into the region. Wind, intensified by the expanse of glacial ice, piled the sand and silt known as loess into dunes that spread across much of central and southeastern Washington. These dunes characterize the region known as the Palouse, and can be seen throughout the Walla Walla basin. -- Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority Website, 2002


Image, 1930, Palouse Hills, click to enlarge Image, Palouse River Basin farming, click to enlarge
  1. 1930, Palouse Hills. (Click to enlarge). Photographer: Ralph Raymond Hutchison. Photograph Date: 1930. Washington State University Libraries Archives, Hutchison Studio Photographs, #213. -- Washington State University Library Archives Website, 2002
  2. Strip cropping in the Palouse River Basin. (Click to enlarge). U.S. Department of Agriculture Photo Archives #79cs0607, CD1447-091. -- USDA Website, 2003


The rest of the plain is poor in point of soil, but throughout is generally short grass interspersed with aromatic shrubs [Eureka Flats area] ......


Along the Journey - April 30, 1806
Eureka Flats, 1941

Eureka Flats:


Image, 1941, Eureka Flats, click to enlarge
  1. 1941, Wheat fields Eureka Flats, Walla Walla County, Washington. (Click to enlarge). Photograph Date: July 1941. Photographer: Russell Lee. U.S. Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration, Office of War Information Photograph Collection #LC-USF34-039782-D. -- U.S. Library of Congress, American Memories Website, 2003


At the distance of fourteen miles we reached a branch of Wollawollah river [Touchet River], rising in the same range of mountains [Blue Mountains], and empties itself six miles above the mouth of the latter [Walla Walla River]. It is a bold deep stream, about ten yards wide, and seems to be navigable for canoes. The hills of this creek are generally abrupt and rocky, but the narrow bottom is very fertile, and both possess twenty times as much timber as the Columbia itself; indeed, we now find, for the first time since leaving Rockfort [Rock Fort Campsite, The Dalles, Oregon], an abundance of firewood. ......


Along the Journey - April 30, 1806
Touchet River, Washington

Touchet River:
The Touchet River originates in the Blue Mountains in the southwest corner of Columbia County, and flows west through the cities of Dayton and Waitsburg, merging with the Walla Walla River near the community of Touchet, Washington. The Touchet is the largest tributary of the Walla Walla, and drains an area of approximately 736 square miles. -- Washington State Departement of Ecology Website, 2004


Map, 1814, Lewis and Clark on the Snake, click to enlarge Map, 1854, Columbia River, Willow Creek to Walla Walla, click to enlarge Map, 1863, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Touchet Rivers, etc., click to enlarge Map, 1893, Columbia, Snake, and Walla Walla Rivers, click to enlarge Map, 1893, Touchet River and the cities of Waitsburg, Huntsville, and Dayton, click to enlarge NASA Image, 1985, Walla Walla River and the Touchet River, click to enlarge Image, 1971, Touchet River, click to enlarge Image, Touchet River, click to enlarge Image, Touchet River at Bolles, click to enlarge
  1. 1814 Map, Lewis and Clark's map of the Snake River (section of original). (Click to enlarge.) The Touchet River is depicted but not named (branch off of the Walla Walla River ("Wollawwollah R.").). From the "Nicholas Biddle/Paul Allen" 1814 publication. Original Map: "A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean". From: History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark : to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean : performed during the years 1804-5-6 : by order of the government of the United States / prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Philadelphia : Bradford and Insskeep, 1814. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University #upbover maps37. -- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library Website, 2004.
  2. 1853-54 Map, Columbia River, including the Wallula Gap area (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Includes Horse Heaven Hills ("lands destitute of timber"), Willow Creek, Umatilla River, Walla Walla River, Touchet River, Twin Sisters ("Chimney Rock"), Yakima River, and the junction of the Snake River (only the "S" shows) with the Columbia. Original Map: "Rocky Mountains to Puget Sound : from explorations and surveys / made under the direction of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War by Isaac I. Stevens Governor of Washington Territory, 1853-4." Inset: (Supplementary sketch) Reconnaissance of the railroad route from Wallawalla to Seattle via Yak-e-mah River & Snoqualmie Pass. By A. W. Tinkham in January 1854. Drawn by J. R. P. Mechlin. 20 x 28 cm. Topographer, John Lambert, Published in Washington D.C., 1859, 1:1,200,000, Notes: From the U.S. War Department, Explorations and Surveys for a Railroad Route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, Topographical Maps, to Illustrate the Various Reports, U.S. Library of Congress American Memories Reference "LC Railroad Maps #156". -- U.S. Library of Congress, American Memories Website, 2004
  3. 1863 Map (section of original), Columbia River, Umatilla Rapids, Monumental Rocks, Umatilla River, Walla Walla River, Touchet River, etc. (Click to enlarge). Original map by John Mullan, Julius Bien, and Edward Freyhold, United State Office of Explorations and Surveys. Prepared from field notes from 1858-1863. Scale 1:1,000,000. Original map from: report and maps of Captain John Mullan, United States Army, of his operations while engaged in the construction of a military road from Fort Walla-Walla, on the Columbia River, to Fort Benton, on the Missouri River, 1863. -- University of Washington Library Archives Website, 2002
  4. 1893 Map, part of the Columbia River showing junctions with the Snake and Walla Walla Rivers (section of original). Also shows the Touchet River, a tributary to the Walla Walla. (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Part of the Snake River from its mouth to the Grande Ronde, showing location of principal rapids". U.S. Engineers Office, 1893. Washington State University Historical Maps Collection #WSU586. -- Washington State University Library Collections Website, 2002
  5. 1893 Map, part of the Columbia River showing junctions with the Touchet River, with Waitsburg, Huntsville, Dayton, and others. (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Part of the Snake River from its mouth to the Grande Ronde, showing location of principal rapids". U.S. Engineers Office, 1893. Washington State University Historical Maps Collection #WSU586. -- Washington State University Library Collections Website, 2002
  6. 1985, NASA Image, Walla Walla River and the Touchet River (section of original). (Click to enlarge). View from space - Columbia River, Walla Walla River, and the Touchet River Hills, northeast-looking, low-oblique photograph, May 1985. NASA Earth from Space #STS51B-038-0096. -- NASA Earth from Space Website, 2002
  7. 1971, Touchet River, Washington (Click to enlarge). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photograph, Walla Walla District, March 30, 1971. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Photo Collection Website, 2002
  8. Touchet River, Washington, in the Walla Walla River Basin. (click to enlarge). -- Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2003
  9. Touchet River at Bolles, Washington, in the Walla Walla River Basin. (click to enlarge). -- Washington State Department of Ecology Website, 2004


Blue Mountains, 1998

Blue Mountains:
The topography of the Blue Mountains consists of flat-topped ridges and steep stair-stepped valley walls formed by thousands of feet of Miocene basalt flows that engulfed the folded, faulted, and uplifted granitic core of the mountains. As mountains were uplifted, streams and glaciers carved canyons through the basalt layers. -- Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority Website, 2004


Map, 1814, Lewis and Clark on the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1855, Clearwater and Snake from Canoe Camp to the Columbia, click to enlarge Map, 1881, Snake, Clearwater, Grande Ronde, Salmon, click to enlarge Engraving, 1876, 'Birds eye view' of Walla Walla and the Blue Mountains, click to enlarge Image, 1998, Blue Mountains, click to enlarge
  1. 1814 Map, Lewis and Clark's map of the Columbia River (section of original). (Click to enlarge.) Shows the Blue Mountains (right side of map, horizontal chain of mountains). Map also includes three of the five volcanoes Lewis and Clark saw and commented on. While the journals mention the expedition seeing Mount Adams, it does not appear on their map. Mount Jefferson is just visible to the south (bottom) and Mount Rainier is to the north but off the map. From the "Nicholas Biddle/Paul Allen" 1814 publication. Original Map: "A Map of Lewis and Clark's Track, Across the Western Portion of North America, From the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean". From: History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark : to the sources of the Missouri, thence across the Rocky Mountains and down the river Columbia to the Pacific Ocean : performed during the years 1804-5-6 : by order of the government of the United States / prepared for the press by Paul Allen. Philadelphia : Bradford and Insskeep, 1814. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University #upbover maps37. -- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library Website, 2004.
  2. 1855 Map, Clearwater and Snake Rivers, including the Blue Mountains (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Map of Oregon and Washington Territories: showing the proposed Northern Railroad route to the Pacific Ocean, by John Disturnell, 1855. University of Washington Archives #UW155. -- University of Washington Library Collections Website, 2002
  3. 1881 Map, Snake, Clearwater, Grande Ronde, and Salmon Rivers (section of original). (Click to enlarge). Original Map: "Map of the Grande Ronde Wallowa and Imnaha Country, 1881". Map section shows the Snake River (name doesn't show), "Clear Water" River (central right, tributary to the Snake), Grande Ronde River (lower left, only "de River" shows, tributary to the Snake), Salmon River (lower right, tributary to the Snake) Lewiston, Central Ferry, Alpowai, Dayton, Pataha, and the Blue Mountains. By H. Chandler, Eng., Buffalo, 1881., Washington State University Historical Maps Collection #WSU468. -- Washington State University Library Archives Website, 2002
  4. 1876 Engraving, "Birds eye view" of Walla Walla, Washington Territory, with the Blue Mountains 9 miles distant. (Click to enlarge). Drawn by E.S. Glover. A.L. Bancroft & Co., lithographers. Perspective map not drawn to scale. "From the west, looking east." Includes index to points of interest and text. -- U.S. Library of Congress, American Memories Website, 2002
  5. 1998, Blue Mountains from the Whitman Mission (Click to enlarge). National Park Service, Whitman Mission National Historic Site Negative #cmb-1998-12. -- U.S. National Park Service Website, 2002, Whitman Mission National Historic Site


Along the Journey - April 30, 1806
The Camp - April 30, 1806:
On the Touchet River, 12 miles north of today's Touchet, Washington.



 
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June/July 2004, Lyn Topinka
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