A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Pacific Ocean

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From everything I've read, Hunt was not the most popular man on the trip, at least not in a positive way. Many of the men disliked him for a variety of reasons, among them his lack of leadership skills and his inability to follow the advice of his hunters, or disdain for the men and their advice. To be fair, he was a businessman out of Saint Louis, not a trapper, and had never been in the wilds before.

It must have offered Marie and the men some small satisfaction at the "gotcha" when they reached Fort Astoria on the 16th of February 1812 only to be informed Hunt was a day off, and it was really the 15th. Then, again, perhaps they were too tired to care.

Hunt calculated in the months since leaving Saint Louis they travelled 3500 miles to Astoria (a lot of back tracking and side trips). Hunt's party left Saint Louis 21 October 1810 and camped for the winter on Nodaway Island at the mouth of the Nodaway River near present-day St. Joseph, Missouri. The Dorion's joined him when he came back to Saint Louis for supplies and a guide and left in January 1811. They met up with the group on the Nodaway and broke winter camp 21 April 1811. I'm not sure if Hunt's calculations are from the actual beginning of the trip, or the 'second start.' Either way, it's a long walk!
Marie, the boys, and the metis were not allowed to live in for Fort – they had to stay at Young's Bay, a mile or two away with the Hawaiians and other Indians. I doubt anyone minded very much.

Pierre was hired to hunt and supply meat for the men, and Marie was hired to work at the fort--cooking, taking care of hides, making mocassins, etc. They stayed for almost 18 months, a time not only of needed rest for all of them, but a time for Marie to learn yet another language, the Chinook Jargon—the trading language developed by the local Indians for trading not only with each other, but with whoever sailed into their waters -- Chinese, Russian, English, French, or Spanish.

Did Marie despair of ever getting dry in the continual mist and fog? Did she worry about her boys getting lost in the dense undergrowth, and the local predators—whether human or animal? Did she wonder if she would ever get rid of the fleas? Narcissa Whitman mentioned fleas for the first time as they portaged the Celilo Falls. Lewis and Clark also mentioned them, and what a nuisance they were at Fort Clatsop. The temperatures do not get cold enough to kill them off on the western side of the Cascade Mountains.

At the mouth of the river, the Columbia is over a mile wide—the largest river any of the Hunt party had ever seen. The water of the Columbia at this point was tidal and therefore brackish, all their drinking water came from rain gathered in barrels, or from the many fresh-water rivers and creeks above the tidal line.

Fort Astoria was about 5 miles from Fort Clatsop built by Lewis and Clark. Because of the constant damp, and neglect while no one lived there, Fort Clatsop was uninhabitable. If you Google "Fort Astoria" several links will come up. This one https://plus.google.com/101422459144257765118/about?gl=us&hl=en shows a map of present-day Astoria, Oregon and where Fort Astoria, later renamed Fort George, is located. The Brewery is just to the north of the site of the original Fort Astoria which is on the corner of Exchange St and 15th St. If you click on Images for Fort Astoria, you will find copies of drawings and photos of the rebuilt fort.

Hunt did not return to Saint Louis overland, or stay at Fort Astoria. He returned by ship. He'd had enough of the Mountain Man lifestyle. From all I read, he was not missed.

These photos of the Pacific Ocean were taken in winter 2009, a few miles down coast from Astoria.

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