1806 The Return Home – Across the hills, taking a shortcut from the
Columbia to the Snake River
"Some pine of the long leaf kind appear on the Creek hills. also about
50 acres of well timbered pine land where we passed the Creek at 4 m…"
~William Clark, May 2, 1806, while traveling near the area that is
now the location of Lewis and Clark Trail State Park.
Following the advice of the local Walla Walla Indians, the Corps of Discovery
traveled over the rolling hills of southeastern Washington state. They saw animals
along the creeks, and Lewis noticed "Cottonwood, birch, the crimson haw,
redwillow, sweetwillow, chokecherry yellow currants, goosberry, whiteberryed
honeysuckle rose bushes, seven bark, and shoemate."
On May 1, Lewis wrote they "saw a great number of the Curloos, some
Crains, ducks, prarie larks and several speceis of sparrows common to the praries.
I see very little difference between the apparent face of the country here and that
of the plains of the Missouri only that these are not enlivened by the vast herds
of buffaloe Elk &c which ornament the other." The next day, the
Expedition reached today's Lewis and Clark Trail State Park.
Here Clark noted that "Some pine of the long leaf kind appear on the Creek
hills. also about 50 acres of well timbered pine land where we passed the Creek..."
Visitors to the park still enjoy this forest of "pine of the long leaf
kind" – today known as Ponderosa Pine. Wildlife and plants abound
in this oasis in the middle of grasslands and ranching country. Hike a nature trail
to see some of the plants noted by Lewis and Clark. In the evening, listen for the
hooting of great horned owls as they prepare to leave the trees for their nightly
hunting trips into the surrounding open country.
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