Narcissa’s journals are so rich with descriptions in this final leg of the journey that we are truly overwhelmed by the need to edit and extract. If we have piqued your interest, her journals are published in books and online: onelink:http://www.pbs.org/…/th…/resources/archives/two/whitman1.htm . Food, understandably, is often a topic!
Aug 8 “Have come eighteen miles today & have taken it so deliberately that it has been easy for us. The hunters came in last night well loaded. They had been in the mountains two days after game. Killed three Elks & two Antelopes. This is the first Elk meat we have had, & is the last opportunity we expect to have of taking any more game. We are told many have traveled the whole distance from Rendezvous to Walla W. without any fresh, living entirely upon the dry. We think ours will last us until we reach the Salmon fishery, at Snake Falls. Thus we are well provided for all the way, contrary to our expectations. Mr McLeod has excellent hunters, this a reason why we live so well. There is but [little] game & that little is found at a great distance from the route.“
Aug 11 “Teaus & Wed. have been very tedious days, both for man and beast. Lengthy marches without water. Not so tedious today for length, but the route has been rocky and sandy. Had a present tonight of a fresh Salmon, also a plate of fried cakes from Mr McLeod.”
Aug 12 “Frid Raised camp this morn at Sunrise. Came two hours ride to the Salmon fishery Found a few lodges of Diggers of the Snake tribe, (so called because they live on roots during winter) who have just commenced fishing. Obtained some and boiled for our breakfast find it good eating. Had we been a few days earlier we should not have been able to obtain any fish for they had but just come up. They never go higher than these falls, but come here every season.”
She goes on to write an extensive lament to her “little Trunk” and its “faithful services”. “The hills are so steep and rocky that Husband thought it best to lighten the wagon as much as possible & take nothing but the wheels. ….. I regret leaving anything that came from home. ….. If I were to make this journey again I would make quite different preperations. …. The custom of the country is to possess nothing & then you will loose nothing while traveling …..”
Marcus was stubbornly determined to get whatever was left of that wagon to Walla Walla!