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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/208

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200 T. C. ELLIOTT Dec. 5th, 1810 Thompson had reached a point on Athabasca r ; which he gives as Lat. * * From this place he dispatched men to Mr. Henry at Rocky Mt. House asking for pemmican and supplies. * He was in dire extremities, and his men were disaffected to the verge of mutiny by the sufferings they shared with him. On the 15th the thermometer was minus 30

  • On Saturday, the 29th, thermometer 31 he started. * *

On New Year's Day 1811, thermometer minus 24, the dogs were unable to move their loads, a cache was made * Thomp- son struggled on, with ever-increasing difficulty and danger ; but there was no alternative. Jan. 4th, he came to a bold defile whence issued the main Athabasca r., 'the canoe road to pass to the w. side of the Mts.'. * Jan. 8th, the brook still seemingly the main stream dwindling away; Mts. about 1 mile apart, 2000 to 3000 feet high. * Thursday, Jan. 10th, crossed the Height of Land. Jan. llth, held DOWN a brook.

  • Jan. 13th, sent back to Height of Land for some things

left there, but wolverines had destroyed everything except 5 Ibs of balls. Jan. 14th, Dogs could no longer haul their loads, owing to depth and softness of the snow ; reduced all baggage to a weight of about 3 & ^ pieces, and abandoned every- thing not absolutely necessary, including his tent, courage of the man fast sinking. * Jan. 15th, sighted mountains on other side of the Columbia. * Jan. 21st, Down to the Co- lumbia. Jan. 22nd, Down the Columbia 1 m. to a bold brook and 1 & YT, m. to a cedar point. F. d. P. men dispirited, 'use- less as old women' * determined to return to Canoe river and wait for men, goods and provisions and build canoes." So we see that even in these desperate circumstances he was ready to proceed, and had he been able to cross the mountains by the Howse Pass in September or October, 1810, in all probability he would have pushed on down the Columbia to its mouth during the winter and anticipated the Astor party in actual occupancy. Failing in the effort he proceeded more slowly. Courage and ability to endure hardships were but common attributes of the fur trader, but ability to observe intelligently and record with continual care the daily events and experiences,