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42 Joseph Schafer The soil of the surrounding country is sandy and unproduc- tive, but the irrigation afforded by the constant overflowing of the river enables the Hudson's Bay Co. to raise about one thousand bushels of wheat annually in its vicinity. They have also about loo head of cattle and 300 or 400 horses attached to this post. One hundred and thirty-seven miles below Colville is Fort Okanogan on the left bank of that river, which is navigable for canoes and boats for some distance into the interior. The buildings are similar to Fort Colville, and calculated for the same defense. There is also a depot of cattle and horses at this post. For about 50 miles below Fort Colville the fir timber is thinly scattered over the face of the country, after which, and to within 200 miles of the sea, the trees totally disappear. The country is desolate in the extreme, interminable sandy deserts ^ extending on either bank of the river as far as the eye can reach, without vegetation and intersected by ranges of high sandy hills, surmounted by rugged basaltic rocks. In the neighborhood of Fort Colville some limestone is found, but in what quantity or of what quality we had not an opportunity of judging. One hundred and eighty miles below Okanogan the Snake, or south branch of the Columbia River, joins the north, and nine miles below the junction is Fort Nez Perces, on the Walla Walla River, built of mud, 120 yards square, and bet- ter adapted than any of the other posts to resist a sudden attack. The Columbia River, between Colville and Walla Walla, is obstructed by several rapids which it would be dangerous to descend in boats. No difficulty, however, occurs in making the "portages," which seldom exceed half a mile. The current of the river varies according to the season, hav- ing a rise of 19 feet at Fort Vancouver in the spring of the year. In ascending the river the chief difficulty is in the scar-

city of fir wood, drift wood being the only obtainable fuel,----