Near Dallesport in Klickitat County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
Through the Short Narrows
The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived here after shooting the rapids of the "Short Narrows." In that narrow section of the Columbia, the water squeezed through a channel of basalt that compressed the width of the river from 400 to 45 yards.
William Clark and his "principal waterman" Pierre Cruzatte, examined the tumultuous waters of the narrows. They decided to take their canoes through the passage - a risky plan. Clark wrote. "I deturmined to pass through this place notwithstanding the horrid appearance of this agitated gut Swelling, boiling & whorling in every direction (which from the top of the rock did not appear as bad as when I was in it.)."
Thanks to skill and luck, they made it through safely.
Private Pierre Cruzatte
Described as a small, wiry man, Pierre Cruzatte had one eye and was nearsighted. Despite these limitations, he was an excellent boatman and lead the Expedition's canoes through the rapids in this area. The violin was his passion, and he played regularly for the explorers and tribes.
October 24, 1805
"I heard a great roreing. I landed at the Lodges and the natives went with me to the top of this rock ... I could See the dificuelties we had to pass for Several miles below...."
"in those narrows the water was agitated in a most Shocking manner boils Swell & whorl pools, we pass with great risque."
"The whole of the Current of this great river must at all Stages pass thro' this narrow chanel...." ~ William Clark ~
Changed River and Landscape
The Dalles Dam constructed in 1957, significantly changed the river and this landscape. Not only did the backwaters drown the roaring Short and Long Narrows, it also widened the river and inundated village sites. Much of the original village site visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition is now covered by Horsethief Lake.
What Do You See?
Clark described the Short Narrows as "Swelling, boiling & whorling in every direction." What does the Columbia River look like today? In you journal describe it.
Erected by Lewis & Clark Expedition - Washington.
Topics and series. This Exploration • Man-Made Features. In addition, it is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition series list.
Location. 45° 38.431′ N, 121° 6.274′ W. Marker is near Dallesport, Washington, in Klickitat County. Marker can be reached from Columbia Hills Historical State Park Road near Lewis and Clark Highway (Washington Route 14) when traveling south. The marker is in the parking lot at the end of the road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dallesport WA 98617, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sheltered Homelands (here, next to this marker); "the Great Mart" (a few steps from this marker); Long Narrows Challenge (a few steps from this marker); Horsethief Butte (within shouting distance of this marker); Columbia River Indians (approx. ¾ mile away); Preparing to leave the River (approx. 2.6 miles away); The Columbia Then & Now (approx. 3.6 miles away); To Market, to Market (approx. 3.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dallesport.
More about this marker. This marker is among a group at the end of the park road, down by the Columbia River.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 43 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.