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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

While wintering over at Fort Clatsop, the men have difficulty brain-tanning elk hides due to the 'lack of brains' and lack of ashes to make lye soap. Two are sent to the Salt Works for salt. The Giant horsetail is described.

We had a fine clear cool morning....The day continued pleasant until about four o'clock in the afternoon, when the weather became cloudy, and it began to rain.

Patrick Gass

Netul Landing (Lewis and Clark River at Fort Clatsop)

Blue sunrise over a marshy, coastal river

Photo taken January 21, 2013 with permission at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Fort Clatsop.

The men of the garison are still busily employed in dressing Elk's skins for cloathing, they find great difficulty for the want of branes;
we have not soap to supply the deficiency, nor can we procure ashes to make the lye...

Meriwether Lewis

Elk skin, Cervus canadensis roosevelti

Elk hide with hair

The root of the rush used by the natives is a sollid bulb about one inch in length and usually as thick as a man's thumb....
each root sends up one stock only which is annual, the root being perennial.

Meriwether Lewis

Giant horsetail, Equisetum telmateia

Large, long bulb with white spots just coming out of winter

Photo date: March 31, 2008 at Ecola State Park.

The instruments used by the nativs in digging their roots is a Strong Stick of three feet and a half long Sharpened at the lower end and its upper inserted into a part of an Elks or buck's horn which Serves as a handle; Standing transvirsely in the Stick—

William Clark

Nez Perce digging stick

Slightly curved stick with a horn handle on one end and a sharp point on the other

Photo courtesy of Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 8715.