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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

The Expedition travels over the Camas prairie reaching Chief Twisted Hair's camp near present Nezperce, Idaho. Here, the Indians are gathering roots. Several horses left with the Nez Perce last fall are brought in. It begins to snow.

the Twisted hair sent two young men in surch of our horses agreeably to his promis.
The country…is level extreemly fertile and in many parts covered with a tall and open growth of the longleafed pine.

Meriwether Lewis

Camas Prairie

Green grass field, trees, distant mountains, storm clouds on Camas Prairie

near the watercouses the hills are steep and lofty tho' are covered with a good soil not remarkably stony and possess more timber than the level country.
The grass and many plants are now upwards of knee high.

Meriwether Lewis

A Camas Prairie creek

Watercourse at Camas Prairie with green grass and trees

this country would form an extensive settlement; the climate appears quite as mild as that of similar latitude on the Atlantic coast if not more so and it cannot be otherwise than healthy; it possesses a fine dry pure air.    the grass and many plants are now upwards of knee high. I have no doubt but this tract of country if cultivated would produce in great abundance every article essentially necessary to the comfort and subsistence of civillized man.

Meriwether Lewis

Camas Prairie near Grangeville, Idaho

Photo of prairie and early farmland

Photo circa 1963 courtesy of Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 0873.

this root they collect as early as the snows disappear in the spring and continue to collect it untill the quawmash supplys it's place which happens about the latter end of June.

Meriwether Lewis

Cous, Lomatium cous

gnarly, white roots

the quawmash is also collected for a few weaks after it first makes it's appearance in the spring, but when the scape appears it is no longer fit for use untill the seed are ripe which happens about the time just mentioned, and then the cows declines. the latter is also frequently dryed in the sun and pounded afterwards and then used in making soope.—

Meriwether Lewis

Camas, Camassia quamash

Watercourse at Camas Prairie with green grass and trees