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[54] timber in the valley: small parts of it are tolerably good, but the greater part worthless. From the forks up to the Great Lake it is, in fact, nothing but a series of lakes of different sizes. The Great Lake is some two miles wide and about seventy in length. The scenery around it is more remarkable for its desolation than its beauty. In fact, the whole of this region has something very lonely and dispiriting about it: you see a very few miserably squalid Indians, and no other signs of animal life: an occasional wolf, with now and then a lonely badger, are all you see. From the forks we struck over to the Colville River, and followed it down to the Columbia opposite Fort Colville. The valley of this little river was about the prettiest we saw,--fine larch timber, and a good deal of yellow pine, the valley very narrow, the stream a bold and pretty one; no Indians; and not even any salmon in it. At Colville we crossed the Columbia, swimming the animals, and ferrying ourselves and ‘traps’ in canoes.

At Fort Vancouver the party was broken up, and the portion required for office-work was sent to Olympia, where Captain McClellan arrived on the 16th of December. On the 23d he started with a small party to endeavor to complete the barometrical profile of the main Yakima Pass and examine the approaches on the western side; but he was obliged to return without having accomplished his purpose, mainly on account of the great depth of snow and the impossibility of procuring Indian guides.

Some weeks were spent in office-work at Olympia. From that place, on the 8th of February, 1854, Captain McClellan addressed to Governor Stevens a brief report on the railroad-practicability

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