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Winter on the Pacific
December 08-30, 1805
Lewis and Clark decided to make camp south of the Columbia. On a slight rise along the banks of a small river, they cleared a site of trees and brush and built Fort Clatsop, named after the local Clatsop Indians.
Their time at the fort was monotonous, spent making moccasins and buckskin clothing, storing food, and working on journals and maps. Even Christmas Day was gloomy, the men's dinner stringy elk meat and roots. Rain was constant.
The captains were anxious to meet one of the trading ships that came frequently to the mouth of the Columbia from U.S. ports or from Britain. One ship did stop to trade with the Indians during the corps's time on the West Coast. But the Indians did not tell Lewis and Clark about it, and the ship left without them ever knowing it had been there.