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Lewis and Clark History

Ecola ~ A Whale of a Story

The action starts on January 3rd, 1806, when the Corps of Discovery were visited by a group of Clatsop Indians. They brought with them some items to trade, roots, berries, three dogs and something new, whale blubber.

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Ecola~ A Whale of a Story Continued ...

The men had been living on the taste of dog for some time and were ready to try the blubber.  

The Clatsops said they obtained the whale from their neighbors, the Killamucks, who live to the south on the seacoast. The Indians said the whale had been thrown from the sea and had floundered on the beach.

On January 5th, Willard and Wiser, two of the men that had been sent out to make salt, came back to camp with a gallon of pure white salt and more of the whale blubber. The journals said the fat was like pork, but coarser and spongier. When it was cooked, it was found to be tender and palatable. So good in fact that the Corps wanted to get some more of it, either by taking it from the whale or by buying it from the Killamucks. A group of men and some trading merchandise were put together, and were ready to set out in the morning.

That evening Toussaint Charbonneau and his wife Sacagawea came to the Captains and asked to be part of the party that was going out to see the whale. Sacagawea said that she had traveled a long way to see the ocean and had not been able to visit the coast, and now with this big fish on the beach she should be permitted to see both. The Captains agreed, and on the morning of January 6th twelve men headed by Captain Clark set out for the salt works on the Oregon Coast. The weather was clear and beautiful for the first time in well over a month.

It took a full day of travel to reach the salt works, and another to reach the whale, and by the time the Corps found the whale there was nothing left but the skeleton (the whale?s skeleton was measured to be 105 feet in length). The Corps bartered with the Killamucks and purchased at a very high price about 300 pounds of blubber and a few gallons of oil.

With booty in hand the Corps traveled the difficult path back to Fort Clatsop and added a whale story to their adventures.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark

 January 7, 1806: "after about 2 hours labour and fatigue we reached the top of this high mountain... I proceeded on to the whale which was nothing more than the Sceleton, of 105 feet long...  I purchased some oile and about 120 w of fish blubber"

Mapping Resources

  Download a map of the Ecola Park  1418 KB  PDF

Coastal Area Map with Historical Sites PDF   

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Area Attractions

Seaside, Oregon The End of the Lewis and Clark Trail Monument
End of the Trail Statue
at Seaside,Oregon

Sacagawea and baby - Photo from NPS
Netul Landing, Oregon
Statue update

Clark's Tree along the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail
Commemorative Statue
Along the Discovery Trail, Washington


Captain Clark and 10-foot-long Sturgeon Statue along the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail
Commemorative Statue
Along the Discovery Trail, Washington
Whale Park in Cannon Beach, Oregon
Whale Park,
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Saltworks at Seaside, Oregon

Lewis and Clark Trail maps on this web site were provided courtesy of the National Park Service
GPO 1991-557-779

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