Astoria: Or, Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIV.

THE resolution of Mr. Hunt and his companions was now taken to set out immediately on foot. As to the other detachments that had in a manner gone forth to seek their fortunes, there was little chance of their return; they would probably make their own way through the wilderness. At any rate, to linger in the vague hope of relief from them would be to run the risk of perishing with hunger. Besides, the winter was rapidly advancing, and they had a long journey to make through an unknown country, where all kinds of perils might await them. They were yet, in fact, a thousand miles from Astoria, but the distance was unknown to them at the time; everything before and around them was vague and conjectural, and wore an aspect calculated to inspire despondency.

In abandoning the river they would have to launch forth upon vast trackless plains, destitute of all means of subsistence, where they might perish of hunger and thirst. A dreary desert of sand and gravel extends from Snake River almost to the Columbia. Here and there is a thin and scanty herbage, insufficient for the pasture of horse or buffalo. Indeed these treeless wastes between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific are even more desolate and barren than the naked, upper prairies on the Atlantic side; they present vast desert tracts that must ever defy cultivation, and interpose dreary and thirsty wilds between the habitations of man, in traversing which the wanderer will often be in danger of perishing.

Seeing the hopeless character of these wastes, Mr. Hunt and his companions determined to keep along the course of the river, where they would always have water at hand, and would be able occasionally to procure fish and beaver, and might perchance meet with Indians, from whom they could obtain provisions.

They now made their final preparations for the march. All their remaining stock of provisions consisted of forty pounds of Indian corn, twenty pounds of grease, about five pounds of portable soup, and a sufficient quantity of dried meat to allow each man a pittance of five pounds and a quarter, to be reserved for emergencies. This being properly distributed, they

-220-

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Astoria: Or, Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Introduction. 3
  • Contents 7
  • Astoria. 17
  • Chapter II 27
  • Chapter III 31
  • Chapter IV 41
  • Chapter V 47
  • Chapter VI 55
  • Chapter VII 65
  • Chapter VIII 71
  • Chapter IX 75
  • Chapter X 79
  • Chapter XI 87
  • Chapter XII 95
  • Chapter XIII 100
  • Chapter XIV 106
  • Chapter XV 111
  • Chapter XVI 122
  • Chapter XVII 132
  • Chapter XVIII 139
  • Chapter XIX 146
  • Chapter XX 152
  • Chapter XXI 160
  • Chapter XXII 168
  • Chapter XXIII 172
  • Chapter XXIV 176
  • Chapter XXV 179
  • Chapter XVII 182
  • Chapter XXVII 188
  • Chapter XXVIII 192
  • Chapter XXIX 197
  • Chapter XXX 202
  • Chapter XXXI 205
  • Chapter XXXII 210
  • Chapter XXXIII 216
  • Chapter XXXIV 220
  • Chapter XXXV 229
  • Chapter XXXVI 232
  • Chapter XXXVII 238
  • Chapter XXXVIII 246
  • Chapter Xxxix 251
  • Chapter XL 255
  • Chapter XLI 261
  • Chapter XLII 269
  • Chapter XLIII 273
  • Chapter XLIV 279
  • Chapter XLV 289
  • Chapter XLVI 295
  • Chapter XLVII 301
  • Chapter XLVIII 308
  • Chapter XLIX 313
  • Chapter L 319
  • Chapter LI 325
  • Chapter LII 328
  • Chapter LIII 334
  • Chapter LIV 343
  • Chapter LV 346
  • Chapter LVI 348
  • Chapter LVII 350
  • Chapter LVIII 357
  • Chapter LIX 362
  • Chapter LX 366
  • Chapter LXI 369
  • Appendix. 377
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