We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

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Return of the Bute Inlet Expedition
The British Colonist, Nov. 15, 1862

Nov. 15, 1862

The Otter returned at 8 1/2 o’clock yesterday morning from Bute Inlet, which she left on Wednesday, at half past 11 in the morning. On the way down she touched at Nanaimo, where she remained part of a day to coal. The trip down - running time - was made in exactly 30 hours, distance 185 nautical miles. Mr. Waddington and the whole party, about 70 men, returned in good health and spirits. Besides which, there were several passengers from Nanaimo; also Mr. C. B. Young, who went up and returned with the Otter. The men speak in enthusiastic terms of the trail, and of the mildness of the climate. As they landed, they gave three parting cheers for Mr. Waddington.

We learn from Mr. Waddington that twenty-three miles of the trail, almost equivalent to a wagon road - ten feet wide - has been completed, with the exception of a bridge and one or two small unfinished portions, several miles from head of the Inlet; but owing to want of time could not be completed this fall. Above the 23 mile trail, several portions of the road have been opened, and the whole trail laid out, blazed, and cleared for the passage of a single man, nearly up to the Forks of the Homathco and Moody, 50 miles from the head of the Inlet. Mr. Waddington walked back on the trail from the Forks to the steamer. There are sixty-six bridges on the trail, of which the greater part are finished. One of them is ninety feet long; another 60 feet long with a single span.

The difficulties of the Pass, though the Cascade Mountains are greater than the projector of the route was led to expect; and after considerable time spent in attempting to find a good wagon road, he succeeded on penetrating into the cañon, and found that the road can be carried through on a dead level, an immense advantage to the route. The whole trail, so far as explored, presents no higher elevation than a bench about a mile long and ninety feet high, with a very gentle slope at each end. The workmen pronounce it “a holiday trail.”

The difficulties of the trail may be said to end at the Forks, so the expedition has really overcome the greatest obstacles. All that is required to complete it for packing through to Cariboo can be done in six weeks. It is the intention of Mr. Waddington to return on the first of March, to complete the opening of the pack-trail.

Good anchorage has been found about a mile from the town site, on the river, and also in the Inlet.

The river is not considered as well adapted for steam navigation as was first supposed, owing to the existence of shoals and rapids. There is a great deal of drift and snags in the river, which would be very expensive to remove; and it is presumed that clearing them away concerns the Government rather than the Bute Inlet Company. Steamers may eventually be made to ascend the river some 25 miles.

The feuds that exist between the Nicletaws and Talsenies came near putting a stop to the expedition. The transportation of provisions was entirely stopped on the river. A daughter of the chief of the Talsenies, eleven years old, had been stolen by one of the Nicletaws, and had to be ransomed with eight pairs of blankets, after a long negotiation, before peace was restored. The advanced party were in consequence very much pushed for provisions.

There was no frost nor snow till last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, when six inches fell. The impression was, that the higher the valley was ascended the milder the climate became.

The expense of the work done is far less than the original estimate.

Several bears had been shot by the Indians. The valley is of a sandy soil; but there are several patches of from 60 to 150 acres of prairie land in different places along the route. The whole valley is heavily timbered, with trees of very large size, some being eight feet in diameter. They are chiefly pine, cedar, red and white hemlock, fir, and immensely large cottonwood.

Source: "Return of the Bute Inlet Expedition," British Colonist, November 15, 1862.

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