"That was a very lonely winter for me. Upon one occasion Alfred Wilson, who was taking a claim on the Humptulips, stopped five minutes at the schoolhouse to see me. How glad I was to see him! He was the only visitor ever to step inside my school room. I made the acquaintance of a squirrel, some butcher birds I fed, and looked in vain for other wild life. I never caught a glimpse of a pheasant, a bear, a deer or a cougar. And I never went back."
The woods are no doubt gone. The road also, I hope."
According to Prof. Edmund Meany, Washington State historian, the Indian name Humptulips means "hard to pole." The Humptulips River, rising in the Olympic Mountains, flows swiftly over its gravel bed to empty into Grays Harbor, an arm of the Pacific. Due to the many protruding rocks, log jams, and boiling riffles that obstructed its course, a canoe had to be shoved along by means of a ten-foot pole thrust into the riverbed. Occasionally there was a deep, quiet pool where the paddle could be used. It required skill and muscle to run the Humptulips River.
The canoes which the Washington coastal Indians used differed widely from the light birch-bark canoes of many eastern tribes. First a cedar tree was felled and a log cut the desired length of the boat. After the outside was shaped symmetrically to pointed ends, a length-wise row of fires was started on top. From time to time the charred surface was scraped off and a new set of fires started. Water was used to control the burning. When the log had been hollowed out to the required thickness and scraped smooth, the cavity was filled with water to which was added heated rocks. When the hot water had softened the wood, spreaders and wedges were used to make the boat wider in the middle portion and give it a lift. These cross-pieces also gave the canoe added strength in rough water. Next a high, hand-carved prow and a somewhat lower stern piece were added to throw the water aside and prevent its coming into the canoe. When finished, fish oil was rubbed into the cedar to make it water tight.
In addition to canoes and longboats, these coastal Indians made ocean-going whaling boats or war canoes, some capable of carrying fifty Indians.