Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1805 - Part Seven
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805

July 22, 1805
Monday, 22. We set out at an early hour. The river being divided into so many channels by both large and small islands, that it was impossible to lay it down accurately by following in a canoe any single channel, Captain Lewis walked on shore, took the general courses of the river, and from the rising grounds laid down the situation of the islands and channels, which he was enabled to do with perfect accuracy, the view not being obstructed by much timber. At one mile and a quarter we passed an island somewhat larger than the rest, and four miles further reached the upper end of another, on which we breakfasted. This is a large island forming in the middle of a bend to the north a level fertile plain ten feet above the surface of the water and never overflowed. Here we found great quantities of a small onion about the size of a musket ball, though some were larger; it is white, crisp, and as well flavored as any of our garden onions; the seed is just ripening, and as the plant bears a large quantity to the square foot, and stands the rigors of the climate, it will no doubt be an acquisition to settlers. From this production we called it Onion island.

During the next seven and three quarter miles we passed several long circular bends, and a number of large and small islands which divide the river into many channels, and then reached the mouth of a creek on the north side. It is composed of three creeks which unite in a handsome valley about four miles before they discharge themselves into the Missouri, where it is about fifteen feet wide and eight feet deep, with clear transparent water. Here we halted for dinner, but as the canoes took different channels in ascending it was some time before they all joined. Here we were delighted to find that the Indian woman recognizes the country; she tells us that to this creek her countrymen make excursions to procure a white paint on its banks, and we therefore call it Whiteearth creek. She says also that the three forks of the Missouri are at no great distance, a piece of intelligence which has cheered the spirits of us all, as we hope soon to reach the head of that river. This is the warmest day except one we have experienced this summer. In the shade the mercury stood at 80 above 0, which is the second time it has reached that height during this season. We encamped on an island after making nineteen and three quarter miles.

In the course of the day we saw many geese, cranes, small birds common to the plains, and a few pheasants: we also observed a small plover or curlew of a brown color, about the size of the yellow-legged plover or jack curlew, but of a different species. It first appeared near the mouth of Smith's river, but is so shy and vigilant that we were unable to shoot it. Both the broad and narrow-leafed willow continue, though the sweet willow has become very scarce. The rosebush, small honeysuckle, the pulpy-leafed thorn, southern wood, sage and box-alder, narrow-leafed cottonwood, redwood, and a species of sumach, are all abundant. So too are the red and black gooseberries, serviceberries, chokecherry, and the black, red, yellow, and purple currant, which last seems to be a favorite food of the bear. Before encamping we landed and took on board captain Clarke with the meat he had collected during this day's hunt, which consisted of one deer and an elk: we had ourselves shot a deer and an antelope. The mosquitoes and gnats were unusually fierce this evening.

July 23, 1805
Tuesday, 23. Captain Clarke again proceeded with four men along the right bank. During the whole day the river divided by a number of islands, which spread it out sometimes to the distance of three miles: the current is very rapid and has many ripples; and the bed formed of gravel and smooth stones. The banks along the low grounds are of a rich loam, followed occasionally by low bluffs of yellow and red clay, with a hard red slatestone intermixed. The low grounds are wide, and have very little timber but a thick underbrush of willow, and rose and currant bushes: these are succeeded by high plains extending on each side to the base of the mountains, which lie parallel to the river about eight or twelve miles apart, and are high and rocky, with some small pine and cedar interspersed on them. At the distance of seven miles a creek twenty yards wide, after meandering through a beautiful low ground on the left for several miles parallel to the river, empties itself near a cluster of small islands: the stream we called Whitehouse creek after Joseph Whitehouse one of the party, and the islands from their number received the name of the "Ten islands."

About ten o'clock we came up with Drewyer, who had gone out to hunt yesterday, and not being able to find our encampment had staid out all night: he now supplied us with five deer. Three and a quarter miles beyond Whitehouse creek we came to the lower point of an island where the river is three hundred yards wide, and continued along it for one mile and a quarter, and then passed a second island just above it. We halted rather early for dinner in order to dry some part of the baggage which had been wet in the canoes: we then proceeded, and at five and a half miles had passed two small islands. Within the next three miles we came to a large island, which from its figure we called Broad island. From that place we made three and a half miles, and encamped on an island to the left, opposite to a much larger one on the right.

Our journey to-day was twenty-two and a quarter miles, the greater part of which was made by means of our poles and cords, the use of which the banks much favored. During the whole time we had the small flags hoisted in the canoes to apprise the Indians, if there were any in the neighborhood, of our being white men and their friends; but we were not so fortunate as to discover any of them. Along the shores we saw great quantities of the common thistle, and procured a further supply of wild onions and a species of garlic growing on the highlands, which is now green and in bloom: it has a flat leaf, and is strong, tough, and disagreeable. There was also much of the wild flax, of which we now obtained some ripe seed, as well as some bullrush and cattail flag. Among the animals we met with a black snake about two feet long, with the belly as dark as any other part of the body, which was perfectly black, and which had one hundred and twenty-eight scuta on the belly and sixty-three on the tail: we also saw antelopes, crane, geese, ducks, beaver, and otter; and took up four deer which had been left on the water side by captain Clarke. He had pursued all day an Indian road on the right side of the river, and encamped late in the evening at the distance of twenty-five miles from our camp of last night. In the course of his walk he met besides deer a number of antelopes and a herd of elk, but all the tracks of Indians, though numerous, were of an old date.

July 24, 1805
Wednesday, 24. We proceeded for four and a quarter miles along several islands to a small run, just above which the low bluffs touch the river. Within three and a half miles further we came to a small island on the north, and a remarkable bluff composed of earth of a crimson color, intermixed with strata's of slate, either black or of a red resembling brick. The following six and three quarter miles brought us to an assemblage of islands, having passed four at different distances; and within the next five miles we met the same number of islands, and encamped on the north after making nineteen and a half miles. The current of the river was strong and obstructed, as indeed it has been for some days by small rapids or ripples which descend from one to three feet in the course of one hundred and fifty yards, but they are rarely incommoded by any fixed rocks, and therefore, though the water is rapid, the passage is not attended with danger.

The valley through which the river passes is like that of yesterday; the nearest hills generally concealing the most distant from us; but when we obtain a view of them they present themselves in amphitheatre, rising above each other as they recede from the river till the most remote are covered with snow. We saw many otter and beaver to-day: the latter seem to contribute very much to the number of islands and the widening of the river. They begin by damming up the small channels of about twenty yards between the islands; this obliges the river to seek another outlet, and as soon as this is effected the channel stopped by the beaver becomes filled with mud and sand. The industrious animal is then driven to another channel which soon shares the same fate, till the river spreads on all sides, and cuts the projecting points of the land into islands. We killed a deer and saw great numbers of antelopes, cranes, some geese, and a few redheaded ducks. The small birds of the plains and the curlew are still abundant: we saw but could not come within gunshot of a large bear.

There is much of the track of elk but none of the animals themselves, and from the appearance of bones and old excrement, we suppose that buffalo have sometimes strayed into the valley, though we have as yet seen no recent sign of them. Along the water are a number of snakes, some of a brown uniform color, others black, and a third speckled on the abdomen, and striped with black and a brownish yellow in the back and sides. The first, which are the largest, are about four feet long; the second is of the kind mentioned yesterday, and the third resembles in size and appearance the garter-snake of the United States. On examining the teeth of all these several kinds we found them free from poison: they are fond of the water, in which they take shelter on being pursued. The mosquitoes, gnats, and prickly pear, our three persecutors, still continue with us, and joined with the labor of working the canoes have fatigued us all excessively. Captain Clarke continued along the Indian road which led him up a creek. About ten o'clock he saw at the distance of six miles a horse feeding in the plains. He went towards him, but the animal was so wild that he could not get within several hundred paces of him: he then turned obliquely to the river where he killed a deer and dined, having passed in this valley five handsome streams, only one of which had any timber; another had some willows, and was very much dammed up by the beaver. After dinner he continued his route along the river and encamped at the distance of thirty miles. As he went along he saw many tracks of Indians, but none of recent date. The next morning,

July 25, 1805
Thursday, 25, at the distance of a few miles he arrived at the three forks of the Missouri. Here he found that the plains had been recently burnt on the north side, and saw the track of a horse which seemed to have passed about four or five days since. After breakfast he examined the rivers, and finding that the north branch, although not larger, contained more water than the middle branch, and bore more to the westward, he determined to ascend it. He therefore left a note informing Captain Lewis of his intention, and then went up that stream on the north side for about twenty-five miles. Here Charbonneau was unable to proceed any further, and the party therefore encamped, all of them much fatigued, their feet blistered and wounded by the prickly pear.

In the meantime we left our camp, and proceeded on very well, though the water is still rapid and has some occasional ripples. The country is much like that of yesterday: there are however fewer islands, for we passed only two. Behind one of them is a large creek twenty-five yards wide, to which we gave the name of Gass's creek, from one of our sergeants, Patrick Gass: it is formed by the union of five streams, which descend from the mountains and join in the plain near the river. On this island we saw a large brown bear, but he retreated to the shore and ran off before we could approach him. These animals seem more shy than they were below the mountains. The antelopes have again collected in small herds, composed of several females with their young, attended by one or two males, though some of the males are still solitary or wander in parties of two over the plains, which the antelope invariably prefers to the woodlands, and to which it always retreats if by accident it is found straggling in the hills, confiding no doubt in its wonderful fleetness. We also killed a few young geese, but as this game is small and very incompetent to the subsistence of the party, we have forbidden the men any longer to waste their ammunition on them.

About four and a half miles above Gass's creek, the valley in which we have been traveling ceases, the high craggy cliffs again approach the river, which now enters or rather leaves what appears to be a second great chain of the Rocky mountains. About a mile after entering these hills or low mountains we passed a number of fine bold springs, which burst out near the edge of the river under the cliffs on the left, and furnished a fine freestone water: near these we met with two of the worst rapids we have seen since entering the mountains; a ridge of sharp pointed rocks stretching across the river, leaving but small and dangerous channels for the navigation. The cliffs are of a lighter color than those we have already passed, and in the bed of the river is some limestone which is small and worn smooth, and seems to have been brought down by the current. We went about a mile further and encamped under a high bluff on the right opposite to a cliff of rocks, having made sixteen miles.

All these cliffs appeared to have been undermined by the water at some period, and fallen down from the hills on their sides, the strata's of rock sometimes lying with their edges upwards, others not detached from the hills are depressed obliquely on the side next the river as if they had sunk to fill up the cavity formed by the washing of the river.

In the open places among the rocky cliffs are two kinds of gooseberry, one yellow and the other red. The former species was observed for the first time near the falls, the latter differs from it in no respect except in color and in being of a larger size; both have a sweet flavor, and are rather indifferent fruit.

July 26, 1805
Friday 26. We again found the current strong and the ripples frequent: these we were obliged to overcome by means of the cord and the pole, the oar being scarcely ever used except in crossing to take advantage of the shore. Within three and three quarter miles we passed seven small islands and reached the mouth of a large creek which empties itself in the centre of a bend on the left side: it is a bold running stream fifteen yards wide, and received the name of Howard creek after John P. Howard one of the party. One mile beyond it is a small run which falls in on the same side just above a rocky cliff. Here the mountains recede from the river, and the valley widens to the extent of several miles. The river now becomes crowded with islands of which we passed ten in the next thirteen and three quarter miles, then at the distance of eighteen miles we encamped on the left shore near a rock in the centre of a bend towards the left, and opposite to two more islands.

This valley has wide low grounds covered with high grass, and in many with a fine turf of green sward. The soil of the highlands is thin and meagre, without any covering except a low sedge and a dry kind of grass which is almost as inconvenient as the prickly pear. The seeds of it are armed with a long twisted hard beard at their upper extremity, while the lower part is a sharp firm point, beset at its base with little stiff bristles, with the points in a direction contrary to the subulate point to which they answer as a barb. We see also another species of prickly pear. It is of a globular form, composed of an assemblage of little conic leaves springing from a common root to which their small points are attached as a common centre, and the base of the cone forms the apex of the leaf which is garnished with a circular range of sharp thorns like the cochineal plant, and quite as stiff and even more keen than those of the common flat-leafed species. Between the hills the river had been confined within one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards, but in the valley it widens to two hundred or two hundred and fifty yards, and sometimes is spread by its numerous islands to the distance of three quarters of a mile. The banks are low, but the river never overflows them. On entering the valley we again saw the snow-clad mountains before us, but the appearance of the hills as well as of the timber near us is much as heretofore.

Finding Charbonneau unable to proceed captain Clarke left him with one of the men, and accompanied by the other went up the river about twelve miles to the top of a mountain. Here he had an extensive view of the river valley upwards and saw a large creek which flowed in on the right side. He however discovered no fresh sign of the Indians, and therefore determined to examine the middle branch and join us by the time we reached the forks: he descended the mountain by an Indian path which wound through a deep valley, and at length reached a fine cold spring. The day had been very warm, the path unshaded by timber, and his thirst was excessive; he was therefore tempted to drink: but although he took the precaution of previously wetting his head, feet and hands, he soon found himself very unwell; he continued his route, and after resting with Charbonneau at his camp, resumed his march across the north fork near a large island. The first part was knee deep, but on the other side of the island the water came to their waists and was so rapid that Charbonneau was on the point of being swept away, and not being able to swim would have perished if captain Clarke had not rescued him. While crossing the island they killed two brown bear and saw great quantities of beaver. He then went on to a small river which falls into the north fork some miles above its junction with the two others: here, finding himself grow more unwell, he halted for the night at the distance of four miles from his last encampment.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: July 22, 1805 - July 26, 1805

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