Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805 - Part One
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805

 

This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805
 

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805

June 1, 1805
Saturday, June 1. The weather was cloudy with a few drops of rain. As we proceeded by the aid of our cord we found the river cliffs and bluffs not so high as yesterday, and the country more level. The timber too is in greater abundance on the river, though there is no wood on the high ground; coal however appears in the bluffs. The river is from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet wide, the current more gentle, the water becoming still clearer and fewer rocky points and shoals than we met yesterday, though those which we did encounter were equally difficult to pass. Game is by no means in such plenty as below; all that we obtained were one bighorn, and a mule-deer though we saw in the plains a quantity of buffalo, particularly near a small lake about eight miles from the river to the south. Notwithstanding the wind was ahead all day, we dragged the canoes along the distance of twenty-three miles. At fourteen and a quarter miles, we came to a small island opposite a bend of the river to the north: two and a half miles to the upper point of a small island on the north; five miles to another island on the south side and opposite to a bluff. In the next two miles we passed an island on the south, a second beyond it on the north, and reached near a high bluff on the north a third on which we encamped. In the plains near the river are the chokecherry, yellow and red currant-bushes, as well as the wild rose and prickly pear, both of which are now in bloom. From the tops of the river hills, which are lower than usual, we enjoyed a delightful view of the rich fertile plains on both sides, in many places extending from the river cliffs to a great distance back. In these plains we meet occasionally large banks of pure sand, which were driven apparently by the southwest winds, and there deposited. The plains are more fertile some distance from the river than near its banks, where the surface of the earth is very generally strewed with small pebbles, which appear to be smoothed and worn by the agitation of the waters with which they were no doubt once covered. A mountain or part of the North mountain approaches the river within eight or ten miles, bearing north from our encampment of last evening; and this morning a range of high mountains bearing S.W. from us and apparently running to the westward, are seen at a great distance covered with snow. In the evening we had a little more rain.

June 2, 1805
Sunday 2. The wind blew violently last night, and a slight shower of rain fell, but this morning was fair. We set out at an early hour, and although the wind was ahead by means of the cord went on much better than for the last two days, as the banks were well calculated for towing. The current of the river is strong but regular, its timber increases in quantity, the low grounds become more level and extensive, and the bluffs on the river are lower than usual. In the course of the day we had a small shower of rain, which lasted [242]a few minutes only. As the game is very abundant we think it necessary to begin a collection of hides for the purpose of making a leathern boat, which we intend constructing shortly. The hunters who were out the greater part of the day brought in six elk, two buffalo, two mule-deer and a bear. This last animal had nearly cost us the lives of two of our hunters who were together when he attacked them: one of them narrowly escaped being caught, and the other after running a considerable distance, concealed himself in some thick bushes, and while the bear was in quick pursuit of his hiding place, his companion came up and fortunately shot the animal through the head.

At six and at half miles we reached an island on the northern side; one mile and a quarter thence is a timbered low ground on the south: and in the next two and three quarter miles we passed three small islands, and came to a dark bluff on the south: within the following mile are two small islands on the same side. At three and a quarter miles we reached the lower part of a much larger island near a northern point, and as we coasted along its side, within two miles passed a smaller island, and half a mile above reached the head of another. All these islands are small, and most of them contain some timber. Three quarters of a mile beyond the last, and at the distance of eighteen miles from our encampment, we came to for the night in a handsome low cottonwood plain on the south, where we remained for the purpose of making some celestial observations during the night, and of examining in the morning a large river which comes in opposite to us. Accordingly at an early hour,

June 3, 1805
Monday, 3d, we crossed and fixed our camp in the point, formed by the junction of the river with the Missouri. It now became an interesting question which of these two streams is what the Minnetarees call Ahmateahza or the Missouri, which they described as approaching very near to the Columbia. On our right decision much of the fate of the expedition depends; since if after ascending to the Rocky [243]mountains or beyond them, we should find that the river we were following did not come near the Columbia, and be obliged to return; we should not only lose the traveling season, two months of which had already elapsed, but probably dishearten the men so much as to induce them either to abandon the enterprise, or yield us a cold obedience instead of the warm and zealous support which they had hitherto afforded us.

We determined, therefore, to examine well before we decided on our future course; and for this purpose dispatched two canoes with three men up each of the streams with orders to ascertain the width, depth, and rapidity of the current, so as to judge of their comparative bodies of water. At the same time parties were sent out by land to penetrate the country, and discover from the rising grounds, if possible, the distant bearings of the two rivers; and all were directed to return towards evening. While they were gone we ascended together the high grounds in the fork of these two rivers, whence we had a very extensive prospect of the surrounding country: on every side it was spread into one vast plain covered with verdure, in which innumerable herds of buffalo were roaming, attended by their enemies the wolves: some flocks of elk also were seen, and the solitary antelopes were scattered with their young over the face of the plain. To the south was a range of lofty mountains, which we supposed to be a continuation of the South mountain, stretching themselves from southeast to northwest, and terminating abruptly about southwest from us. These were partially covered with snow; but at a great distance behind them was a more lofty ridge completely covered with snow, which seemed to follow the same direction as the first, reaching from west to the north of northwest, where their snowy tops were blended with the horizon.

The direction of the rivers could not however be long distinguished, as they were soon lost in the extent of the plain. On our return we continued our examination; the width of the north branch is two hundred yards, that of the south is three hundred and seventy-two. The north, although narrower and with a gentler current, is deeper than the south: its waters too are of the same whitish brown color, thickness, and turbidness: they run in the same boiling and rolling manner which has uniformly characterized the Missouri; and its bed is composed of some gravel, but principally mud. The south fork is deeper, but its waters are perfectly transparent: its current is rapid, but the surface smooth and unruffled; and its bed too is composed of round and flat smooth stones like those of rivers issuing from a mountainous country. The air and character of the north fork so much resemble those of the Missouri that almost all the party believe that to be the true course to be pursued.

We however, although we have given no decided opinion, are inclined to think otherwise, because, although this branch does give the color and character to the Missouri, yet these very circumstances induce an opinion that it rises in and runs through an open plain country, since if it came from the mountains it would be clearer, unless, which from the position of the country is improbable, it passed through a vast extent of low ground after leaving them: we thought it probable that it did not even penetrate the Rocky mountains, but drew it sources from the open country towards the lower and middle parts of the Saskashawan, in a direction north of this place. What embarrasses us most is, that the Indians who appeared to be well acquainted with the geography of the country, have not mentioned this northern river; for "the river which scolds at all others," as it is termed, must be according to their account one of the rivers which we have passed; and if this north fork be the Missouri, why have they not designated the south branch which they must also have passed, in order to reach the great falls which they mention on the Missouri. In the evening our parties returned, after ascending the rivers in canoes for some distance, then continuing on foot, just leaving themselves time to return by night.

The north fork was less rapid, and therefore afforded the easiest navigation: the shallowest water of the north was five feet deep, that of the south six feet. At two and a half miles up the north fork is a small river coming in on the left or western side, sixty feet wide, with a bold current three feet in depth. The party by land had gone up the south fork in a straight line, somewhat north of west for seven miles, where they discovered that this little river came within one hundred yards of the south fork, and on returning down it found it a handsome stream, with as much timber as either of the larger rivers, consisting of the narrow and wide-leafed cottonwood, some birch and box-alder, amid undergrowth of willows, rosebushes, and currants: they also saw on this river a great number of elk and some beaver.

All these accounts were however very far from deciding the important question of our future route, and we therefore determined each of us to ascend one of the rivers during a day and a half's march, or farther if necessary, for our satisfaction. Our hunters killed two buffalo, six elk, and four deer to-day. Along the plains near the junction, are to be found the prickly pear in great quantities; the chokecherry is also very abundant in the river low grounds, as well as the ravines along the river bluffs; the yellow and red currants are not yet ripe; the gooseberry is beginning to ripen, and the wildrose which now covers all the low grounds near the rivers is in full bloom. The fatigues of the last few days have occasioned some falling off in the appearance of the men, who not having been able to wear moccasins, had their feet much bruised and mangled in passing over the stones and rough ground. They are however perfectly cheerful, and have an undiminished ardour for the expedition.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: June 1, 1805 - June 3, 1805

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