Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805 - Part Seven
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Journals of Lewis and Clark
Dates: June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805


This article provides interesting facts about their historic journey taken from the Journals of Lewis and Clark dates June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805.

Lewis and cClark Expedition: Jounal Dates June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 1805

The Journals of Lewis and Clark: Dates June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805
The following excerpts are taken from entries of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. Dates: June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805

June 19, 1805
Wednesday 19. The wind blew violently to-day, as it did yesterday, and as it does frequently in this open country, where there is not a tree to break or oppose its force. Some men were sent for the meat killed yesterday which fortunately had not been discovered by the wolves. Another party went to Medicine river in quest of elk, which we hope may be induced to resort there, from there being more wood in that neighborhood than on the Missouri. All the rest were occupied in packing the baggage and mending their moccasins, in order to prepare for the portage. We caught a number of the white fish, but no catfish or trout. Our poor Indian woman, who had recovered so far as to walk out, imprudently ate a quantity of the white apple, which with some dried fish occasioned a return of her fever.

The meridian altitude of the sun's lower limb, as observed with octant by back observation, was 53 15', giving as the latitude of our camp, 47 8' 59" 5"'.

June 20, 1805
Thursday 20. As we were desirous of getting meat enough to last us during the portage, so that the men might not be diverted from their labor to look for food, we sent out four hunters to-day: they killed eleven buffalo. This was indeed an easy labor, for there are vast herds coming constantly to the opposite bank of the river to water; they seem also to make much use of the mineral water of the sulphur spring, but whether from choice, or because it is more convenient than the river, we cannot determine, as they sometimes pass near the spring and go on to the river. Besides this spring, brackish water or that of a dark color impregnated with mineral salts, such as we have frequently met on the Missouri, may be found in small quantities in some of the steep ravines on the north side of the river opposite to us and at the falls.

Captain Clarke returned this evening, having examined the whole course of the river and fixed the route most practicable for the portage. The first day, 17th, he was occupied in measuring the heights and distances along the banks of the river, and slept near a ravine at the foot of the crooked falls, having very narrowly escaped falling into the river, where he would have perished inevitably, in descending the cliffs near the grand cataract. The next day, 18th, he continued the same occupation and arrived in the afternoon at the junction of Medicine and Missouri rivers: up the latter he ascended, and passed at the distance of a mile an island and a little timber in an eastwardly bend of the river. One mile beyond this he came to the lower point of a large island; another small island in the middle of the river, and one near the left shore at the distance of three miles, opposite to the head of which he encamped near the mouth of a creek which appeared to rise in the South mountain. These three islands are opposite to each other, and we gave them the name of the Whitebear islands from observing some of those animals on them. He killed a beaver, an elk and eight buffalo. One of the men who was sent a short distance from the camp to bring home some meat, was attacked by a white bear, and closely pursued within forty paces of the camp, and narrowly escaped being caught. Captain Clarke immediately went with three men in quest of the bear, which he was afraid might surprise another of the hunters who was out collecting the game. The bear was however too quick, for before captain Clarke could reach the man, the bear had attacked him and compelled him to take refuge in the water. He now ran off as they approached, and it being late they deferred pursuing him till the next morning.

On the 19th, captain Clarke not being able to find the bear mentioned in the last chapter, spent the day in examining the country both above and below the Whitebear islands, and concluded that the place of his encampment would be the best point for the extremity of the portage. The men were therefore occupied in drying the meat to be left here. Immense numbers of buffalo are every where round, and they saw a summer duck which is now sitting. The next morning, 20th, he crossed the level plain, fixed stakes to mark the route of the portage, till he passed a large ravine which would oblige us to make the portage farther from the river: after this there being no other obstacle he went to the river where he had first struck it, and took its courses and distances down to the camp. From the draught and survey of captain Clarke, we had now a clear and connected view of the falls, cascades, and rapids of the Missouri.

This river is three hundred yards wide at the point where it receives the waters of Medicine river, which is one hundred and thirty-seven yards in width. The united current continues three hundred and twenty-eight poles to a small rapid on the north side, from which it gradually widens to one thousand four hundred yards, and at the distance of five hundred and forty-eight poles reaches the head of the rapids, narrowing as it approaches them. Here the hills on the north which had withdrawn from the bank closely border the river, which, for the space of three hundred and twenty poles, makes its way over the rocks with a descent of thirty feet: in this course the current is contracted to five hundred and eighty yards, and after throwing itself over a small pitch of five feet, forms a beautiful cascade of twenty-six feet five inches; this does not however fall immediately perpendicular, being stopped by a part of the rock which projects at about one third of the distance. After descending this fall, and passing the cottonwood island on which the eagle has fixed its nest, the river goes on for five hundred and thirty-two poles over rapids and little falls, the estimated descent of which is thirteen feet six inches till it is joined by a large fountain boiling up underneath the rocks near the edge of the river, into which it falls with a cascade of eight feet. It is of the most perfect clearness and rather of a bluish cast; and even after falling into the Missouri it preserves its color for half a mile. From this fountain the river descends with increased rapidity for the distance of two hundred and fourteen poles, during which the estimated descent is five feet from this for a distance of one hundred and thirty-five poles, the river descends fourteen feet seven inches including a perpendicular fall of six feet seven inches.

The river has now become pressed into a space of four hundred and seventy-three yards, and here forms a grand cataract by falling over a plain rock the whole distance across the river to the depth of forty-seven feet eight inches: after recovering itself the Missouri then proceeds with an estimated descent of three feet, till at the distance of one hundred and two poles it again is precipitated down the Crooked falls of nineteen feet perpendicular; below this at the mouth of a deep ravine is a fall of five feet, after which for the distance of nine hundred and seventy poles the descent is much more gradual, not being more than ten feet, and then succeeds a handsome level plain for the space of one hundred and seventy-eight poles with a computed descent of three feet, making a bend towards the north. Thence it descends during four hundred and eight poles, about eighteen feet and a half, when it makes a perpendicular fall of two feet, which is ninety poles beyond the great cataract, in approaching which it descends thirteen feet within two hundred yards, and gathering strength from its confined channel, which is only two hundred and eighty yards wide, rushes over the fall to the depth of eighty-seven feet and three quarters of an inch. After raging among the rocks and losing itself in foam, it is compressed immediately into a bed of ninety-three yards in width: it continues for three hundred and forty poles to the entrance of a run or deep ravine where there is a fall of three feet, which, joined to the decline of the river during that course, makes the descent six feet. As it goes on the descent within the next two hundred and forty poles is only four feet: from this passing a run or deep ravine the descent for four hundred poles is thirteen feet; within two hundred and forty poles a second descent of eighteen feet; thence one hundred and sixty poles a descent of six feet; after which to the mouth of Portage creek, a distance of two hundred and eighty poles, the descent is ten feet. From this survey and estimate it results that the river experiences a descent of three hundred and fifty-two feet in the course of two and three quarter miles, from the commencement of the rapids to the mouth of Portage creek, exclusive of the almost impassable rapids which extend for a mile below its entrance.

The latitude of our camp below the entrance of Portage creek, was found to be 47 7' 10" 3, as deduced from a meridian altitude of the sun's lower limb taken with octant by back observation giving 53 10'.

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Journals of Lewis and Clark - Dates: June 19, 1805 - June 20, 1805

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