Lewis and Clark
Journal Summary 16: Dates May 2, 1806 - May 30, 1806
is a summary of the journal entries made by Lewis and Clark.
Dates: May 2, 1806 - May 30, 1806
the Bitterroot Mountains and Notable Generosity From Some
‘Corps of Discovery’ encountered some rough weather in May
with strong winds, rain, hail and snow. As they made their
way toward the mountains they noted that the snow covered
them almost to the bases. Lewis and Clark gave medical assistance
to some more Indians and were recompensed with dogs and
a horse which they used for food.
Lewis and Clark met up with the Chopunnish Chief that they’d
left their horses and saddles with on the way down the river.
The Chief wasn’t pleased to see them as he’d let the horses
become scattered. The following day the Indians managed
to round up 21 of the horses. Lewis and Clark discovered
that 5 of them had injured backs caused by the Indians who
had ridden them.
Over the next few days the expedition made its way across
some high plains through the snow that had recently fallen.
They met with some more Indians who, after hearing about
their lack of meat, made a present of 2 young fat horses
for them to kill and eat. Lewis commented in his journal
‘This is a much greater act of hospitality than we have
witnessed from any nation or tribe since we have passed
the Rocky Mountains’.
They stayed with these Indians a while and Clark treated
many of their ailments. The Corps of Discovery then set
up a camp nearby to wait for the snow to clear from the
plains. The area was good for hunting and they managed to
kill several bears. Sacagawea gathered a quantity of Fennel
roots which they enjoyed as they tasted like aniseed. As
the days passed, she collected a good stock of the Fennel
for use on their return over the Rockies.
While it continued to rain at the camp, it continued to
snow on the plains. Hunting became a little harder as the
animals moved away, so Lewis and Clark decided to divide
the remains of the goods they’d had for trading amongst
the men so that they could each barter with the Indians
for bread and roots to sustain them during their trip across
the Bitterroot Mountains. They also set about building a
canoe for fishing. They planned to exchange the canoe for
a horse when it was no longer required.
The canoe was finished and a salmon had been spotted in
the river, Sacagawea’s son, who had been sick since the
22nd with a swollen neck and fever, had almost recovered
and the snow on the mountains was melting. The hunters were
having difficulty providing meat and stocks were very low.
Lewis and Clark had to resort to killing the second of the
young horses the Indians had given them for the meat. One
of the Nez Perce Indian Chiefs who was visiting the camp
told Lewis and Clark that they owned the horses that were
loose in the area and that, whenever they required meat,
they could kill any horse that they wanted. Once again Lewis
commented on this act of generosity in his journal writing
‘this is a peice of liberallity which would do honour to
such as bost of civilization’.
The expedition’s canoe was lost as it had been hit by a
strong current and sank. Despite a couple of attempts over
the next few days, they were unable to recover it. A few
more of the horses that had strayed were returned to the
expedition, leaving them with a total of 65. Another Indian
Chief, who had completely lost the use of his limbs for
a few years, had been brought to the camp several days earlier.
The decision was taken to ‘sweat’ him, and after a few days
of this treatment (similar to being placed in a sauna),
the Chief began to regain full use of his limbs.