April 11, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

April 11, 1805


Set out at an early hour; I proceeded with the party and Capt Clark with George Drewyer walked on shore in order to procure some fresh meat if possible.    we proceeded on abot five miles, and halted for breakfast, when Capt Clark and Drewyer joined us; the latter had killed, and brought with him a deer which was at this moment excepable as we had had no fresh meat for several days.    the country from fort Mandan to this place is so constantly hunted by the Minetaries that there is but little game we halted at two P. M. and made a comfortable dinner on a venison stake and beavers tales with the bisquit which got wet on the 8th inst. by the accidant of the canoe filling with water before mentioned.    the powder which got wet by the same accedent, and which we had spread to dry on the baggage of the large perogue, was now examined and put up; it appears to be almost restored, and our loss is therefore not so great as we had at first apprehended.—    the country much the same as yesterday.    on the sides of the hills and even the banks of the rivers and sandbars, there is a white substance t[h]at appears in considerable quantities on the surface of the earth, which tastes like a mixture of common salt and glauber salts.    many of the springs which flow from the base of the river hills are so strongly impregnated with this substance that the water is extreemly unpelasant to the taste and has a purgative effect.— [1]    saw some large white cranes pass up the river— [2]    these are the largest bird of that genus common to the country through which the Missouri and Mississippi pass. they are perfectly white except the large feathers of the two first joints of the wing which are black.    we encamped this evening on the Stard. shore just above the point of woodland which formed to extremity of the last course of this day. [3]    there is a high bluff opposite to us, under which we saw some Indians, but the river is here so wide that we could not speake to them; suppose them to be a hunting party of Minetares.—    we killed two gees today.

The couses and distances of this day [4] miles
S. 85 W. to the upper point of a bluff on Lard. Sd.   2
N. 38 W. to a point on the Lard. shore oppot. a bluff   3
S. 30 W. to the upper part of a timbered bottom on the Lard. side.    a
large sand bar making out from the Stard side 1 ½ miles wide

N. 52 W. to a red knob in a bend to the Stad side near the upper part
of a timbered bottom

S. 70 W. to a point of timbered land on the Stard. Sid.   6
W. on the Stard. point   1

Set out verry early    I walked on Shore, Saw fresh bear tracks, one deer & 2 beaver killed this morning    in the after part of the day killed two gees; Saw great numbers of Gees Brant & Mallard Some White Cranes Swan & guls, [5] the plains begin to have a green appearance, the hills on either side are from 5 to 7 miles asunder and in maney places have been burnt, appearing at a distance of a redish brown choler, containing Pumic Stone & lava, Some of which rolin down to the base of those hills—    In maney of those hills forming bluffs to the river we procieve Several Stratums of bituminious Substance which resembles Coal; [6] thoug Some of the pieces appear to be excellent Coal it resists the fire for Some[time], and consumes without emiting much flaim.

The plains are high and rich    Some of them are Sandy Containing Small pebble, and on Some of the hill Sides large Stones are to be Seen— [7]    In the evening late we observed a party of Me ne tar ras on the L. S. with horses and dogs loaded going down, those are a part of the Menetarras who camped a little above this with the Ossinniboins at the mouth of the little Missouri all the latter part of the winter    we Camped on the S. S. below a falling in bank.    the river raise a little.

Course distance &c the 11th
S. 85° W.   2 miles to the upper part of a Bluff in a bend to the Larboard
N. 38° W.   3 miles to a point on the L. S. opsd. a bluff
S. 30° W.   2 miles to the upper part of a timbered bottom on the L. S.    a
large Sand bar makeing out from the S. S. 1 ½ miles
N 52° W.   5 miles to a red knob in a bend to the S. S. near the upper part
of wood bottom.
S. 70° W.   6 miles to a timbered point on the S. S.
West   1 mile on the S. point.

Thursday 11th April 1805. Clear and pleasant.    we Set off at light.    one of the party caught a beaver in a trap which he Set last night.    the frenchmen killed a Goos & caught one beaver.    proceeded on.    one of the party went on Shore in the bottom. N. S.    came to the crafts at breakfast.    had killed & brought in a deer    we passed bare barron hills on S. S. & a bottom covered with timber on the N. S.    one of the party killed 2 Geese.    we halted and dined about 2 oClock at a bottom on N. S.    we had a Gentle breeze from the South So that the large perogues Sailed verry well.    the day verry warm. Some of the men worked naked.    only a breech cloth.    the River being low we have to waid at Some places.    proceeded on verry well    about Sunset we Saw a nomber of Indians on S. S.    they had Some horses.    we Supposed them to be Grossvantares who had been up the River to Some other nation after corn.    we camped on handsome bottom covered with Strait tall cottonwood timber N. S.    came this day 21 Miles.


Thursday 11th.    We got under way early, had a fine clear pleasant day, and went on very well. We saw some Indians on the South side, but did not speak with them. We came about twenty-one miles and encamped on the North side.


Thursday April 11th    We set off at day light, this morning, the weather being Cool, about 10 oClock A. M, We passed another party of Gross Vaunters or Big belly Indians a hunting also, on the South side of the River, we proceeded on, and Encamped in the Evening on the North side of the River having rowed 20 Miles this day.—

1. These salts are an admixture of sodium sulphate, sodium bicarbonate, and magnesium sulphate. Sodium chloride is not especially common. Ground water dissolves the salts from the formations through which it passes. Evaporation of this water where it is discharged produces salt crystals and salt crusts. Someone drew vertical lines through this passage and the next about cranes, apparently in red. (back)
2. The whooping crane, Grus americana [AOU, 204], now an endangered species. Cutright (LCPN), 129. (back)
3. In McLean County, North Dakota, a few miles below the mouth of the Little Missouri River. The entire area is now inundated by Garrison Reservoir. Mattison (GR), 39–40; Atlas maps 33, 46, 55; MRC map 54. (back)
4. Also given on Atlas map 33, in Clark's hand. (back)
5. The mallard is Anas platyrhynchos [AOU, 132], while the gulls could be any of a number of species of Larus. (back)
6. Some of the shale beds of the Sentinel Butte Formation contain much organic material and appear black. Inorganic material dominates so that the carbonaceous shale either burns poorly or not at all. (back)
7. Glacial till overlies bedrock on the plains here. It generally contains more clay than sand, but sand is locally abundant. The large stones are glacial erratics. (back)