June 25, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

June 25, 1805


This morning early I sent the party back to the lower camp; dispatched Frazier down with the canoe for Drewyer and the meat he had collected, and Joseph Fields up the Missouri to hunt Elk.    at eight OClk. sent Gass and Sheilds over to the large Island for bark and timber.    about noon Fields returned and informed me that he had seen two white bear near the river a few miles above and in attempting to get a shoot them had stumbled uppon a third which immediately made at him being only a few steps distant; that in runing in order to escape from the bear he had leaped down a steep bank of the river on a stony bar where he fell cut his hand bruised his knees and bent his gun.    that fortunately for him the bank hid him from the bear when he fell and that by that means he had escaped.    this man has been truly unfortunate with these bear, this is the second time that he has narrowly escaped from them.    about 2 P. M Shields and Gass returned with but a small quantity of both bark and timber and informed me that it was all they could find on the Island; they had killed two Elk the skins of which and a part of the flesh they brought with them.    in the evening Drewyer and Frazier arrivd with about 800 Ibs. of excellent dryed meat and about 100 Ibs of tallow. The river is about 800 yds. wide opposite to us above these islands, and has a very gentle current    the bottoms are hadsome [NB: Qu] level and extensive on both sides; the bank on this side is not more than 2 feet above the level of the water; it is a pretty little grove in which our camp is situated.    there is a species of wild rye [1] which is now heading it rises to the hight of 18 or 20 inches, the beard is remarkably fine and soft    it is a very handsome grass    the culm is jointed and is in every rispect the wild rye in minuture.    great quantities of mint also are here [2]    it resemble the pepper mint very much in taste and appearance.    the young blackbirds which are almost innumerable in these islands just begin to fly.    see a number of water tarripens. [3] I have made an unsuccessfull attempt to catch fish, and do not think there are any in this part of the river. The party that returned this evening to the lower camp reached it in time to take one canoe on the plain and prepare their baggage for an early start in the morning after which such as were able to shake a foot amused themselves in dancing on the green to the music of the violin which Cruzatte plays extreemly well.

Capt. C. somewhat unwell today.    he made Charbono kook for the party against their return.    it is worthy of remark that the winds are sometimes so strong in these plains that the men informed me that they hoisted a sail in the canoe and it had driven her along on the truck wheels.    this is really sailing on dry land.


a fair worm morning, Clouded & a few drops of rain at 5 oClock A. M. fair    I feel my Self a little unwell with a looseness &c. &c.    put out the Stores to dry & Set Chabonah &c to Cook for the party against their return—he being the only man left on this Side with me    I had a little Coffee for brackfast which was to me a riarity as I had not tasted any Since last winter. The wind from the N. W. & worm. This Countrey has a romantick appearance river inclosed between high and Steep hills Cut to pieces by revines but little timber and that Confined to the Rivers & Creek, the Missourie has but a fiew Scattering trees on its borders, and only one Solitary Cotton tree in sight of my Camp    the wood which we burn is drift wood which is broken to pieces in passing the falls, not one large tree longer than about 8 or 10 feet to be found drifted below the falls    the plains are inferior in point of Soil to those below, more Stone on the sides of the hill, grass but a few inches high and but few flowers in the Plains, great quantites of Choke Cheries, Goose burres, red & yellow berries, & red & Purple Currents on the edges of water Courses in bottoms & damp places, about my Camp the Cliffs or bluffs are a hard red or redish brown earth Containing Iron. [4]    we Catch great quantities of Trout, and a kind of mustel, flat backs [5] & a Soft fish resembling a Shad and a few Cat.    at 5 oClock the party returned, fatigued as usial, and proceeded to mend their mockersons &c. and G Shannon & R, Fds. to of the men who ware Sent up the medison river to hunt Elk, they killed no Elk, Several Buffalow & Deer, and reports that the river is 120 yds wide and about 8 feet deep Some timber on its borders—    a powerfull rain fell on the party on their rout yesterday Wet Some fiew articles, and Caused the rout to be So bad wet & Deep thay Could with dificuelty proceed, Capt. Lewis & the men with him much employd with the Iron Boat in fitting it for the water, dispatched one man to George Drewyers Camp below medison river for meat &c.    a fair after noon—    great numbers of buffalow water opposit to my Camp everry day—    it may be here worthy of remark that the Sales were hoised in the Canoes as the men were drawing them and the wind was great relief to them being Sufficently Strong to move the Canoes on the Trucks, this is Saleing on Dry land in every Sence of the word, Serjeant N Pryor Sick, the party amused themselves with danceing untill 10 oClock all Chearfullness and good humer, they all tied up their loads to make an early Start in the morning.


Tuesday 25th June 1805.    a cloudy morning.    we Set out with the 2 truck waggons and returned back to the lower Camp for another load.    took 2 canoes up the hill on the high plains    the day proved pleasant and warm the men much fatigued.    we Saw large gangs of buffalow and antelopes to day.    we got our loads ready for a Start in the morning.    below the falls the plains are inferior in point of Soil to those below, more Stones on the Sides of the hills, grass but a fiew Inches long or high and but a fiew flowers in the plains. Great quanties of choke cherryes Goose berrys red & yallow berrys & red purple currents on the Edges of the water. we catch great quantitites of Trout and a kind of muttel [mussel] flat backs and a Soft fish resembling Shad. [6]    caught but fiew cat fish this Season. Sergt. Pryor Sick    the party amused themselves dancing untill 10 oClock    all in cheerfulness and good humour.    we tied up all the baggage ready for an eairly Steart in the morning—


Tuesday 25th.    A cloudy morning. The men went back for more canoes and baggage; and one [7] went down to the hunter's camp below Medicine river to bring him up in a canoe. Another [8] went up the river to look for elk. When he had gone about three miles, he was attacked by 3 brown bears, that were near devouring him; but he made his escape by running down a steep bank into the water. In this adventure he fell, injured his gun, and hurt one of his hands; therefore returned to camp. One of the men [9] and myself went over to an island to look for stuff for the canoe, but could find nothing but bark, which perhaps will answer. We killed two elk on the island. There is in the bottoms a great quantity of spear-mint and currant bushes. [10] Also multitudes of blackbirds. [11] The musquitoes [12] are very troublesome, though the snow is on the mountains so near. In the evening the two men [13] came up the river with a quantity of good meat and 100 pounds of tallow.


Tuesday 25th June 1805.    a cloudy morning.    we Set out with the 2 truck waggons, and returned back to the lower camp for another load.    took up 2 canoes on the high plains.    the day proved pleasant and warm    the party much fatigued halling the truck waggons & the baggage.    Saw large gangs of buffalow and antelopes to day.    the evening clear and pleasant    we got our loads ready to Start from this for the upper Camp.    mended our mockasons &c.    below the falls the plains are inferior in point of Soil to those below, more Stones on the Sides of the hills, Grass but a fiew inches high and but a fiew flowers in the plains.    Great quantities of choke cherries, goose berrys, red & yallow berrys & red and purple currents on the Edges of the water.    we catch great quantities of Trout, and a kind of mullet flat backs, & a Soft fish resembling a Shad, and fiew cat fish &c.    Sergt. pryor Sick.    the party all of us amused ourselves with dancing untill 10 oC.    all in cheerfulness and good humor.    we all harnised up our back loads of the baggage to make an eairly Steart in the morning.

Tuesday June 25th    We had a cloudy morning; we set out with the two truck waggons, and returned back to the lower camp, in order to bring on another load, the party hawled up two of our Crafts, to the high plains in our absence, the weather cleared up at about 10 o'Clock A. M; and the day proved warm, and pleasant, the party that had hawl'd the trucks Yesterday, were all very much fataigued yet, We saw large Gangs of Buffalo & Antelopes this day, This evening was pleasant, and we prepared our loading, ready to start for the upper Camp &ca.—    below the falls, the soil on the plains, are inferior to the plains below; and more stoney on the sides of the hills, the Grass on them but a few Inches high, and but few flowers.—    We found in those plains growing Choke cherries, Goose berries, red & Yellow berries, and red & purple Currants growing on the edges of the water, in great quantities, and we Catched in the River near the falls a great Quantity of Salmon trout, [blank] and a kind of fish which were soft, and resembling a Shad & a few Cat fish &ca.—    The party all amused themselves, & was very chearfull waiting till the morning, in Order to start off for the loads of baggage &ca.—

1. Hordeum jubatum L., foxtail barley, or possibly Sitanion hystrix (Nutt.) J. G. Smith, squirrel tail. Hahn, Hordeum and Sitanion maps. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this passage and those about the mint and turtle. (back)
2. Mentha arvensis L., field mint. Booth & Wright, 211. (back)
3. Probably Chrysemys picta, painted turtle. Benson (HLCE), 88. (back)
4. This is the lower Cretaceous Kootenai Formation. The reddish color comes from oxidized iron compounds. (back)
5. The mussels could be either Margaritanidae or Unionidae. Pennak, 704–10. Clark's mention of "flat backs" is unclear. Perhaps it is a regionalism for suckers (family Catostomidae). See August 16, 1804. (back)
6. The mussels could be from either the family Margaritanidae or Unionidae. "Flat backs" are unknown, but perhaps suckers, of the family Catostomidae. Much of this entry is from Clark and many of the sergeant's entries during the portage period are taken from the captains' journals. (back)
7. Frazer, to pick up Drouillard. (back)
10. Gass's spearmint is probably field mint, Mentha arvensis L., while the currants could be any of a number of species. (back)
11. Perhaps rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus, or Brewer's blackbird, E. cyanocephalus. The party also apparently called the common grackle, Quisculus quiscula, a blackbird. (back)
12. Probably Aedes vexans. (back)