August 12, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 12, 1805


This morning I sent Drewyer out as soon as it was light, to try and discover what rout the Indians had taken.    he followed the track of the horse we had pursued yesterday to the mountain wher it had ascended, and returned to me in about an hour and a half. I now determined to pursue the base of the mountains which form this cove to the S. W. in the expectation of finding some Indian road which lead over the Mountains, accordingly I sent Drewyer to my right and Shields to my left with orders to look out for a road or the fresh tracks of horses either of which we should first meet with I had determined to pursue.    at the distance of about 4 miles we passed 4 small rivulets [1] near each other on which we saw som resent bowers or small conic lodges formed with willow brush.    near them the indians had geathered a number of roots from the manner in which they had toarn up the ground; but I could not discover the root which they seemed to be in surch of. [2] I [saw] several large hawks that were nearly black. [3]    near this place we fell in with a large and plain Indian road which came into the cove from the N. E. and led along the foot of the mountains to the S. W. oliquely approaching the main stream which we had left yesterday.    this road we now pursued to the S. W. at 5 miles    it passed a stout stream [4] which is a principal fork of the man stream and falls into it just above the narrow pass between the two clifts before mentioned and which we now saw below us.    here we halted and breakfasted on the last of our venison, having yet a small peice of pork in reseve.    after eating we continued our rout through the low bottom of the main stream along the foot of the mountains on our right    the valley for 5 mes. further in a S. W. direction was from 2 to 3 miles wide the main stream [5] now after discarding two stream on the left in this valley turns abruptly to the West through a narrow bottom betwen the mountains. the road was still plain, I therefore did not dispair of shortly finding a passage over the mountains and of taisting the waters of the great Columbia this evening.    we saw an animal which we took to be of the fox kind as large or reather larger than the small wolf of the plains. [6]    it's colours were a curious mixture of black, redis-brown and yellow. Drewyer shot at him about 130 yards and knocked him dow bet he recovered and got out of our reach.    it is certainly a different animal from any that we have yet seen.    we also saw several of the heath cock [7] with a long pointed tail and an uniform dark brown colour but could not kill one of them.    they are much larger than the common dunghill fowls, and in their [h]abits and manner of flying resemble the growse or prarie hen.    at the distance of 4 miles further the road took us to the most distant fountain of the waters of the mighty Missouri in surch of which we have spent so many toilsome days and wristless nights.    thus far I had accomplished one of those great objects on which my mind has been unalterably fixed for many years, judge then of the pleasure I felt in allying my thirst with this pure and ice cold water which issues from the base of a low mountain or hill of a gentle ascent for ½ a mile.    the mountains are high on either hand leave this gap at the head of this rivulet through which the road passes. [8] here I halted a few minutes and rested myself.    two miles below McNeal had exultingly stood with a foot on each side of this little rivulet and thanked his god that he had lived to bestride the mighty & heretofore deemed endless Missouri.    after refreshing ourselves we proceeded on to the top of the dividing ridge from which I discovered immence ranges of high mountains still to the West of us with their tops partially covered with snow. I now decended the mountain about ¾ of a mile which I found much steeper than on the opposite side, to a handsome bold running Creek of cold Clear water.    here I first tasted the water of the great Columbia river. [9]    after a short halt of a few minutes we continued our march along the Indian road which lead us over steep hills and deep hollows to a spring on the side of a mountain where we found a sufficient quantity of dry willow brush for fuel, here we encamped for the night having traveled about 20 Miles.    as we had killed nothing during the day we now boiled and eat the remainder of our pork, having yet a little flour and parched meal.    at the creek [10] on this side of the mountain I observed a species of deep perple currant [11] lower in its growth, the stem more branched and leaf doubly as large as that of the Missouri.    the leaf is covered on it's under disk with a hairy pubersence.    the fruit is of the ordinary size and shape of the currant and is supported in the usual manner, but is ascid & very inferior in point of flavor.—

this morning Capt. Clark set out early.    found the river shoally, rapid shallow, and extreemly difficult.    the men in the water almost all day. they are geting weak soar and much fortiegued; they complained of the fortiegue to which the navigation subjected them and wished to go by land    Capt. C. engouraged them and passifyed them.    one of the canoes was very near overseting in a rapid today.    they proceeded but slowly.    at noon they had a thunderstorm which continued about half an hour.    their hunters killed 3 deer and a fawn.    they encamped in a smoth plain near a few cottonwood trees on the Lard. side.— [12]

Courses and distances traveled by Capt. Clark.
August 12th 1805.
S. 8° W. 2 to the upper point of a large Island, distance by water 5½ M.
passing many Bayous, 3 Islands and 9 bends on the Stard. side.
the main channel on Stard. side
S. 10° W. 2 to a Stard. bend distant by water 6½ passing 4 small and 2 large
Islands, several bayous and a number of short bends and a run
of water on the Stard. side.—
Miles 4  

We Set out early (Wind N E)    proceeded on    passed Several large Islands and three Small ones, the river much more Sholey than below which obliges us to haul the Canoes over those Sholes which Suckceed each other at Short intervales    emencely laborious    men much fatigued and weakened by being continualy in the water drawing the Canoes over the Sholes    encamped on the Lard Side    men complain verry much of the emence labour they are obliged to undergo & wish much to leave the river.    I passify them.    the weather Cool, and nothing to eate but venison, the hunters killed three Deer to day


Monday 12th August, 1805.    a clear morning.    3 hunters out hunting.    we Set out as usal and proceeded on.    the current verry rapid    the River verry crooked. Some of these rapids is deep and dangerous to pass up    one of the large canoes was near turning over.    we passed low Swampy land    a little timber along the Shore.    about 2 oClock we halted to dine.    we had a hard Thunder Shower    rained some time.    we then proceeded on    found pleanty of red and yallow currents along the Shores.    took on board a goat or antelope which one of the hunters killed yesterday.    in the evening the hunters joined us    had killed 3 deer & a faun.    we Came [blank] miles and Camped at a grove of cotten trees & Smooth prarie on the Lard. Side.—


Monday 12th.    We proceeded on at the usual time, and three hunters were again sent out. A few drops of rain fell to day. Our hunters killed 4 deer; and after making 12 miles we encamped on the North side.


Monday 12th August 1805.    a clear morning 3 hunters out on Shore a hunting.    we proceeded on    the current verry rapid.    passed low Swampy bottoms.    about 2 oClock P. m. a hard Thunder Shower arose rained a Short time.    we then proceeded on the current more rapid    one of the large canoes was near turning over.    towards evening the hunters all came in had killed 3 deer and Seen Deer & a goat or antelope.    Some timber along the Shore.    We came [blank] miles and Camped at a Smooth prarie & grove of timber

Monday August 12th    We had a clear morning, three of our hunters were still out, a hunting; We proceeded on our way, & found the current of the River running very rapid, we passed some swampy bottoms, lying on both sides of the River.    About 2 o'Clock P. M. we had a hard shower of Rain, accompanied with thunder; We continued on, the current of the River running still more rapid; and had nearly overset one of our largest Canoes, towards evening, the hunters came in, and had killed 3 Deer, 1 fawn, & an Antelope, We halted, and took them on board our Canoes; & proceeded on, and passed some Smooth priaries, & Groves of timber lying on both sides of the River; & encamped at a smooth priari, with a Grove of timber on it, We came 14 Miles this day.—

1. Among them perhaps Painter, Coyote, and Grimes creeks. (back)
2. Perhaps camas, Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene, or one of several other species of the same genus, a staple food of the mountain tribes. See entries for September 20, 1805, and June 11, 1806. Cutright (LCPN), 209; Hitchcock et al., 1:780–82. (back)
3. Perhaps the melanistic color phase of one of various species of hawks, such as the red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis [AOU, 337], or Swainson's hawk, B. swainsoni [AOU, 342]. Coues (HLC), 2:486 n. 11. See also Holmgren, 30. (back)
4. Probably Bloody Dick Creek. Peebles (RW), 4. (back)
5. Lewis was now going up Trail Creek toward Lemhi Pass, the Continental Divide, and the Montana-Idaho border. (back)
6. Possibly a wolverine, Gulo luscus. See above, June 14, 1805. Burroughs, 82–83. It was probably Biddle who drew a red vertical line through this passage. (back)
7. Sage grouse, Centrocercus urophasianus [AOU, 8]. Lewis compares it to the barnyard chicken and the sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus [AOU, 308]. Again perhaps it was Biddle who drew the red vertical line through this material. (back)
8. Lewis and his party were the first U.S. citizens to cross the Continental Divide; they went through Lemhi Pass from Beaverhead County, Montana, to Lemhi County, Idaho, leaving the Louisiana Purchase territory. The area still retains its wilderness character. Applemen (LC), 273–75; Atlas map 67. (back)
9. Horseshoe Bend Creek flowing into the Lemhi River, in Lemhi County. By way of the Salmon and Snake rivers its waters do reach the Columbia. The Lemhi is "East Fork of Lewis R" on Atlas map 67; the word Lewis appears to be a substitution on the map. Peebles (RW), 5. (back)
10. Possibly Agency Creek, Lemhi County. Atlas map 67. (back)
11. Hudson gooseberry, Ribes hudsonianum Rich. Booth & Wright, 107; Hitchcock et al., 3:73–74. Again it was probably Biddle who drew the red vertical line through this material. (back)
12. Although both captains place this camp on the larboard side, as does Ordway, on Atlas map 66 it appears on the starboard side. It was a few miles below the mouth of Blacktail Deer (McNeal's) Creek, north of Dillon, in Beaverhead County, a few miles downstream from the point where Interstate Highway 15 crosses the Beaverhead. (back)