September 3, 1805
65.25% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 3, 1805


A Cloudy morning, horses verry Stiff    Sent 2 men back with the horse on which Capt Lewis rode for the load left back last night which detained us untill 8 oClock at which time we Set out. The Country is timbered with Pine Generally the bottoms have a variety of Srubs & the fur trees in Great abundance.    hills high & rockey on each Side, in the after part of the day the high mountains closed the Creek on each Side and obliged us to take on the Steep Sides of those Mountains, So Steep that the horses Could Screcly keep from Slipping down, Several Sliped & Injured themselves verry much, with great dificuelty we made [blank] miles [NB: about 8 m. see Courses & Dist] [EC: courses and distances make 14 miles] & Encamped on a branh of the Creek we assended after Crossing Several Steep points & one mountain, [1] but little to eate I killed 5 Pheasants & The huntes 4 with a little Corn afforded us a kind of Supper, at dusk it began to Snow 〈& rain〉 at 3 oClock Some rain. The 〈last〉 mountains [NB: we had passed] 〈we had〉 to the East Covered with Snow.    we met with a great misfortune, in haveing our last Thmometer [2] broken by accident, This day we passed    over emence hils and Some of the worst roade that ever horses passed our horses frequently fell 〈Country a〉    Snow about 2 inches deep when it began to rain which termonated in a Sleet 〈killed Seven〉 our genl. Courses nearly North from the R


Tuesday 3rd Sept. 1805.    we Set out as usal, and proceeded on up the branch a Short distance further up the branch then took the mountain and went up and down rough rockey mountains all day. Some places So Steep and rockey that Some of the horses fell backwards and roled to the bottom.    [one] horse was near being killed.    crossed a nomber of fine Spring branches. Some places oblidged to cut a road for to git along thro thickets &C. Some of the balsom fir trees on the branches are about 100 and fifty feet high, and Strait.    〈towards〉    the most of them are covred with warts 〈of〉 filled with the balsom &C.    we dined at a branch    eat the last of our pork &.C. Some of the men threaten to kill a colt to eat they being hungry, but puts if off untill tomorrow noon hopeing the hunters will kill Some game.    towards evening we assended a mountain went Some distance on the top of it    then went down in to a cave near the head of a branch running nearly an opposite course from the branch we dined on at noon.    we Camped [3] in this cove. Several Small Showers of rain. So we lay down wet hungry and cold    came with much fatigue 11 miles this day.


Tuesday 3rd.    The morning of this day was cloudy and cool. Two men went back with a horse to bring on the load, which had been left behind last night; and we breakfasted on the last of our salmon and waited their return. Two hunters were sent on ahead, and on the return of the two men, who had been sent back, we pursued our journey up the creek, which still continued fatiguing almost beyond description. The country is very mountainous and thickly timbered; mostly with spruce pine. [4] Having gone nine miles we halted for dinner, which was composed of a small portion of flour we had along and the last of our pork, which was but a trifle:— Our hunters had not killed any thing. We staid here about two hours, during which time some rain fell, and the weather was extremely cold for the season. We then went on about 3 miles over a large mountain, to the head of another creek and encamped [5] there for the night. This was not the creek our guide wished to have come upon; and to add to our misfortunes we had a cold evening with rain.


Tuesday 3rd Sept. 1805.    Cloudy.    we Set out as usal after the load was brought up which was left last night.    we proceeded on up the branch a Short distance, then took the mountains and w[ent] up and down the mountains all day.    passed and crossed an a bundance of fine Springs and Spring runs.    Some of the mountains was So Steep and rockey that Several of the horses fell back among the rocks and was near killing them    Some places we had to cut the road through thickets of bolsom fer Some of that kind of timber in the vallies of these mountains is verry high about 100 & 60 feet, and verry Strait and handsom.    the most of them are covred with warts full of the bolsom    towards evening we crossed a dividing ridge went some distance on the top of it which was tollarable good and Smoth going.    then passed down a Steep hill in to the head of a cove and branch where we Camped after a dissagreeable days march of only 11 miles with much fatigue and hunger as nothing has been killed this day only 2 or 3 fessents, [6] and have no meat of any kind.    Set in to raining hard at dark So we lay down and Slept, wet hungry and cold.    Saw Snow on the tops of Some of these mountains this day.—

Tuesday September 3rd    We had a cloudy morning, & set out as usual, we brought the load up the hill on our backs, that was left there last night, and then we proceeded on up the Creek a short distance, and then took to the mountains, and went up & down them the whole of this day, and crossed abundance of fine Springs, & spring runs, some of the mountains that we crossed was so steep & Rockey, that several of the horses fell backwards among the rocks & was near being killed.—    We had to cut Roads, through thickets of balsam fir timber, for our horses to pass through.    We found some of that kind of timber in the Vallies which were very high many of them being 160 feet long & very strait & handsome, a number of them full of warts, & full of the balsam.—    towards evening, we crossed a dividing ridge, we went some distance on the top of it, which was tolerable smooth & good travelling, We then passed down a steep hill, at the head of a Cove and branch.—    We encamped at this place after a most diasgreeable days travel of only 11 Miles, being much fataigued & very hungry, our hunters having killed only 3 Pheasants this day,—    and we had no fresh meat with us.    At dark it began to Rain hard, We lay down to sleep being Wet, hungry & Cold, We saw Snow on the Top of these Mountains this day.—

1. The party's traverse of September 3 and the camp of that night is one of the most disputed areas of the trip through the mountains. Indeed, Majors (LCRM), 106 n. 73, calls the route "the single most obscure and enigmatic of the entire Lewis and Clark expedition." The controversy surrounds the party's trip relative to references to hills and streams and to the seeming errors in Clark's course and distance table (found here with his entry of September 2). Peebles (RW), 17, and fig. 13, plots the group as following the North Fork Salmon to the entrance of Moose Creek, then move northeasterly on the west side of that stream before crossing the state line into Montana west of Lost Trail Pass, then turn northwest along the state line, and finally camp at the head of Shields Creek, in Ravalli County, Montana, southwest of Saddle Mountain. Wolf and Robert N. Bergantino, Butte, Montana (personal communication), believe that the party followed the North Fork Salmon to the entrance of Coal Gulch (Wolf) or Moose Creek (Bergantino), and then moved northeasterly along Moose Creek. Wolf has the group on the east side of Moose Creek to the Continental Divide, then follow the divide along the Montana-Idaho border, go through Chief Joseph and Lost Trail passes, continue along the state line, then cross into Montana, and camp on Shields Creek. Bergantino has a similar course for the party but on the west side of Moose Creek to a little beyond the entrance of Little Moose Creek, then northerly to hit the ridge and state line about one-quarter mile west of Lost Trail Pass, and camp farther west on a southwesterly flowing tributary of North Fork Salmon River, in Lemhi County, Idaho, and almost due south of Saddle Mountain. Fred Crandall, Nevada City, California (personal communication), has the Corps follow the North Fork Salmon to the entrance of the West Fork, pass between the streams in a northwesterly direction, then turn due north before camping in Lemhi County, somewhat west of Bergantino's proposed site. Majors (LCRM), 69, 105–16, nn. 73–81, argues for a route considerably to the west of other researchers, based on the assumption that Clark's compass readings were off. He concludes that for Clark's fourth course of the day the captain meant "N. 18° W." instead of "N. 18° E." (Wolf also thinks that Clark made an error, but in his last course, which he says should probably read "N. 80° W" not "N. 40° W"). Majors would have the party pass between Twin and Vine creeks, follow a route to the west as they crossed over Hughes Point in Montana, and then camp at the head of Colter Creek in Montana, south of the Shields Creek camp of Wolf. Readers may want to consult the Salmon National Forest and Bitterroot National Forest maps, as well as USGS map Wisdom, Montana-Idaho, and Atlas map 68. (back)
2. Clark says the thermometer broke this day, but in the remarks section of the captains' weather diary the date is given as September 6. Moreover, the men record temperatures in the weather table for September 4 and 5. (back)
3. The route and campsite for this day are very difficult to determine. The party apparently crossed the Continental Divide near Lost Trail Pass and reentered Montana, then camped in Ravalli County. See Clark's entry of this day. (back)
4. Clark uses this same term for Engelmann spruce. (back)
5. The party's route and camp this day are particularly "obscure and enigmatic"; see Clark's entry. Those who have studied the matter disagree whether the camp was in Lemhi County, Idaho, or in Ravalli County, Montana, to say nothing of the exact location. Most likely they crossed the Continental Divide near Lost Trail Pass and entered Montana. (back)
6. Probably some species of grouse; see Lewis's entry of September 20. (back)