September 19, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

September 19, 1805


Set out this morning a little after sun rise and continued our rout about the same course of yesterday or S. 20 W. for 6 miles when the ridge terminated and we to our inexpressable joy discovered a large tract of Prairie country lying to the S. W. and widening as it appeared to extend to the W. [1] through that plain the Indian informed us that the Columbia river, in which we were in surch run.    this plain appeared to be about 60 Miles distant, but our guide assured us that we should reach it's borders tomorrow    the appearance of this country, our only hope for subsistance greately revived the sperits of the party already reduced and much weakened for the want of food.    the country is thickly covered with a very heavy growth of pine of which I have ennumerated 8 distinct species. after leaving the ridge we asscended and decended several steep mountains in the distance of 6 miles further when we struck a Creek about 15 yards wide. [2]    our course being S. 35 W. we continued our rout 6 miles along the side of this creek upwards passing 2 of it's branches which flowed in from the N. 1st at the place we struck the creek and the other 3 miles further. [3]    the road was excessively dangerous along this creek being a narow rockey path generally on the side of steep precipice, from which in many places if ether man or horse were precipitated they would inevitably be dashed in pieces. Fraziers horse fell from this road in the evening, and roled with his load near a hundred yards into the Creek. we all expected that the horse was killed but to our astonishment when the load was taken off him he arose to his feet & appeared to be but little injured, in 20 minutes he proceeded with his load.    this was the most wonderfull escape I ever witnessed, the hill down which he roled was almost perpendicular and broken by large irregular and broken rocks. the course of this Creek upwards due W.    we encamped on the Stard. side of it in a little raviene, [4] having traveled 18 miles over a very bad road. we took a small quantity of portable soup, and retired to rest much fatiegued.    several of the men are unwell of the disentary.    brakings out, or irruptions of the Skin, have also been common with us for some time.

Cours Distance & 19th Septr. Tuesday
S 60 W nearly 〈30 22〉 12 [6] miles on a Direct Course & at doubl the distance
wind around falling timber to a branch running to the left & Camped
at 6 miles found a horse on the head of the Creek in Some glades, he
was not fat    the me[n] beg leave to kill him which I granted, after
they filled themselves, I had the ballance hung up for Capt Lewis and
proceeded on, in the time the one half of the party was skining Cook-
ing &c. the others were hunting, without seeing a track of any ani-
mal. The road up this Creek is much wors than any other part as
the hills Sides are Steep and at maney places obliged for Several yds.
to pass on the Sides of rocks where one false Step of a horse would
be certan. destruction. Crossed over a mountain and the heads of a
branch of hungary Creek over ridges and much falling timber, and a
2d high mountain of like description to a large Creek running west
for 4 miles then turned South. I keped down 4 miles & turned up to
the right over a mountain which was bad as usial to a branch which
runs to the left and Camped. The road to day wors than usial owing
to the falling timber &c.    we killed 2 phsts. but few birds.    the Blue
jay & Small white headed Hawk Some Crows & ravins.

Set out early proceeded on up the [EC: Hungry] Creek passing through a Small glade at 6 miles at which place we found a horse. I derected him killed and hung up for the party after takeing a brackfast off for our Selves which we thought fine    after Brackfast proceed on up the Creek two miles & left it to our right passed over a mountain, and the heads of branch of hungary Creek, [7] two high mountains, ridges and through much falling timber (which caused our road of to day to be double the derect distance on the Course[)]    Struck a large Creek [8] passing to our left which I Kept down for 4 miles and left it to our left & passed 〈over a〉 [WC: down the] mountain bad falling timber to a Small Creek passing to our left and Encamped. [9] I killed 2 Pheasents, but fiew birds [WC: are to be Seen] Blue jay, Small white headed hawk, [10] Some Crows & ravins & large hawks.    road bad. [WC: as we decend the mountain the heat becomes more proseptable every mile]


Thursday 19th Sept 1805.    a clear norning.    we eat the verry last morcil of our provision except a little portable Soup, and proceeded on to the top of Sd. mountain [11] and as we were descending the Same we discovred a very large plain [12] a long distance a head, which we expect is on the Columbia River, which puts us in good Spirits again.    the Mount. bad this day.    we descended a Mount. about 4 miles down where it was verry Steep    came down on a creek [13] running abt. East.    we followed up the creek Some distance    the way very rockey and bad, then went along the side of a Mountain a little to the write of the creek.    high steep timbred mounts. on each side of Sd. creek.    one of our horses [14] fell backwards out of the trail and rolled down over the Steep rocks abt. 200 feet with 2 boxes of Ammunition and plunged in to the creek    with Some difficulty we got the horse up again and load    it hurt the horse but did not kill him.    we Came 17 miles this day and Camped [15] at a Small run in a thicket of pine and balsom timber &C—


Thursday 19th.    Our hunters did not join us last night, which was disagreeably cold. About 8 this morning we set out, and proceeded on in our way over the mountains; the sun shining warm and pleasant. We travelled a west course, and about 12 o'clock halted at a spring to take a little more soup. The snow is chiefly gone except on the north points of the high mountains. At 2 P. M. we again went on, and descended a steep mountain into a cove on our left hand, where there is a large creek, [16] which here runs towards the east. The hills on each side, along which the trail or path passes, are very steep. One of our horses fell down the precipice about 100 feet, and was not killed, nor much hurt: the reason was, that there is no bottom below, and the precipice, the only bank, which the creek has; therefore the horse pitched into the water, without meeting with any intervening object, which could materially injure him. We made 17 miles this day and encamped on a small branch of the creek. Having heard nothing from our hunters, we again supped upon some of our portable soup. The men are becoming lean and debilitated, on account of the scarcity and poor quality of the provisions on which we subsist: our horses' feet are also becoming very sore. We have, however, some hopes of getting soon out of this horrible mountainous desert, as we have discovered the appearance of a valley or level part of the country about 40 miles ahead. When this discovery was made there was as much joy and rejoicing among the corps, as happens among passengers at sea, who have experienced a dangerous and protracted voyage, when they first discover land on the long looked for coast.


Thursday 19th Sept. 1805.    a clear pleasant morning.    we Set out as usal and assended up to the top of Sd. mout. and discovered a plain in a valley about 20 miles from us where we expect is the Columbian River which puts us in good Spirits again.    we descended down the mountn. which was verry Steep descent, for about three miles.    then assended another as bad as any we have ever been up before.    it made the Sweat run off of our horses & ourselves.    on the top the ground was froze a little and the ground mostly covred with Snow.    the Spruce pine & bolsom timber continues on these motn. as usal.    Some places thick bushes.    we descd. the mot. down in a narrow valley where we found a run of water and halted to bate our horses and to drink a little portable Soup.    one of the men killed a fessent.    their is not any kind of game or Sign of any to be Seen in these mout.    Scarsely any birds itself.    we delayed about 2 hours and proceeded on    descended the mountain about 4 miles came to a creek running about East.    we followed up the creek.    a bad peace of the road, Some places along Side of the mountn. which is high & Steep on each Side of the creek.    one of our horses fell backward and roled about 100 feet down where it was nearly Steep and a Solid rock & dashed against the rock in the creek, with a load of Ammunition.    but the powder being in canisters did not git damaged nor the horse killed, but hurt.    we proceeded on.    Came about 17 miles this day and Camped at a run in Sd. mount., our course this day was generally west.    the timber continues as usal.    we Suped a little portable Soup.    the most of the party is weak and feeble Suffering with hunger.    our horses feet are gitting Sore and fall away in these mountains, but we are in hopes to git out of them Soon.

Thursday Septemr 19th    A clear pleasant morning, we set out early, & ascended the top of the Mountain on the side of which we lay last night, We discovered from the Top of this mountain; a plain which lay in a Valley, which we suppose to lay about 20 Miles from us, We expect this plain is where the Columbia River is, this revived the drooping spirits of our party.    We descended down this Mountain, which we found dangerous for about 3 Miles, We then ascended another Mountain; which was as bad to ascend as any Mountain we had yet seen, this was very fataigueing to ourselves & horses, the ground was covered with Snow & froze, The Pine & Spruce, balsam Fir timber on the Top of these Mountains, & in some places thick bushes.—    We descended this Mountain & came down into a narrow Valley, where we found a run of water.    We halted at that place to rest our horses & to eat some portable soup.    One of our Men here killed a Pheasant, There was no kind of Game to be seen in these Mountains, & scarcely any Birds.    We delayed about 2 hours—    & proceeded on, & descended a mountain about four Miles, and arrived at a Creek, whose course run east, we pursued our way up the Creek on a bad piece of Road, some places running along close under the Mountain; which is high & steep on both sides of the Creek, One of our horses fell backwards, & rolled about 100 feet down a steep solid Rock, and dashed against a Rock, in the Creek with his load; which was Ammunition; The Powder, being in leaden Cannisters, was not damaged, nor the horse killed, but much hurt.—    We proceeded on, and encamped at a run of Water in the said Mountain; In the evening, our party had a little portable Soup made to subsist on.    They all are very weak & feeble & suffer much for want of Provisions, Our horses feet are very much worn, & they have fallen away very much, since we came into the Mountains.

The Men still seem contented; & flatter themselves of soon getting out of the Mountains.    Our course during this day, has been chiefly a West course & we came about 17 Miles—

1. The same prairie country viewed by Clark's party on September 18, apparently seen from the same viewpoint, Sherman Peak, Idaho County, Idaho. The route for about September 18–20 is sketched in fig. 8. Space, 14; Atlas map 70. (back)
2. Hungery creek at the mouth of Doubt Creek. Space, 14; Atlas map 70. (back)
3. Doubt Creek and Bowl Creek. Space, 14; Peebles (LT), 9; Atlas map 70. (back)
4. On Hungery Creek, near the mouth of a small, nameless stream. Space, 14; Atlas map 70. (back)
5. Opposite this entry in the Elkskin-bound Journal is a sketch map (fig. 8) showing the party's route for about September 18–20, with campsites of those days noted. (back)
6. It is not clear whether Clark is choosing twelve or twenty-two miles. (back)
7. Fish Creek. Space, 14; Atlas map 70. (back)
8. Present Eldorado Creek. Space, 14; Peebles (LT), 7. (back)
9. Cedar Creek, near the present Lewis and Clark Grove. Space, 14; Peebles (LT), 7; Atlas map 71. (back)
10. Perhaps the black-shouldered kite, Elanus caeruleus [AOU, 328]. Holmgren, 31. (back)
12. Open prairies in Lewis and Idaho counties, northwest of Grangeville, including Camas and Nez Perce prairies. See Clark's entry of September 18. (back)
13. This is probably Hungery Creek, Idaho County. (back)
14. Frazer's horse, fortunately without Frazer. (back)
15. On Hungery Creek, Idaho County, near the mouth of a small, nameless stream. (back)
16. Hungery Creek, Idaho County, Idaho; the name was bestowed by Clark on September 18, "as at that place we had nothing to eate." (back)