August 4, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 4, 1806


Set out at 4 A. M. this morning.    permited Willard and Sergt. Ordway to exchange with the Feildses and take their small canoe to hunt today.    at ½ after eleven O'Ck. passed the entrance of big dry river; [1] found the water in this river about 60 yds. wide tho' shallow.    it runs with a boald even currant.    at 3 P. M. we arrived at the entrance of Milk river [2] where we halted a few minutes.    this stream is full at present and it's water is much the colour of that of the Missouri; it affords as much water at present as Maria's river and I have no doubt extends itself to a considerable distance North.    during our halt we killed a very large rattlesnake of the speceis common to our country. [3]    it had 176 scuta on the abdomen and 25 on the tail, it's length 5 feet.    the scutae on the tail fully formed.    after passing this river we saw several large herds of buffaloe and Elk    we killed one of each of these animals and took as much of the flesh as we wished.    we encamped this evening two miles below the gulph on the N. E. side of the river. [4] Tonight for the first time this season I heard the small whippoorwill or goatsucker of the Missouri cry. [5] Colter and Collins have not yet overtaken us. Ordway and Willard delayed so much time in hunting today that they did not overtake us untill about midnight.    they killed one bear and 2 deer.    in passing a bend just below the gulph it being dark they were drawn by the currant in among a parsel of sawyers, [6] under one of which the canoe was driven and throwed Willard who was steering overboard; he caught the sawyer and held by it; Ordway with the canoe drifted down about half a mile among the sawyers under a falling bank, the canoe struck frequently but did not overset; he at length gained the shore and returned by land to learn the fate of Willard whom he found was yet on the sawyer; it was impossible for him to take the canoe to his relief    Willard at length tied a couple of sticks together which had lodged against the sawyer on which he was and set himself a drift among the sawyers which he fortunately escaped and was taken up about a mile below by Ordway with the canoe; they sustained no loss on this occasion.    it was fortunate for Willard that he could swim tolerably well.—


Musquetors excessively troublesom So much So that the men complained that they could not work at their Skins for those troublesom insects.    and I find it entirely impossible to hunt in the bottoms, those insects being So noumerous and tormenting as to render it imposseable for a man to continue in the timbered lands and our best retreat from those insects is on the Sand bars in the river and even those Situations are only clear of them when the Wind Should happen to blow which it did to day for a fiew hours in the middle of the day.    the evening nights and mornings they are almost indureable perticelarly by the party with me who have no Bears to keep them off at night, and nothing to Screen them but their blankets which are worn and have maney holes. The torments of those Missquetors and the want of a Sufficety of Buffalow meat to dry, those animals not to be found in this neighbourhood induce me to deturmine to proceed on to a more eliagiable Spot on the Missouri below at which place the Musquetors will be less troublesom and Buffalow more plenty. [(]I will here obseve that Elk is Abundant but their flesh & fat is hard to dry in the Sun, and when dry is much easir〈ly〉 Spoiled than either the Buffalow or Deer)    I ordered the Canoes to be reloaded with our baggage & dryed meat which had been Saved on the Rochejhone together with the Elk killed at this place.    wrote a note to Capt Lewis informing him of my intentions and tied it to a pole which I had Stuck up in the point. At 5 P. M Set out and proceeded on down to the 2d point which appeared to be an eligable Situation for my purpose    killed a porcupine [7] on this point the Musquetors were So abundant that we were tormented much worst than at the point. The Child of Shabono has been So much bitten by the Musquetor that his face is much puffed up & Swelled. I encamped on this extensive Sand bar which is on the N W. Side. [8]


Monday 4th August 1806.    two of the hunters Colter and Collins did not join us last night. I and Willard went on eairly with a Small canoe to hunt    we procd. on Some distance and hunted in Some of the bottoms and killed a deer and procd. on    towards evening we killed a large white or grizzly bear nearly of a Silver Grey.    we then procd. on in the evening by moon light as the party was a head    about 11 oClock at night we found ourselves in a thick place of Sawyers as the corrent drawed us in and we had no chance to git out of them So we run about half way through and the Stern run under a limb of a tree and caught Willard who was in the Stern and drew him out as the current was verry rapid.    he held by the limb    I being in the bow of the canoe took my oar and halled the bow first one way and the other So as to clear the Sawyers and run through Safe and paddled the canoe to Shore and ran up the Shore opposite Willard & he called to me if everry thing was Safe    I told him yes but he could not hear me as the water roared past the Sawyers.    he told me he had made a little raft of 2 Small Sticks he caught floating and tyed them together, and tyed his cloathes on them and would Swim down through this difficult place and I run down and took out the canoe and took him in as he Swam through Safe    we procd. a Short distance farther and came to the Camp [9] of the party.    they had killed a rattle Snake [10] and an Elk to day but the two hunters Colter & Colling has not joined us yet.—


Monday 4th.    This was another pleasant day and we proceeded on early. One of the small canoes with two hunters [11] did not come up last night. We left another small canoe with some hunters behind [12] and proceeded on. We went very rapidly, and in our way killed a buffaloe, an elk and some deer. At five o'clock we passed the mouth of Milk river, which was very high and the current strong. Having proceeded 88 miles we encamped for the night.

1. Present Big Dry Creek, in Garfield County, Montana. Atlas map 37; MRC map 65. (back)
2. On Milk River, meeting the Missouri in Valley County, Montana, see May 8, 1805. Atlas map 37; MRC map 65. (back)
3. Perhaps the prarie rattlesnake, Crotalus viridus viridus. Benson (HLCE), 90. (back)
4. The camp was in Valley or McCone County, Montana, some two miles above the camp of May 7, 1805. Atlas map 37; MRC map 64. (back)
5. Common poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii [AOU, 418]. Holmgren, 34; Burroghs, 236. (back)
6. A submerged tree with a portion sticking out of the water and cutting the river in a sawing fashion, thus a navigational hazard. (back)
7. Yellow-haired porcupine, Erethizon dorstatum epixanthum. Burroughs, 119–20. (back)
8. Clark's campsites from his leaving the Yellowstone-Missouri junction on August 4, 1806, until his reunion with Lewis on August 12 are difficult to locate because of the lack of information in his journal and on his maps. The August 4 camp was in the "2d point" below the Yellowstone, a somewhat ambiguous reference since the points are formed by the river bends, and the river has shifted over the years. This may be the camp Lewis passed on August 7, which he judged to be seven miles below the mouth of the Yellowstone. This would be in McKenzie or Williams County, North Dakota, perhaps in the vicinity of the party's camp of April 25, 1805. Atlas map 35; MRC map 59. (back)
9. In Valley or McCone County, Montana, about two miles above the camp of May 7, 1805. (back)
10. Perhaps the prairie rattlesnake. (back)
11. Colter and Collins, as Lewis and Ordway both note. (back)
12. Ordway and Willard, who had some mishaps Gass does not narrate; see Ordway's account. (back)