The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, June 4, 1805

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Lewis, June 4, 1805

Tuesday June 4th 1805

This morning early Capt. C. departed, and at the same time I passed the wright hand fork opposite to our camp below a small Island; from hence I steered N. 30 W. 41/2 to a commanding eminence; here I took the following bearings of the mountains which were in view. The North Mountains appear to change their direction from that of being parallel with the Missouri turning to the North and terminating abruptly; their termineation bearing N. 48° E distant by estimate 30 mes. The South Mountains appear to turn to the S. also terminating abrubtly, their extremity bearing S. 8 W. distant 25 mes. The Barn Mountain, a lofty mountain so called from it's resemblance to the roof of a large Barn, is a seperate Mountain and appears reather to the wright of and retreating from the extremity of the S. mts.; this boar S. 38 W. distant 35 ms. The North fork which I am now ascending lies to my left and appears to make a considerable bend to the N. W. on it's Western border a range of hills about 10 mes. long appear to lye parallel with the river and from hence bear N. 60° W. to the N. of this range of hills an Elivated point of the river bluff on it's Lard. side boar N. 72° W. distant 12 mes. to this last object I now directed my course through a high level dry open plain. the whole country in fact appears to be one continued plain to the foot of the mountains or as far as the eye can reach; the soil appears dark rich and fertile yet the grass is by no means as high nor dose it look so luxurient as I should have expected, it is short just sufficient to conceal the ground. great abundance of prickly pears which are extreemly troublesome; as the thorns very readily perce the foot through the Mockerson; they are so numerous that it requires one half of the traveler's attention to avoid them In these plains I observed great numbers of the brown Curloos, a small species of curloo or plover of a brown colour about the size of the common snipe and not unlike it in form with a long celindric curved and pointed beak; it's wings are proportionately long and the tail short; in the act of liteing this bird lets itself down by an extention of it's wings without motion holding their points very much together above it's back, in this rispect differing ascentially from any bird I ever observed. a number of sparrows also of three distinct species I observed. also a small bird which in action resembles the lark, it is about the size of a large sparrow of a dark brown colour with some white fathers in the tail; this bird or that which I take to be the male rises into the air about 60 feet and supporting itself in the air with a brisk motion of the wings sings very sweetly, has several shrill soft notes reather of the plaintive order which it frequently repeats and varies, after remaining stationary about a minute in his aireal station he descends obliquely occasionly pausing and accomnying his decension with a note something like twit twit twit; on the ground he is silent. thirty or forty of these birds will be stationed in the air at a time in view, these larks as I shall call them add much to the gayety and cheerfullness of the scene. All those birds are now seting and laying their eggs in the plains; their little nests are to be seen in great abundance as we pass. there are meriads of small grasshoppers in these plains which no doubt furnish the principal aliment of this numerous progeny of the feathered creation. after walking about eight miles I grew thisty and there being no water in the plains I changed my direction and boar obliquely in towards the river, on my arrival at which about 3 mes. below the point of observation, we discovered two deer at feed at some distance near the river; I here halted the party and sent Drewyer to kill one of them for breakfast; this excellent hunter soon exceded his orders by killing of them both; they proved to be two Mule Bucks in fine order; we soon kindled a fire cooked and made a hearty meal. it was not yet twelve when we arrived at the river and I was anxious to take the Meridian Altd. of the sun but the clouds prevent ed my obtaining the observation. after refreshing ourselves we proceded up the river to the extremity of the first course, from whence the river boar on it's general course N. 15° W. 2 M. to a bluff point on Stard. here Drewyer killed four other deer of the common kind; we skined them and hung up a part of the meat and the skins as we did also of the first, and took as much of the meat as we thought would answer for our suppers and proceeded N. 30 W. 2 m. to the entrance of a large creek on Lard. side the part of the river we have passed is from 40 to 60 yds. wide, is deep, has falling banks, the courant strong, the water terbid and in short has every appearance of the missouri below except as to size. it's bottoms narrow but well timbered. Salts coal and other mineral appearances as usual; the bluffs principally of dark brown, yellow and some white clay; some freestone also appears in places. The river now boar N. 20° E. 12 mes. to a bluff on Lard. At the commencement of this course we ascended the hills which are about 200 feet high, and passed through the plains about 3 m. but finding the dry ravines so steep and numerous we determined to return to the river and travel through it's bottoms and along the foot and sides of the bluffs, accordingly we again reached the river about 4 miles from the commencement of the last course and encamped a small distant above on the Stard. side in a bend among the willow bushes which defended us from the wind which blew hard from the N. W. it rained this evening and wet us to the skin; the air was extremely could. just before we encamped Drewyer fired at a large brown bar across the river and wounded him badly but it was too late to pursue him. killed a braro and a beaver, also at the place of our encampment, a very fine Mule deer. we saw a great number of Buffaloe, Elk, wolves and foxes today. the river bottoms form one emence garden of roses, now in full bloe.