The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, June 17, 1805

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Clark, June 17, 1805

June 17th Monday 1805

a fine morning wind as usial Capt. Lewis with the party unloaded the Perogue & he determined to keep the party employed in getting the loading to the Creek about 1 mile over a low hill in my absence on the Portage.

I Set out with 5 men at 8 oClock, and proceeded on up the Creek Some distance to examine that & if possable assend that Suffcently high, that a Streight Cours to the mouth of Medison river would head the 2 reveins, the Creek I found Confined rapid and Shallow generalley

Monday 17th of June passed through an open roleing Prarie, So as to head the two reveins after heading two we Stand our Course So as to Strike the river below the great pitch on our Course to the river Crossed a Deep rivein near its mouth with Steep Clifts this rivein had running water which was very fine, the river at this place is narrow & Confined in perpindicular clifts of 170 feet from the tops of those Clifts the Countrey rises with a Steep assent for about 250 feet more we proceeded up the river passing a Sucession of rapids & Cascades to the Falls, which we had herd for Several miles makeing a dedly Sound, I beheld those Cateracts with astonishment the whole of the water of this great river Confined in a Channel of 280 yards and pitching over a rock of 97 feet 3/4 of an, from the foot of the falls arrises a Continued mist which is extended for 150 yds. down & to near the top of the Clifts on L Sd. the river below is Confined a narrow Chanl. Of 93 yards haveing a Small bottom of timber on the Stard Side which is definded by a rock, rangeing Cross wise the river a little below the Shoot, a Short distance below this Cataract a large rock divides the Stream, I in assendending the Clifts to take the hith of the fall was near Slipping into the water, at which place I must have been Sucked under in an instant, and with deficuelty and great risque I assended again, and decended the Clift lower down (but few places Can be descended to the river) and took the hight with as much accuricy as possible with a Spirit Leavels &c. dined at a fine Spring 200 yards below the pitch near which place 4 Cotton willow trees grew. on one of them I marked my name the date, and hight of the falls,- we then proceeded up on the river passing a Continued Cascade & rapid to a fall of 19 feet at 4 Small Islands, this fall is diaguanally across the river from the Lard Side, forming an angle of 3/4 of the width from the Lard. from which Side it pitches for 2/3 of that distance. on the Stard Side is a rapid decline- below this Shoot a Deep revein falls in which we Camped for the night which was Cold (The mountains in every derection has Snow on Them) The plain to our left is leavel we Saw one Bear & inumerable numbers of Buffalow, I Saw 2 herds of those animals watering immediately above a considerable rapid, they decended by a narrow pass to the bottom Small, the rier forced those forwd into the water Some of which was taken down in an instant, and Seen no more others made Shore with difficuelty, I beheld 40 or 50 of those Swimming at the Same time those animals in this way are lost and accounts for the number of buffalow carcases below the rapids