The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 21, 1805

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

Lewis, July 21, 1805

Sunday July 21st 1805.

Set out early this morning and passed a bad rappid where the river enters the mountain about 1 m. from our camp of last evening the Clifts high and covered with fragments of broken rocks. the current strong; we employed the toe rope principally, and also the pole as the river is not now so deep but reather wider and much more rapid our progress was therefore slow and laborious. we saw three swans this morning, which like the geese have not yet recovered the feathers of the wing and could not fly we killed two of them the third escaped by diving and passed down with the current; they had no young ones with them therefore presume they do not breed in this country these are the first we have seen on the river for a great distance. we daily see great numbers of gees with their young which are perfectly feathered except the wings which are deficient in both young and old. my dog caught several today, as he frequently dose. the young ones are very fine, but the old gees are poor and unfit for uce. saw several of the large brown or sandhill Crain today with their young. the young Crain is as large as a turkey and cannot fly they are of a bright red bey colour or that of the common deer at this season. this bird feeds on grass prinsipally and is found in the river bottoms. the grass near the river is lofty and green that of the hill sides and high open grounds is perfectly dry and appears to be scorched by the heat of the sun. the country was rough mountainous & much as that of yesterday untill towards evening when the river entered a beautifull and extensive plain country of about 10 or 12 miles wide which extended upwards further that the eye could reach this valley is bounded by two nearly parallel ranges of high mountains which have their summits partially covered with snow. below the snowey region pine succeeds and reaches down their sides in some parts to the plain but much the greater portion of their surfaces is uncovered with timber and expose either a barren sterile soil covered with dry parched grass or black and rugged rocks. the river immediately on entering this valley assumes a different aspect and character, it spreads to a mile and upwards in width crouded with Islands, some of them large, is shallow enough for the use of the seting pole in almost every part and still more rappid than before; it's bottom is smooth stones and some large rocks as it has been since we have entered the mountains. the grass in these extensive bottoms is green and fine, about 18 inches or 2 feet high. the land is a black rich loam and appears very fertile. we encamped in this beatiful valley on the Lard. side the party complain of being much fatiegued with this days travel. we killed one deer today.- This morning we passed a bold creek 28 yds. wide which falls in on Stard. side. it has a handsome and an extensive valley. this we called Pryor's Creek after Sergt. (John) Pryor one of our party. I also saw two fesants today of a dark brown colour much larger than the phesant of the U States.

this morning Capt. Clark having determined to hunt and wait my arrival somewhere about his preset station was fearfull that some indians might still be on the river above him sufficiently near to hear the report of his guns and therefore proceeded up, the river about three miles and not finding any indians nor discovering any fresh appearance of them returned about four miles below and fixed his camp near the river; after refreshing themselves with a few hours rest they set out in different directions to hunt. Capt C. killed a buck and Fields a buck and doe. he caught a young curlooe which was nearly feathered. the musquetoes were equally as troublesome to them as to ourselves this evening; tho some hours after dark the air becomes so cold that these insects disappear. the men are all fortunately supplyed with musquetoe biers otherwise it would be impossible for them to exist under the fatiegues which they daily encounter without their natural rest which they could not obtain for those tormenting insects if divested of their biers. timber still extreemly scant on the river but there is more in this valley than we have seen since we entered the mountains; the creeks which fall into the river are better supplyed with this article than the river itself.-

we saw a number of trout today since the river has become more shallow; also caught a fish of a white colour on the belly and sides and of a bluish cast on the back which had been accedentally wounded by a setting pole. it had a long pointed mouth which opened somewhat like the shad.