The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 9, 1805
Lewis, May 9, 1805
Thursday May 9th 1805.
Set out at an early hour; the wind being favourable we used our sails and proceeded very well; the country in appearance is much as yester, with this difference that the land appears more fertile particularly of the Lard. hills which are not so stoney and less broken; the timber has also in some measure declined in quantity. today we passed the bed of the most extraordinary river that I ever beheld. it is as wide as the Missouri is at this place or 1/2 a mile wide and not containing a single drop of runing water; some small standing pools being all the water that could be per-ceived. it falls in on the Lard. side. I walked up this river about three miles and ascended an eminence from which I could perceive it many miles; it's course about South for 10 or 12 miles, when it viered around to the E of S. E. as far as I could see. the valley of this river is wide and possesses but a scanty proportion of timber; the hills which border it are not very high nor is the country very broken; it is what may properly be designated a wavy or roling country intersperced with some handsom level plains. the bank are low and abbrupt, seldom more than 6 or eight feet above the level of the bed, yet show but little appearance of being overflown; they are of black or yellow clay or a rich sandy loam. the bed is entirely composed of a light brown sand the particles of which as well as that of the Missoury are remarkably fine. this river I presume must extend back as far as the black hills and probably is the channel through which a great extent of plain country discharge their superfluous waters in the spring season. it had the appearance of having recently discharged it's waters; and from the watermark, it did not appear that it had been more than 2 feet deep at it's greatest hight. This stream (if such it can properly be termed) we called Big dry river. about a mile below this river on the same side a large creek falls in also dry at present. The mineral salts and quarts appear in large quantities in this neighbourhood. the sand of the Missouri from it's mouth to this place has always possessed a mixture of granulated talk or I now think most probably that it is this quarts. Capt C. killed 2 bucks and 2 buffaloe, I also killed one buffaloe which proved to be the best meat, it was in tolerable order; we saved the best of the meat, and from the cow I killed we saved the necessary materials for making what our wrighthand cook Charbono calls the boudin blanc, and immediately set him about preparing them for supper; this white pudding we all esteem one of the greatest delacies of the forrest, it may not be amiss therefore to give it a place. About 6 feet of the lower extremity of the large gut of the Buffaloe is the first mosel that the cook makes love to, this he holds fast at one end with the right hand, while with the forefinger and thumb of the left he gently compresses it, and discharges what he says is not good to eat, but of which in the squel we get a moderate portion; the mustle lying underneath the shoulder blade next to the back, and fillets are next saught, these are needed up very fine with a good portion of kidney suit; to this composition is then added a just proportion of pepper and salt and a small quantity of flour; thus far advanced, our skilfull opporater C-o seizes his recepticle, which has never once touched the water, for that would intirely distroy the regular order of the whole procedure; you will not forget that the side you now see is that covered with a good coat of fat provided the anamal be in good order; the operator sceizes the recepticle I say, and tying it fast at one end turns it inwards and begins now with repeated evolutions of the hand and arm, and a brisk motion of the finger and thumb to put in what he says is bon pour manger; thus by stuffing and compressing he soon distends the recepticle to the utmost limmits of it's power of expansion, and in the course of it's longtudinal progress it drives from the other end of the recepticle a much larger portion of the ____ than was prevously discharged by the finger and thumb of the left hand in a former part of the operation; thus when the sides of the recepticle are skilfully exchanged the outer for the iner, and all is compleatly filled with something good to eat, it is tyed at the other end, but not any cut off, for that would make the pattern too scant; it is then baptised in the missouri with two dips and a flirt, and bobbed into the kettle; from whence after it be well boiled it is taken and fryed with bears oil untill it becomes brown, when it is ready to esswage the pangs of a keen appetite or such as travelers in the wilderness are seldom at a loss for.
we saw a great quantity of game today particularly of Elk and Buffaloe, the latter are now so gentle that the men frequently throw sticks and stones at them in order to drive them out of the way. we also saw this evening emence quantities of timber cut by the beaver which appeared to have been done the preceeding year, in place particularly they had cut all the timber down for three acres in front and on nearly one back from the river and had removed a considerable proportion of it, the timber grew very thick and some of it was as large as a man's body. the river for several days has been as wide as it is generally near it's mouth, tho it is much shallower or I should begin to dispair of ever reaching it's source; it has been crouded today with many sandbars; the water also appears to become clearer, it has changed it's complexin very considerably. I begin to feel extreemly anxious to get in view of the rocky mountains.
I killed four plover this evening of a different species from any I have yet seen; it resembles the grey or whistling plover more than any other of this family of birds; it is about the size of the yellow legged or large grey plover common to the lower part of this river as well as most parts of the Atlantic States where they are sometimes called the Jack curloo; the eye is moderately large, are black with a narrow ring of dark yellowish brown; the head, neck, upper part of the body and coverts of the wings are of a dove coloured brown, which when the bird is at rest is the predominant colour; the brest and belley are of a brownish white; the tail is composed of 12 feathers of 3 Ins. being of equal length, of these the two in the center are black, with traverse bars of yellowish brown; the others are a brownish white. the large feathers of the wings are white tiped with blacked. the beak is black, 21/2 inches in length, slightly tapering, streight of a cilindric form and blontly or roundly pointed; the chaps are of equal length, and nostrils narrow. longitudional and connected; the feet and legs are smoth and of a greenish brown; has three long toes and a short one on each foot, the long toes are unconnected with a web, and the short one is placed very high up the leg behind, insomuch that it dose not touch the ground when the bird stands erect. the notes of this bird are louder and more various than any other of this family that I have seen.