The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 25, 1805
Lewis, May 25, 1805
Saturday May 25th 1805.
The Two canoes which we left behind yesterday to bring on the meat did not arrive this morning untill 8 A M. at which time we set out; the wind being against us we did not proceed with so much ease or expedition as yesterday, we imployed the toe line principally which the banks favored the uce off; the courant strong particularly arround the points against which the courant happened to set, and at the entrances of the little gullies from the hills, those rivulets having brought down considerable quantities of stone and deposited it at their entrances forming partial barriers to the water of the river to the distance of 40 or 50 feet from the shore, arround these the water run with great violence, and compelled us in some instances to double our force in order to get a perorogue or canoe by them. as we ascended the river today I saw several gangs of the bighorned Anamals on the face of the steep bluffs and clifts on the Stard. side and sent drewyer to kill one which he accomplished; Capt. Clark and Bratton who were on shore each killed one of these anamals this evening. The head and horns of the male which Drewyer killed weighed 27 lbs. it was somewhat larger than the male of the common deer, the boddy reather thicker deeper and not so long in proportion to it's hight as the common deer; the head and horns are remakably large compared with the other part of the anamal; the whole form is much more delicate than that of the common goat, and there is a greater disparity in the size of the male and female than between those of either the deer or goat. the eye is large and prominant, the puple of a deep sea green and small, the iris of a silvery colour much like the common sheep; the bone above the eye is remarkably prominant; the head nostrils and division of the upper lip are precisely in form like the sheep. there legs resemble the sheep more than any other animal with which I am acquainted tho they are more delicately formed, like the sheep they stand forward in the knee and the lower joint of the foreleg is smallest where it joins the knee, the hoof is black & large in proportion, is divided, very open and roundly pointed at the toe, like the sheep; is much hollowed and sharp on the under edge like the Scotch goat, has two small hoofs behind each foot below the ankle as the goat sheep and deer have. the belley, inside of the legs, and the extremity of the rump and butocks for about two inches arround the but of the tale, are white, as is also the tale excet just at it's extremity on the upper side which is of a dark brown. the tail is about three inches in length covered with short hair, or at least not longer than that of the boddy; the outher parts of the anamal are of a duskey brown or reather a leadcoloured light brown; the anamal is now sheding it's winter coat which is thick not quite as long as that of the deer and appears to be intermixed with a considerable quantity of a fine fur which lyes next to the skin & conceald by the coarcer hear; the shape of the hair itself is celindric as that of the antelope is but is smaller shorter, and not compressed or flattened as that of the deer's winter coat is, I believe this anamal only sheds it's hair once a year. it has eight fore teeth in the under jaw and no canine teeth. The horns are lagest at their base, and occupy the crown of the head almost entirely. they are compressed, bent backwards and lunated; the surface swelling into wavy rings which incircleing the horn continue to succeed each other from the base to the extremity and becoming less elivated and more distant as they recede from the head. the horn for about two thirds of it's length is filled with a porus bone which is united with the frontal bone. I obtained the bones of the upper part of the head of this animal at the big bone lick. the horns of the female are small, but are also compress bent backwards and incircled with a succession of wavy rings. the horn is of a light brown colour; when dressed it is almost white extreemly transparent and very elastic. this horn is used by the natives in constructing their bows; I have no doubt but it would eligant and ucefull hair combs, and might probably answer as many valuable purposes to civilized man, as it dose to the savages, who form their watercups spoons and platters of it. the females have already brought forth their young indeed from the size of the young I suppose that they produce them early in March. they have from one to two at a birth. they feed on grass but principally on the arromatic herbs which grow on the clifts and inaccessable hights which they usually frequent. the places they gerally celect to lodg is the cranies or cevices of the rocks in the faces of inacessable precepices, where the wolf nor bear can reach them and where indeed man himself would in many instancies find a similar deficiency; yet these anamals bound from rock to rock and stand apparently in the most careless manner on the sides of precipices of many hundred feet. they are very shye and are quick of both sent and sight.
At the distance of two 3/4 miles above our encampment of last evening we passed a Creek 20 yard wide affording no runing water, we also passed 7 Islands in the course of the day. The Country on either hand is high broken and rockey; the rock is either soft brown sand stone covered with a thin strata of limestone, or a hard black rugged grannite, both usually in horizontal stratas and the Sandy rock overlaying the other.- Salts and quarts still appear, some coal and pumice stone also appear; the river bottoms are narrow and afford scarcely any timber. the bars of the river are composed principally of gravel, but little pine on the hills. We saw a Pole-cats this evening it is the first we have seen for many days. buffalow are now scarce and I begin to fear our harvest of white puddings are at an end.