The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 25, 1805
Clark, May 25, 1805
May 25th Satturday 1805" The two Canoes left for meat yesterday did not joint us untill 8 oClock this morning at which time we Set out, the morning Cool & pleasent wind a head all day from the S. W. we pass a Creek on the Lard. Side about 20 yards wide, which does not run, we also passd 7 Islands, I walked on Shore and killed a female Ibex or big horn animal in my absence Drewyer & Bratten killed two others, this animale is a species peculiar to this upper part of the Missouri, the head and horns of the male which Drewyer killed to day weighed 27 lbs it was Somewhat larger than the Mail of the Common Deer;) The body reather thicker deeper and not So long in proportion to its hight as the common Deer; the head and horns of the male are remarkably large Compared with the other parts of the animal; the whole form is much more delicate than that of the common goat, and there is a greater disparity in the Size of the mail 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. their 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 foward in the Knee and the lower joint of the fore leg is Smallest where it joins the Knee, the hoof is black and large in perpotion, 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, iner Side of the legs, and the extremity of the rump and buttocks for about two inches 1/2 around the but of the tail, are white, as is also the tail except just at its extremity on the upper Side which is of a dark brown. the tail is about 3 inches in length covered with Short hair, or at least not longer than that of the boddy; the outer part of the animal are of a duskey brown or reather a lead coloured light brown; the animal is now Sheding its winter coat which is thick not quite as long as that of the Deer and appears to be inter mixt with a considerable quantity of fine fur which lies next to the Skin and concealed by the Coarcer hair; the Shape of the hair itself is cylindric as that of the Antilope is, but is Smaller, Shorter and not Compressed or flattened as that of the deers winter Coat is. I believe this animal only Sheds it's hair once a year. it has Eight fore teeth in the underjaw and no canine teeth. The Horns are large at their base, and occupy the Crown of the head almost entirely, they are compressed, bent backwards and lunated; the Surface Swelling into wavey rings which incircleing the horn continue to Succeed each other from the base to the extremity and becomeing less elivated and more distant as they receed from the head. The horn for about two thirds of its length is filled with a porus bone which is united with the frontal bone (Capt. Lewis obtained the bones of the upper part of the head of this Animal at the big Bone Lick in the State of Kentucky which I Saw and find to be the Same in every respect with those of the Missouri and the Rockey Mountains) the horns of the female are Small, but are also compressed and bent backwards and incircled with a Succession of wavy rings. the horn is of a light brown Colour; when Dressed it is almost white extreamly transparent and very elastic. this horn is used by the nativs in constructing their bows; I have no doubt of it's elegance and usefullness in hair Combs, and might probably answer as maney valuable purpoces to civilized man, as it does to the native indians, who form their water Cups, 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 arramatic herbs which grow on the Clifts and inaccessable hights which they frequent most commonly, and the places they generally collect to lodge is the Cranies or Cevices of the rocks in the face of inaccessable precepices, where the wolf nor Bear Can reach them, and where indeed man himself would in maney instances find a Similar deficiency; yet those animals bound from rock to rock and Stand apparently in the most Careless manner on the Side of precipices of maney hundred feet. they are very Shy and quick of both Sent and Sight. The flesh of this animal is dark and I think inferior to the flesh of the Common Deer, and Superior to the antilope of the Missouri and the Columbian Plains-. In my walk of this day I saw mountts. on either side of the river at no great distance, those mountains appeared to be detached, and not ranges as laid down by the Minetarrees, I also think I saw a range of high mounts. at a great distance to the S S W. but am not certain as the horozon was not clear enough to view it with Certainty. The country on either side is high broken and rockey a dark brown hard rugid Stone intermixed with a Soft white Sand Stone. the hills contain Coal or cabonated wood as below and Some Scattering pumistone. the Sides of the river is bordered with coars gravel, which in maney places have washed either together or down Small brooks and forms bars at Some distance in the water, around which the current passes with great valocity. the bottoms between hills and river are narrow and Contain Scercely any timber. The appearence of Salts, and bitumun Still Continue. we Saw a polecat to day being the first which we have Seen for Some time past. The Air of this quarter is pure and helthy. the water of the Missouri well tasted not quite So muddy as it is below, not withstanding the last rains has raised the river a little it is less muddy than it was before the rain.