Lewis, May 30, 1805
Thursday May 30th 1805.
The rain which commenced last evening continued with little intermission untill 11this morning when we set out; the high wind which accompanied the rain rendered it impracticable to procede earlyer. more rain has now fallen than we have experienced since the 15th of September last. many circumstances indicate our near approach to a country whos climate differs considerably from that in which we have been for many months. the air of the open country is asstonishingly dry as well as pure. I found by several experiments that a table spoon full of water exposed to the air in a saucer would avaporate in 36 hours when the murcury did not stand higher than the temperate point at the greatest heat of the day; my inkstand so frequently becoming dry put me on this experiment. I also observed the well seasoned case of my sextant shrunk considerably and the joints opened. The water of the river still continues to become clearer and notwithstanding the rain which has fallen it is still much clearer than it was a few days past. this day we proceded with more labour and difficulty than we have yet experienced; in addition to the imbarrasments of the rappid courant, riffles, & rockey point which were as bad if not worse than yesterday, the banks and sides of the bluff were more steep than usual and were now rendered so slippery by the late rain that the men could scarcely walk. the chord is our only dependance for the courant is too rappid to be resisted with the oar and the river too deep in most places for the pole. the earth and stone also falling from these immence high bluffs render it dangerous to pass under them. the wind was also hard and against us. our chords broke several times today but happily without injury to the vessels. we had slight showers of rain through the course of the day, the air was could and rendered more disagreeable by the rain. one of the party ascended the river hills and reported on his return that there was snow intermixed with the rain which fell on the hights; he also informed us that the country was level a little back from the river on both sides. there is now no timber on the hills, an only a few scattering cottonwood, ash, box Alder and willows to be seen along the river. in the course of the day we passed several old encampment of Indians, from the apparent dates of which we conceived that they were the several encampments of a band of about 100 lodges who were progressing slowly up the river; the most recent appeared to have been evacuated about 5 weeks since. these we supposed to be the Minetares or black foot Indians who inhabit the country watered by the Suskashawan and who resort to the establishment of Fort de Prarie, no part of the Missouri from the Minetaries to this place furnishes a perminent residence for any nation yet there is no part of it but what exhibits appearances of being occasionally visited by some nation on hunting excurtions. The Minnetares of the Missoury we know extend their excurtions on the S. side as high as the yellowstone river; the Assinniboins still higher on the N. side most probably as high as about Porcupine river and from thence upwards most probably as far as the mountains by the Minetares of Fort de Prarie and the Black Foot Indians who inhabit the S. fork of the Suskashawan. I say the Missouri to the Rocky mountains for I am convinced that it penetrates those mountains for a considerable distance.- Two buffaloe killed this evening a little above our encampment.