The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 31, 1805
Clark, May 31, 1805
May 31st Friday 1805
Cloudy morning, we proceeded on at an early hour with the two Perogues leaving the Canoes and crews to bring on the meat of two Buffalow that were killed last evening and which had not been brought in as it was late and a little off the river. Soon after we got under way it began to rain and Continued untill 12 oClock when it Seased but Still remained cloudy through the ballance of the day. the obstructions of rocky points and riffles Still continue as yesterday; at those places the men are compelled to be in the water even to their armpits, and the water is yet very cold, and So frequent are those points that they are one fourth of their time in the water. added to this the bank and bluff along which they are obliged to pass are So Slippery and the mud So tenatious that they are unable to bare their mockersons, and in that Situation dragging the heavy burthen of a Canoe and Walking occasionally for Several hundred yards over the Sharp fragments of rocks which tumble from the Clifts; and in Short their labour is incredibly painfull and great, yet those faithfull fellows bear it without a murmer.
The toe rope of the white perogue, the only one indeed of hemp, and that on which we most depended, gave way to day at a bad point, the perogue Swong and but slightly touched a rock, yet was very near oversetting; I fear her evil Ginnie will play So many pranks with her that She will go to the bottom Some of those days.
I attempted to walk on Shore this morning but found it so excessivily bad that I Soon returned on board. at 12 oClock we came too for refreshment and gave the men a dram which they received with much Chearfulness, and well deserved all wet and disagreeable. Capt. Lewis walked on Shore, he informed one that he Saw "the most butifull fox in the world" the Colour appeared to him to be of a fine Orrange yellow, white and black, he fired at this fox running and missed him, he appeared to be about the size of the common red fox of the united States, or rather smaller.
The hills and river clifts which we pass to day exhibit a most romantic appearance. The Bluffs of the river rise to the hight of from 2 to 300 feet and in most places nearly perpendicular; they are formed of remarkable white Sandstone which is Sufficiently Soft to give way readily to the impression of water; two or three thin horizontal Stratas of white free Stone, on which the rains or water make no impression, lie imbeded in those clifts of Soft Stone near the upper part of them; the earth on the top of these clifts is a dark rich loam, which forming a gradual ascending plain extend back from 1/2 a mile to a mile where the hills commence and rise abruptly to the hight of about 300 feet more. The water in the Course of time acecending from those hills and plains on either Side of the river has trickled down the Soft Sand Clifts and woarn it into a thousand grotesque figures; which with the help of a little imagination and an oblique view at a distance are made to represent elegant ranges of lofty freestone buildings, haveing their parapets well Stocked with Statuary; Colloms of various Sculptures both Grooved and plain, are also Seen Supporting long galleries in part of those buildings; in other places on a much nearer approach and with the with the help of less immagination we See the remains of ruins of eligant buildings; Some Collumns Standing and almost entire with their pedestals and Capitals, others retaining their pedestals but deprived by time or accedint of their capitals, Some lying prostrate and broken, others in the form of vast Pyramids of connic Structure bearing a Serious of other pyramids on their tops becomeing less as they ascend and finally termonateing in a Sharp point. nitches and alcoves of various forms and Sizes are Seen at different hights as we pass. a number of the Small martin which build their nests with Clay of a globular form attached to the wall within those nitches, and which were Seen hovering about the top of the collumns did not the less remind us of Some of those large Stone buildings in the United States. The thin Stratas of hard free Stone intermixed with the Soft Sand Stone Seems to have aided the water in forming this Curious Scenery.
as we passed on it Seemed as if those Seens of Visionary enchantment would never have an end; for here it is too that nature presents to the view of the traveler vast ranges of walls of tolerable workmanship, So perfect indeed are those walls that I Should have thought that nature had attempted here to rival the human art of Masonry had I not recollected that She had first began her work. These walls rise to the hight in many places of 100 feet, are perpindicular, with two regular faces, and are from one to 12 feet thick, each wall retains the Same thickness to the top which it possesses at bottom. The Stone of which these walls are formed is black, dense and dureable, and appears to be Composed of a large portion of earth intermixed or Cemented with a Small quantity of Sand and a Considerable portion of quarts. these Stones are almost invariably regular parallelepipeds, of unequal Sizes in the wall, but equal in their horizontal ranges, at least as to debth. These are laid regularly in ranges on each other like bricks, each breaking or covering this interstice of the two on which it rests, thus the pirpendicular interstices are broken, and the horizontal ones extend entire throughout the whole extent of the walls. These Stones Seam to bear Some proportion to the thickness of the walls in which they are employd, being larger in the thicker walls; the greatest length of the parallelepiped appear to form the thickness of the thiner walls, while two or more are employed to form that of the thicker walls. Those walls pass the river in Several places rising from the waters edge much above the Sand Stone Bluffs, which they Seam to penetrate; thence Continueing their course on a Streight line on either Side of the river thorough the gradually ascending plains over which they tower to the hight of from ten to 90 feet untill they reach the hills which they finally enter and Conceal themselves. these walls Sometimes run parallel to each other, with Several ranges near each other, and at other times intersecting each other at right angles, haveing the appearance of the walls of ancient houses or gardins. both Capt Lewis and My self walked on Shore this evening and examined those walls minutely and preserved a Specimine of the Stone.- I found many clifts of very excellent free Stone of a light yellowish brown Colour. Capt. Lewis observed a Species of pine which I had never Seen, it differs from the pitch pine in the particular of its leaf and Cone, the first being partly Shorter, and the latter considerably longer and more pointed. The appearance of Coal Continues but in Smaller quantities, but little appearance of burnt hills or pumicestone. the mineral Salt in Some measure have abated and no quarts. we Saw a great number of the Big Horn, Some mule deer, and a few Buffalow and Elk, no antelopes or Common Deer-. Capt. Lewis killed a Big horn animal. the party killed 2 Buffalow one Elk and a Big horn or Ibex to day-. The river has been from 150 to 250 yards wide but little timber on the river to day. river less muddy than it was below.