The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, June 7, 1805
Lewis, June 7, 1805
Friday June 7th 1805.
It continued to rain almost without intermission last night and as I expected we had a most disagreable and wrestless night. our camp possessing no allurements, we left our watery beads at an early hour and continued our rout down the river. it still continues to rain the wind hard from N. E. and could. the grownd remarkably slipry, insomuch that we were unable to walk on the sides of the bluffs where we had passed as we ascended the river. notwithstanding the rain that has now fallen the earth of these bluffs is not wet to a greater debth than 2 inches; in it's present state it is precisely like walking over frozan grownd which is thawed to small debth and slips equally as bad. this clay not only appears to require more water to saturate it as I before observed than any earth I ever observed but when saturated it appears on the other hand to yeald it's moisture with equal difficulty. In passing along the face of one of these bluffs today I sliped at a narrow pass of about 30 yards in length and but for a quick and fortunate recovery by means of my espontoon I should been precipitated into the river down a craggy pricipice of about ninety feet. I had scarcely reached a place on which I could stand with tolerable safety even with the assistance of my espontoon before I heard a voice behind me cry out god god Capt. what shall I do on turning about I found it was Windsor who had sliped and fallen abut the center of this narrow pass and was lying prostrate on his belley, with his wright hand arm and leg over the precipice while he was holding on with the left arm and foot as well as he could which appeared to be with much difficulty. I discovered his danger and the trepedation which he was in gave me still further concern for I expected every instant to see him loose his strength and slip off; altho much allarmed at his situation I disguised my feelings and spoke very calmly to him and assured him that he was in no kind of danger, to take the knife out of his belt behind him with his wright hand and dig a hole with it in the face of the bank to receive his wright foot which he did and then raised himself to his knees; I then directed him to take off his mockersons and to come forward on his hands and knees holding the knife in one hand and the gun in the other this he happily effected and escaped. those who were some little distance bhind returned by my orders and waded the river at the foot of the bluff where the water was breast deep. it was useless we knew to attempt the plains on this part of the river in consequence of the numerous steep ravines which intersected and which were quite as had as the river bluffs. we therefore continued our rout down the river sometimes in the mud and water of the bottom lands, at others in the river to our breasts and when the water became so deep that we could not wade we cut footsteps in the face of the steep bluffs with our knives and proceded. we continued our disagreeable march through the rain mud and water untill late in the evening having traveled only about 18 miles, and encamped in an old Indian stick lodge which afforded us a dry and comfortable shelter. during the day we had killed six deer some of them in very good order altho none of them had yet entirely discarded their winter coats. we had reserved and brought with us a good supply of the best peices; we roasted and eat a hearty supper of our venison not having taisted a mosel before during the day; I now laid myself down on some willow boughs to a comfortable nights rest, and felt indeed as if I was fully repaid for the toil and pain of the day, so much will a good shelter, a dry bed, and comfortable supper revive the sperits of the waryed, wet and hungry traveler.