The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 2, 1805

Lewis, July 2, 1805

Tuesday July 2cd 1805

A shower of rain fell very early this morning after which we dispatched the men for the remaining baggage at the 6 mile stake. Shields and Bratton seting their tarkiln, Sergts. Pryor and Gass at work on the waystrips and myself and all other hands engaged in puting the boat together which we accomplished in about 3 hours and I then set four men at work sewing the leather over the cross bars of Iron on the inner side of the boat, which form the ends of the sections. about 2 P.M. the party returned with the baggage, all well pleased that they had completed the laborious task of the portage. The Musquetoes uncommonly troublesome the wind hard from the S. W. all day I think it possible that these almost perpetual S. W. winds proceede from the agency of the Snowey Mountains and the wide level and untimbered plains which streach themselves along their bases for an immence distance (i e) that the air comeing in contact with the snow is suddonly chilled and condenced, thus becoming heaver than the air beneath in the plains, it glides down the sides of these mountains & decends to the plains, where by the constant action of the sun on the face of an untimbered country there is a partial vacuum formed for it's reception. I have observed that the winds from this quarter are always the coldest and most violent which we experience, yet I am far from giving full credit to my own hypothesis on this subject; if hoever I find on the opposite side of these mountains that the winds take a contrary direction I shall then have more faith. After I had completed my observation of Equal Altitudes today Capt. Clark Myself and 12 men passed over to the large Island to hunt bear. the brush in that part of it where the bear frequent is an almost impenetrable thicket of the broad leafed willow; this brush we entered in small parties of 3 or four together and surched in every part. we found one only which made at Drewyer and he shot him in the brest at the distance of about 20 feet, the ball fortunately passed through his heart, the stroke knocked the bear down and gave Drewyer time to get out of his sight; the bear changed his course we pursued him about a hundred yards by the blood and found him dead; we surched the thicket in every part but found no other, and therefore returned. this was a young male and would weigh about 400 lbs. the water of the Missouri here is in most places about 10 feet deep. after our return, in moving some of the baggage we caught a large rata it was somewhat larger than the common European rat, of lighter colour; the body and outer part of the legs and head of a light lead colour, the belly and inner side of the legs white as were also the feet and years. the toes were longer and the ears much larger than the common rat; the ears uncovered with hair. the eyes were black and prominent the whiskers very long and full. the tail was reather longer than the body and covered with fine fur or poil of the same length and colour of the back. the fur was very silkey close and short. I have frequently seen the nests of these rats in clifts of rocks and hollow trees but never before saw one of them. they feed very much on the fruit and seed of the prickly pear; or at least I have seen large quantities of the hulls of that fruit lying about their holes and in their nests.