The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 22, 1805
Lewis, July 22, 1805
Monday July 22cd 1805.
We set out early as usual. The river being divided into such a number of channels by both large and small Island that I found it impossible to lay it down correctly following one channel only in a canoe and therefore walked on shore took the general courses of the river and from the rising grounds took a view of the Islands and it's different channels which I laid don in conformity thereto on my chart. there being but little timber to obstruct my view I could see it's various meanders very satisfactorily. I passed though a large Island which I found a beautifull level and fertile plain about 10 feet above the surface of the water and never overflown. on this Island I met with great quantities of a smal onion about the size of a musquit ball and some even larger; they were white crisp and well flavored I geathered about half a bushel of them before the canoes arrived. I halted the party for breakfast and the men also geathered considerable quantities of those onions. it's seed had just arrived to maturity and I gathered a good quantity of it. This appears to be a valuable plant inasmuch as it produces a large quantity to the squar foot and bears with ease the rigor of this climate, and withall I think it as pleasantly flavored as any species of that root I ever tasted. I called this beatifull and fertile island after this plant Onion Island. here I passed over to the stard. shore where the country was higher and ascended the river to the entrance of a large creek which discharges itself into the Missouri on the Stard. side. it is composed of three pretty considerable creeks which unite in a beautifull and extensive vally a few miles before it discharges itself into the river. while wateing for the canoes to arrive I killed an otter which sunk to the bottom on being shot, a circumstance unusual with that anamal. the water was about 8 feet deep yet so clear that I could see it at the bottom; I swam in and obtained it by diving. I halted the party here for dinner; the canoes had taken different channels through these islands and it was sometime before they all came up. I placed my thermometer in a good shade as was my custom about 4 P.M. and after dinner set out without it and had proceeded near a mile before I recollected it I sent Sergt. Ordway back for it, he found it and brought it on. the murcury stood at 80 a. 0 this is the warmest day except one which we have experienced this summer. The Indian woman recognizes the country and assures us that this is the river on which her relations live, and that the three forks are at no great distance. this peice of information has cheered the sperits of the party who now begin to console themselves with the anticipation of shortly seeing the head of the missouri yet unknown to the civilized world. the large creek which we passed on Stard. 15 yds. we call white Earth Creek from the circumstance of the natives procuring a white paint on this crek.- Saw many gees, crams, and small birds common to the plains, also a few phesants and a species of small curlooe or plover of a brown colour which I first met with near the entrance of Smith's river but they are so shy and watchfull there is no possibility of geting a shoot at them it is a different kind from any heretofore discribed and is about the size of the yellow leged plover or jack Curlooe. both species of the willow that of the broad leaf and narrow leaf still continue, the sweet willow is very scarce. the rose bush, small honesuckle, the pulpy leafed thorn, southernwood, sage Box alder narrow leafed cottonwood, red wod, a species of sumac are all found in abundance as well as the red and black goosberries, service berries, choke cherries and the currants of four distinct colours of black, yellow, red and perple. the cherries are not yet ripe. the bear appear to feed much on the currants. late this evening we arrived at Capt. Carks camp on the stard. side of the river; we took them on board with the meat they had collected and proceeded a short distance and encamped on an Island Capt. Clark's party had killed a deer and an Elk today and ourselves one deer and an Antelope only. altho Capt C. was much fatiegued his feet yet blistered and soar he insisted on pursuing his rout in the morning nor weould he consent willingly to my releiving him at that time by taking a tour of the same kind. finding him anxious I readily consented to remain with the canoes; he ordered Frazier and Jo. & Reubin Filds to hold themselves in readiness to accompany him in the morning. Sharbono was anxious to accompany him and was accordingly permitted. the musquetoes and knats more than usually troublesome to us this evening.-