The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 24, 1805
Lewis, July 24, 1805
Wednesday July 24th 1805.
Set out at sunrise; the current very strong; passed a remarkable bluff of a crimson coloured earth on Stard. intermixed with Stratas of black and brick red slate. the valley through which the river passed today is much as that of yesterday nor is there any difference in the appearance of the mountains, they still continue high and seem to rise in some places like an amphatheater one rang above another as they receede from the river untill the most distant and lofty have their tops clad with snow. the adjacent mountains commonly rise so high as to conceal the more distant and lofty mountains from our view. I fear every day that we shall meet with some considerable falls or obstruction in the river notwithstanding the information of the Indian woman to the contrary who assures us that the river continues much as we see it. I can scarcely form an idea of a river runing to great extent through such a rough mountainous country without having it's stream intercepted by some difficult and gangerous rappids or falls. we daily pass a great number of small rappids or riffles which decend one to or 3 feet in 150 yards but they are rarely incommoded with fixed or standing rocks and altho strong rappid water are nevertheless quite practicable & by no means dangerous. we saw many beaver and some otter today; the former dam up the small channels of the river between the islands and compell the river in these parts to make other channels; which as soon as it has effected that which was stoped by the beaver becomes dry and is filled up with mud sand gravel and drift wood. the beaver is then compelled to seek another spot for his habitation wher he again erects his dam. thus the river in many places among the clusters of islands is constantly changing the direction of such sluices as the beaver are capable of stoping or of 20 yds. in width. this anamal in that way I beleive to be very instrumental in adding to the number of islands with which we find the river crouded. we killed one deer today and found a goat or Antelope which had been left by Capt. Clark. we saw a large bear but could not get a shoot at him. we also saw a great number of Crams & Antelopes, some gees and a few red-headed ducks the small bird of the plains and curloos still abundant. we observed a great number of snakes about the water of a brown uniform colour, some black, and others speckled on the abdomen and striped with black and brownish yellow on the back and sides. the first of these is the largest being about 4 feet long, the second is of that kind mentioned yesterday, and the last is much like the garter snake of our country and about it's size. none of these species are poisonous I examined their teeth and fund them innosent. they all appear to be fond of the water, to which they fly for shelter immediately on being pursued.- we saw much sign of Elk but met with none of them. from the appearance of bones and excrement of old date the buffaloe sometimes straggle into this valley; but there is no fresh sighn of them and I begin think that our harrvest of white puddings is at an end, at least untill our return to the buffaloe country. our trio of pests still invade and obstruct us on all occasions, these are the Musquetoes eye knats and prickley pears, equal to any three curses that ever poor Egypt laiboured under, except the Mahometant yoke. the men complain of being much fortiegued, their labour is excessively great. I occasionly encourage them by assisting in the labour of navigating the canoes, and have learned to push a tolerable good pole in their fraize. This morning Capt. Clark set out early and pursued the Indian road whih took him up a creek some miles abot 10 A.M. he discovered a horse about six miles distant on his left, he changed his rout towards the horse, on approaching him he found the horse in fine order but so wild he could not get within less than several hundred paces of him. he still saw much indian sign but none of recent date. from this horse he directed his course obliquely to the river where on his arrival he killed a deer and dined. in this wide valley where he met with the horse he passed five handsome streams, one of which only had timber another some willows and much stoped by the beaver. after dinner he continued his rout along the river upwards and encamped having traveled about 30 mes.