The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 26, 1805

Lewis, July 26, 1805

Friday July 26th 1805.

Set out early this morning as usual current strong with frequent riffles; employ the cord and seting poles. the oars scarcely ever being used except to pass the river in order to take advantage of the shore and cur-rent. at the distance of 33/4 m. passed the entrance of a large Creek 15 yds. wide which discharges itself on Lard. near the center of a Lard. bend it is a bold runing stream this we called Howard's Creek after Thomas P. Howard one of our party. at the distance of one mile further we passed the entrance of a small run which falls in just above a rocky clift on Lard. here the hills or reather mountains again recede from the river and the valley again widens to the extent of several miles with wide and fertile bottom lands. covered with grass and in many places a fine terf of greenswoard. the high lands are thin meagre soil covered with dry low sedge and a species of grass also dry the seeds of which are armed with a long twisted hard beard at the upper extremity while the lower point is a sharp subulate firm point beset at it's base with little stiff bristles standing with their points in a contrary direction to the subulate point to which they answer as a barb and serve also to pres it forward when onece entered a small distance. these barbed seed penetrate our mockersons and leather legings and give us great pain untill they are removed. my poor dog suffers with them excessively, he is constantly hinting and scratching himself as if in a rack of pain. the prickly pear also grow here as abundantly as usual. there is another species of the prickly pear of a globular form, composed of an assemblage of little conic leaves springing from a common root to which their small points are attached as a common center and the base of the cone forms the apex of the leaf which is garnished with a circular range of sharp thorns quite as stif and more keen than the more common species with the flat leaf, like the Cockeneal plant. on entering this open valley I saw the snowclad tops of distant mountains before us. the timber and mountains much as heretofore. saw a number of beaver today and some otter, killed one of the former, also 4 deer; found a deer's skin which had been left by Capt. C. with a note informing me of his having met with a horse but had seen no fresh appearance of the Indians. the river in the valley is from 2 to 250 yds. wide and crouded with Islands, in some places it is 3/4 of a mile wide including islands. were it passed the hills it was from 150 to 200 yds. the banks are still low but never overflow. one of the men brought me an indian bow which he found, it was made of cedar and about 2 F. 9 Inh. in length. it had nothing remarkable in it's form being much such as is used by the Mandans Minetares &c. This morning Capt. Clark left Sharbono and Joseph Fields at the camp of last evening and proceeded up the river about 12 miles to the top of a mountain from whence he had an extensive view of the valley of the river upwards and of a large creek which flowed into it on Std. side. not meeting with any fresh appearance of Indians he determined to return and examine the middle fork of the missouri and meet me by the time he expected me to arrive at the forks. he returned down the mountain by the way of an old Indian road which led through a deep hollow of the mountain facing the south the day being warm and the road unshaded by timber he suffered excessively with heat and the want of water, at length he arrived at a very cold spring, at which he took the precaution of weting his feet head and hands before drank but notwithstanding this precaution he soon felt the effects of the water. he felt himself very unwell shortly after but continued his march rejoined Sharbono and Fields where the party eat of a fawn which Jo. Fields had killed in their absence Capt. C. was so unwell that he had no inclination to eat. after a short respite he resumed his march pass the North fork at a large island; here Charbono was very near being swept away by the current and cannot swim, Capt. C however risqued him and saved his life. Capt. C. continued his march to a small river which falls into the North fork some miles above the junction of the 3 forks it being the distance of about four miles from his camp of last evening here finding himself still more unwell he determined to encamp. they killed two brown or Grisley bear this evening on the island where they passed the N. fork of the Missouri. this stream is much divided by islands and it's current rapid and much as that of the missouri where we are and is navigable.-