The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, August 5, 1805
Lewis, August 5, 1805
Monday August 5th 1805
As Charbono complained of being unable to march far today I ordered him and Sergt. Gass to pass the rappid river near our camp and proceed at their leasure through the level bottom to a point of high timber about seven miles distant on the middle fork which was in view; I gave them my pack that of Drewyer and the meat which we had, directing them to remain at that place untill we joined them. I took Drewyer with me and continued my rout up the stard. side of the river about 4 miles and then waded it; found it so rapid and shallow that it was impossible to navigate it. continued up it on the Lard. side about 11/2 miles further when the mountains put in close on both sides and arrose to great hight, partially covered with snow. from hence the course of the river was to the East of North. I took the advantage of a high projecting spur of the mountain which with some difficulty we ascended to it's summit in about half an hour. from this eminance I had a pleasing view of the valley through which I had passed many miles below and the continuation of the middle fork through the valley equally wide above me to the distance of about 20 miles when that also appeared to enter the mountains and disappeared to my view; however the mountains which termineate the valley in this direction appeared much lower than those up either of the other forks. on the rapid fork they appeared still to rise the one range towering above another as far as I could perceive them. the middle fork as I suspected dose bear considerably to the West of South and the gap formed by it in the mountains after the valley terminates is in the same direction. under these circumstances I did not hesitate in beleiving the middle fork the most proper for us to ascend. about South from me, the middle fork approached within about 5 miles. I resolved to pass across the plains to it and return to Gass and Charbono, accordingly we set out and decended the mountain among some steep and difficult precipices of rocks. here Drewyer missed his step and had a very dangerous fall, he sprained one of his fingers and hirt his leg very much. in fifteen or 20 minutes he was able to proceed and we continued our rout to the river where we had desighned to interscept it. I quenched my thirst and rested a few minutes examined the river and found it still very navi-gable. an old indian road very large and plain leads up this fork, but I could see no tracks except those of horses which appeared to have passed early in the spring. as the river mad a great bend to the South East we again ascended the high plain and steered our course as streight as we could to the point where I had directed Gass and Sharbono to remain. we passed the plain regained the bottom and struck the river about 3 miles above them; by this time it was perfectly dark & we hooped but could hear no tidings of them. we had struck the river at the point of timber to which I had directed them, but having mistaken a point of woods lower down, had halted short of the place. we continued our rout after dark down the bottom through thick brush of the pulppy leafed thorn and prickly pears for about 2 hours when we arrived at their camp. they had a small quantity of meat left which Drewyer and myself eat it being the first we had taisted today. we had traveled about 25 miles. I soon laid down and slept very soundly untill morning. I saw no deer today nor any game except a few Antelopes which were very shy. the soil of the plains is a light yellow clay very meager and intermixed with a large proportion of gravel, producing nothing except the twisted or bearded grass, sedge and prickly pears. the dryer parts of the bottoms are also much more indifferent in point of soil to those below and are covered with the southernwood pulpy leafed thorn and prickley pears with but little grass. the moist parts are fertile and covered with fine grass and sand rushes.
This morning Capt. Clark set out at sunrise and dispatched Joseph & Reubin Fields to hunt. they killed two deer on one of which the party breakfasted. the river today they found streighter and more rapid even than yesterday, and the labour and difficulty of the navigation was proportionably increased, they therefore proceeded but slowly and with great pain as the men had become very languid from working in the water and many of their feet swolen and so painfull that they could scarcely walk. at 4 P.M. they arrived at the confluence of the two rivers where I had left the note. this note had unfortunately been placed on a green pole which the beaver had cut and carried off together with the note; the possibility of such an occurrence never one occurred to me when I placed it on the green pole. this accedent deprived Capt. Clark of any information with ripect to the country and supposing that the rapid fork was most in the direction which it was proper we should pursue, or West, he took that stream and asscended it with much difficulty about a mile and encamped on an island that had been lately overflown and was yet damp; they were therefore compelled to make beds of brush to keep themselves out of the mud. in ascending this stream for about a quarter of a mile it scattered in such a maner that they were obliged to cut a passage through the willow brush which leant over the little channels and united their tops. Capt. Clarks ankle is extreemly painfull to him this evening; the tumor has not yet mature, he has a slight fever.- The men were so much fortiegued today that they wished much that navigation was at an end that they might go by land.-