The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, May 7, 1806

Clark, May 7, 1806

Wednesday May 7th 1806

This morning we collected our horses and Set out early accompanied by the brother of the twisted hair as a guide; Wearkkoomt and his party left us. we proceeded up the river 4 miles to a lodge of 6 families just below the enterance of a Small Creek, here our guide recommended our passing the river, he informed us that the road was better on the South Side, and that game was more abundant also on that Side near the enterance of Chopunnish river. we deturmined to pursue the rout recommended by the guide, and accordingly unloaded our horses and prepared to pass the river which we effected by means of one Canoe in the Course of 4 hours. a man of this lodge produced us two Canisters of Powder which he informed us he had found by means of his dog where they had been berried in the bottom near the river a fiew miles above. they were the Same which we had burried as we decended the river last fall. as he had kept them Safe and had honisty enough to return them to us, we gave him a fire Steel by way of Compensation. dureing our detention at the river we took dinner. after which we renewed our march along the S. E. Side of the river about 2 miles over a dificuelt Stoney road, when we left the river and assended the hills to the right which are here mountains high. the face of the Country when you have once assended the river hills, is perfectly level and partially Covered with the long leafed pine. the Soil is a dark rich loam, thickly Covered with grass and herbatious plants which afford a delightfull pasture for horses. in Short it is a butifull fertile picteresque Country. Neeshneparkeeook over took us and after rideing with us a fiew miles turned off to the right to visit some lodges of his people who he informed us were gathering roots in the plains at a little distance from the road. our guide Conducted us through the plain and down a Steep and lengthy hill to a Creek which we Call Musquetoe Creek in consequence of being infested with Sworms of those insects on our arival at it. this is but an inconsiderable Stream about 6 yards wide heads in the plains at a Short distance and discharges itself into the Kooskooske 9 ms. by water below the forks. we Struck this Creek at the distance of 5 miles from the point at which we left the river our course being a little to the S. of East. we proceeded up the Creek one Mile and on the S. E. Side we arived at an old Indian incampment of Six Lodges which appeared to have been recently evacuated. here we remained all night haveing traveled 12 ms. only. the timbered Country on this Side of the river may be Said to Commence a Short distance below this Creek, and on the other Side of the river at a little distance from it the timber reaches as low as Colter's Creek. the earth in maney parts of those plains is thown up in little mounds by Some animal whose habits are Similar to the Sallemander, like that animal it is also invisible; notwithstanding I have observed the work of this animal throughout the whole course of my trail from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocian, I have never obtained a View of this animal. The Shoshone man of whome I have before mentioned over took us this evening with Neesh neparkeeook or Cut nose and remained with us this evening. we Suped this evening as we had done on horse beef. we Saw Several deer this evening, and a great number of the tracks of these animals we deturmined to remain here untill noon tomorrow in order to obtain some venison, and accordingly gave orders to the hunters to turn out early in the morning. The Spurs of the rocky mountains which were in view from the high plain to day were perfectly Covered with Snow. The Indians inform us that the Snow is yet So deep on the Mountains that we Shall not be able to pass them untill after the next full moon or about the first of June. others Set the time at a more distant period. this unwelcom intiligence to men confined to a diet of horsebeef and roots, and who are as anxious as we are to return to the fat plains of the Missouri, and thence to our native homes. The Chopunnish bury their dead in different ways as I have obseved, besides that already discribed they scaffold Some and deposit others in Sepulchers, those are rearly to be Seen in this upper part of the Columbian Waters. the one already discribed is the most Common. they all Sacrifice horses, Canoes and every Species of property to the dead. the bones of maney horses are Seen lyeing about those repositaries of the dead &c.-.

I observed in all the Lodges which we have passed Since we Crossed Lewis's river decoys, or Stocking heads as they are Sometimes called. these decoys are for the deer and is formed of the Skin of the head and upper portion of the neck of that animale extended in the nateral Shape by means of a fiew little Sticks placed within. the hunter when he Sees a deer conseals himself and with his hand givs to the decoy the action of a deer at feed, and this induces the deer within arrowshot; in this mode the Indians near the woody country hunt on foot in Such places where they cannot pursue the deer with horses which is their favourite method when the grounds will permit-.-. The orniments worn by the Chopunnish are, in their nose a Single Shell of wampom, the pirl & beeds are Suspended from the ears. beads are worn arround their wrists, neck and over their Sholders crosswise in the form of a double Sash-. the hair of the men is Cewed in two rolls which hang on each side in front of the body. Collars of bears Claws are also Common; but the article of dress on which they appear to bestow most pains and orniments is a kind of collar or brestplate; this is most Commonly a Strip of otter skins of about Six inches Wide taken out of the Center of the Skin it's whole length including the head. this is dressed with the hair on, this is tied around the neck & hangs in front of the body the tail frequently reaching below their knees; on this Skin in front is attatched pieces of pirl, beeds, wampom, pices of red Cloth and in Short whatever they conceive most valuable or ornamental-.-.