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The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 14, 1806

Lewis, May 14, 1806

Wednesday May 14th 1806. The morning was fair, we arrose early and dispatched a few of our hunters to the opposite side of the river, and employed a part of the men in transporting our baggage to the opposite shore wile others were directed to collect the horses; at 10 A.M. we had taken our baggage over and collected our horses, we then took breakfast, after which we drove our horses into the river which they swam without accedent and all arrived safe on the opposite shore. the river is 150 yds. wide at this place and extreemly rapid. tho it may be safely navigated at this season, as the water covers all the rocks which lie in it's bed to a considerable debth. we followed our horses and again collected them, after which we removed our baggage to a position which we had previously selected for our permanent camp about half a mile below. this was a very eligible spot for defence it had been an ancient habitation of the indians; was sunk about 4 feet in the ground and raised arround it's outer edge about three 1/2 feet with a good wall of eath. the whole was a circle of about 30 feet in diameter. arround this we formed our tents of sticks and grass facing outwards and deposited our baggage within the sunken space under a shelter which we constructed for the purpose. our situation was within 40 paces of the river in an extentsive level bottom thinly timbered with the longleafed pine. here we are in the vicinity of the best hunting grounds from indian information, are convenient to the salmon which we expect daily and have an excellent pasture for our horses. the hills to the E and North of us are high broken and but partially timbered; the soil is rich and affords fine grass. in short as we are compelled to reside a while in this neighbourhood I feel perfectly satisfyed with our position.immediately after we had passed the river Tunnachemootoolt and Hosastillpilp arrived on the south side with a party of a douzen of their young men; they began to sing in token of friendship as is their custom, and we sent the canoe over for them. they left their horses and came over accompanyed by several of their party among whom were the 2 young men who had presented us with two horses in behalf of the nation; one of these was the son of Tunnachemootoolt and the other the son of the Cheif who was killed by the Minnetares of Fort de Prarie last year and the same who had given us the mare and Colt. we received them at our camp and smoked with them; after some hours Hohastillpilp with much cerimony presented me with a very eligant grey gelding which he had brought for that purpose. I gave him in return a handkercheif 200 balls and 4 lbs. of powder. with which he appeared perfectly satisfyed. Collins killed two bear this morning and was sent with two others in quest of the meat; with which they returned in the evening; the mail bear was large and fat the female was of moderate size and reather meagre. we had the fat bear fleaced in order to reserve the oil for the mountains. both these bear were of the speceis common to the upper part of the missouri. they may be called white black grzly brown or red bear for they are found of all those colours. perhaps it would not be unappropriate to designate them the variagated bear. we gave the indians who were about 15 in number half the female bear, with the sholder head and neck of the other. this was a great treat to those poor wretches who scarcely taist meat once a month. they immediately prepared a brisk fire of dry wood on which they threw a parsel of smooth stones from the river, when the fire had birnt down and heated the stones they placed them level and laid on a parsel of pine boughs, on these they laid the flesh of the bear in flitches, placing boughs between each course of meat and then covering it thickly with pine boughs; after this they poared on a small quantity of water and covered the whoe over with earth to the debth of four inches. in this situation they suffered it to remain about 3 hours when they took it out. I taisted of this meat and found it much more tender than that which we had roasted or boiled, but the strong flavor of the pine distroyed it for my pallate. Labuish returned late in the evening and informed us that he had killed a female bear and two large cubbs, he brought with him several large dark brown pheasants which he had also killed. Shannon also returned with a few pheasants and two squirrells. we have found our stone horses so troublesome that we indeavoured to exchange them with the Chopunnish for mears or gelings but they will not exchange altho we offer 2 for one; we came to a resolution to castrate them and began the operation this evening one of the indians present offered his services on this occasion. he cut them without tying the string of the stone as is usual, and assures us that they will do much better in that way; he takes care to scrape the string very clean and to seperate it from all the adhereing veigns before he cuts it. we shall have an opportunity of judging whether this is a method preferable to that commonly practiced as Drewyer has gelded two in the usual way. The indians after their feast took a pipe or two with us and retired to rest much pleased with their repast. these bear are tremendious animals to them; they esteem the act of killing a bear equally great with that of an enimy in the field of action.- I gave the claws of those which Collins killed to Hohastillpilp.

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