The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, May 16, 1806

Lewis, May 16, 1806

Friday May 16th 1806. Drewyer's horse left his camp last night and was brought to us this morning by an indian who informed us he had found him a considerable distance towards the mountains. Hohastillpilp and all the natives left us about noon and informed us that they were going up the river some distance to a place at which they expected to fine a canoe, we gave them the head and neck of a bear, a part of which they eat and took the ballance with them. these people sometimes kill the variagated bear when they can get them in the open plain where they can pursue them on horseback and shoot them with their arrows. the black bear they more frequently kill as they are less ferocious. our sick men are much better today. Sahcargarmeah geathered a quantity of the roots of a speceis of fennel which we found very agreeable food, the flavor of this root is not unlike annis seed, and they dispell the wind which the roots called Cows and quawmash are apt to create particularly the latter. we also boil a small onion which we find in great abundance, with other roots and find them also an antidote to the effects of the others. the mush of roots we find adds much to the comfort of our diet.- we sent out several hunters this morning but they returned about 11 A.M. without success; they killed a few pheasants only. at 5 P.M. Drewyer and Cruzatte returned having killed one deer only. Drewyer had wounded three bear which he said were as white as sheep but had obtained neither of them. they informed us that the hunting was but bad in the quarter they had been, the Country was broken and thickly covered in most parts with underbrush. a little after dark Shannon and Labuish returned with one deer; they informed us that game was wild and scarce, that a large creek (Collins Creek) ran parallel with the river at the distance of about 5 or 6 miles which they found impracticable to pass with their horses in consequence of the debth and rapidity of it's current. beyond this creek the Indians inform us that there is great abundance of game. Sergt. Pryor and Collins who set out this morning on a hunting excurtion did not return this evening.- I killed a snake near our camp, it is 3 feet 11 Inches in length, is much the colour of the rattlesnake common to the middle atlantic states, it has no poisonous teeth. it has 218 scutae on the abdomen and fifty nine squamae or half formed scutae on the tail. the eye is of moderate size, the iris of a dark yellowish brown and puple black. there is nothing remarkable in the form of the head which is not so wide across the jaws as those of the poisonous class of snakes usually are.- I preserved the skin of this snake.