The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, June 20, 1806

Clark, June 20, 1806

Friday June 20th 1806

The hunters turned out early in different directions, our guiggers also turned out with 2 guigs a Bayonet fixed on a pole, a Scooping nett and a Snar made of horse. near the ford of the Creek in a deep hole we killed Six Salmon trout & 2 others were killed in the Creek above in the evening. Reubin Field killed a redish brown bear which was very meagure. the tallons of this bear was remarkably Short broad at their base and Sharply pointed, this was of the Species the Chopunnish call Yahkar. as it was in very low order the flesh was indifferent. Labiesh & Crusat returned late in the evening with one deer which the former had killed. the hunters assured us that, their greatest exertions would not enable them to support us here more than one or two days longer, from the great scercity of game and the dificuelt access of the Country, the under brush being very thick and great quantities of fallen timber. as we shall necessarily be compelled to remain more than two days for the return of Drewyer & Shannon we determine to return in the morning as far as the quawmash flatts, and endeaver to lay in another Stock of meat for the mountains, our former Stock now being nearly exhosted as well as what we have killed on our rout. by returning to the quawmash flatts we Shall Sooner be informed wheather or not we can precure a guide to conduct us through the Mountains; Should we fail in precureing one, we are deturmined to wrisk a passage on the following plan immediately, because Should we wait much longer, or untill the Snow disolves in Such manner as to enable us to follow the road we cannot expect to reach the U States this Winter; this is that Capt. L. or myself shall take four of our most expert woods men with 3 or four of our best horses and proceed two days in advance takeing a plentiful Supply of provisions. for this party to follow the road by the mark the indins have made in many places with their baggage on the Sides of the trees by rubbing against them, and to blaize the trees with a tomahawk as they proceed. that after proceeding two days in advance of Hungary Creek, two of those men would be sent back to the party who by the time of their return to hungary Creek would have reached that place. the men So returning would be enabled to inform the main party of the probable Suckcess of the proceeding party in finding the road and of their probable progress, in order that Should it be necessary, the main party by a delay of a day or two a hungary Creek, should give the advance time to make the road through before the main party could overtake them, and thus prevent delay on that part of the rout where no food is to be obtained for our horses. Should it So happen that the advance Should not find the road by the marks of the trees after attempting it for two days, the whole of them would return to the main party. in which Case we would bring back our baggage and attempt a passage over the Mountains through the Country of the Shoshones further to the South, by way of the main S Westerly fork of Lewis's river and Madisons or Gallitins river's, where from the information of the Chopunnish, there is a passage where at this season of the year is not obstructed by snow, though the round is very distant and would require at least a month in it's preformance. The Shoshones informed us when we first met with them that there was a passage across the Mountains in that quarter but represented the difficuelties arriseing from Steep ruggid high mountains, and also an extensive and barren plain which was to be passed without game, as infinitely more difficuelt than the rout by which we Came. from the Circumstance of the Chopunnish being at war with that part of the Shoshones who inhabit the Country on this side of the Mountains through which the road passes, I think it is highly probable they cannot be well informed with respect to the road, and further, had there been a better road in that quarter the Shoshones on the East fork of Lewis's river who knew them boath would not have recommend'd that by which we came to this country. The travelling in the Mountains on the Snow, at present is very good, the Snow bears the horses perfectly; it is a firm coase Snow without a crust, and the horses have good foot hold without slipping much; the only dificuelty is finding the road, and I think the plan we have devised will Suckceed even Should we not be enabled to obtain a guide. altho the Snow may be Stated on an average at 10 feet deep, yet arround the body of the trees it has disolved much more than in other parts, not being generally more than one or two feet deep imediately at the roots of the trees, and of course the marks made by the rubbing of the Indian baggage against them is not Concealed. The reason why the Snow is comparitively So Shallow about the roots of the trees, 1 prosume proceeds as well from the Snow in falling being thrown off from their bodies by the thick and Spreading branches, as from the reflection of the Sun against the trees and the warmth which they in Some measure acquire from the earth which is never frozen underneath those masses of Snow. 4 of our horses are absent.