The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, July 11, 1806

Lewis, July 11, 1806

July 11th 1806. the morning was fair and the plains looked beatifull the grass much improved by the late rain. the air was pleasant and a vast assemblage of little birds which croud to the groves on the river sung most enchantingly. we set out early. I sent the hunters down Medicine river to hunt Elk and proceeded with the party across the plain to the white bear Islands which I found to be 8 ms. distant my course S. 75 E.- through a level beautiful) and extensive high plain covered with immence birds of buffaloe.- it is now the season at which the buffaloe begin to coppelate and the bulls keep a tremendious roaring we could hear them for many miles and there are such numbers of them that there is one continual roar. our horses had not been acquainted with the buffaloe they appeared much allarmed at their appearance and bellowing. when I arrived in sight of the whitebear Islands the missouri bottoms on both sides of the river were crouded with buffaloe I sincerely belief that there were not less than 10 thousand buffaloe within a circle of 2 miles arround that place. I met with the hunters at a little grove of timber opposite to the island where they had killed a cowl and were waiting our arrival. they had met with no elk. I directed the hunters to kill some buffaloe as well for the benifit of their skins to enable us to pass the river as for their meat for the men I meant to leave at this place. we unloaded our horses and encamped opposite to the Islands. had the cow skined and some willows sticks collected to make canoes of the hides by 12 OCk. they killed eleven buffaloe most of them in fine order. the bulls are now generally much fatter than the cows and are fine beef. I sent out all hands with the horses to assist in buthering and bringing in the meat by 3 in the evening we had brought in a large quantity of fine beef and as many hides as we wanted for canoes shelters and geer. I then set all hands to prepare two canoes the one we made after the mandan fassion with a single skin in the form of a bason and the other we constructed of two skins on a plan of our own. we were unable to compleat our canoes this evening. the wind blew very hard. we continued our operations untill dark and then retired to rest. I intend giving my horses a couple of days rest at this place and deposit all my baggage which is not necessary to my voyage up medicine river.