The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, August 1, 1806

Lewis, August 1, 1806

Friday August 1st 1806. The rain still continuing I set out early as usual and proceeded on at a good rate. at 9 A.M. we saw a large brown bear swiming from an island to the main shore we pursued him and as he landed Drewyer and myself shot and killed him; we took him on board the perogue and continued our rout. at 11 A.M. we passed the entrance of Mussel shell river. at 1 in the evening we arrived at a bottom on S. W. side where there were several spacious Indian lodges built of sticks and an excellent landing. as the rain still continued with but little intermission and appearances seemed unfavorable to it's becomeing fair shortly, I determined to halt at this place at least for this evening and indeavour to dry my skins of the bighorn which had every appearance of spoiling, an event which I would not should happen on any consideration as we have now passed the country in which they are found and I therefore could not supply the deficiency were I to loose these I have. I halted at this place being about 15 ms. below Missel shell river, had fires built in the lodges and my skins exposed to dry. shortly after we landed the rain ceased tho it still continued cloudy all this evening. a white bear came within 50 paces of our camp before we perceived it; it stood erect on it's hinder feet and looked at us with much apparent unconsern, we seized our guns which are always by us and several of us fired at it and killed it. it was a female in fine order, we fleesed it and extracted several gallons of oil. this speceis of bar are rearly as poor at this season of the year as the common black bear nor are they ever as fat as the black bear is found in winter; as they feed principally on flesh, like the wolf, they are most fatt when they can procure a sufficiency of food without rispect to the season of the year. the oil of this bear is much harder than that of the black bear being nearly as much so as the lard of a hog. the flesh is by no means as agreeable as that of the black bear, or Yahkah or partycoloured bear of the West side of the rocky mountains. on our way today we killed a buck Elk in fine order the skins and a part of the flesh of which we preserved. after encamping this evening the hunters killed 4 deer and a beaver. The Elk are now in fine order particularly the males. their horns have obtained their full growth but have not yet shed the velvet or skin which covers them. the does are found in large herds with their young and a few young bucks with them. the old bucks yet herd together in parties of two to 7 or 8.-