The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, February 4, 1806

Tuesday February 4th 1806. Sergt. Pryor with a party of five men set out again in quest of the Elk which Drewyer had killed. Drewyer and La Page also returned to continue the chase in the same quarter. the Elk are in much better order in the point near the praries than they are in the woody country arround us or up the Netul. in the praries they feed on grass and rushes, considerable quantities of which are yet green and succulet. in the woody country their food is huckle berry bushes, fern, and an evergreen shrub which resembles the lore) in some measure; the last constitutes the greater part of their food and grows abundantly through all the timbered country, particularly the hillsides and more broken parts of it. There are sveral species of fir in this neighbourhood which I shall discribe as well as my slender botanicall skit will enable me and for the convenience of comparison with each other shal number them. (No 1.) a species which grows to immence size; very commonly 27 feet in the girth six feet above the surface of the earth, and in several instances we have found them as much as 36 feet in the girth or 12 feet diameter perfectly solid and entire. they frequently rise to the hight of 230 feet, and one hundred and twenty or 30 of that hight without a limb. this timber is white and soft throughout and rives better than any other species which we have tryed. the bark skales off in irregula rounded flakes and is of a redish brown colour particularly of the younger growth. the stem of this tree is simple branching, ascending, not very defuse, and proliferous. the leaf of this tree is acerose, 1/10th of an Inch in width, and 3/4 of an Inch in length; is firm, stif and accuminate; they are triangular, a little declining, thickly scattered on all sides of the bough, but rispect the three uppersides only and are also sessile growing from little triangular pedestals of soft spungy elastic bark. at the junction of the boughs, the bud-scales continue to incircle their rispective twigs for several yeas; at least three years is common and I have counted as many as the growth of four years beyond these scales. this tree affords but little rosin. it's cone I have not yet had an opportunity to discover altho I have sought it frequently; the trees of this kind which we have felled have had no cones on them.