Lewis, August 4, 1806
Monday August 4th 1806. Set out at 4 A.M. this morning. permited Willard and Sergt. Ordway to exchange with the Feildses and take their small canoe to hunt to-day. at 1/2 after eleven O'Ck. passed the entrance of big dry river; found the water in this river about 60 yds. wide tho shallow. it runs with a boald even currant. at 3 P.M. we arrived at the entrance of Milk river where we halted a few minutes. this stream is full at present and it's water is much the colour of that of the Missouri; it affords as much water at present as Maria's river and I have no doubt extends itself to a considerable distance North. during our halt we killed a very large rattlesnake of the speceis common to our country. it had 176 scuta on the abdomen and 25 on the tail, it's length 5 feet. the scutae on the tail fully formed. after passing this river we saw several large herds of buffaloe and Elk we killed one of each of these animals and took as much of the flesh as we wished. we encamped this evening two miles below the gulph on the N. E. side of the river. Tonight for the first time this season I heard the small whippoorwill or goatsucker of the Missouri cry. Colter and Collins have not yet overtaken us. Ordway and Willard delayed so much time in hunting today that they did not overtake us untill about midnight. they killed one bear and 2 deer. in passing a bend just below the gulph it being dark they were drawn by the currant in among a parsel of sawyers, under one of which the canoe was driven and throwed Willard who was steering overboard; he caught the sawyer and held by it; Ordway with the canoe drifted down about half a mile among the sawyers under a falling bank, the canoe struck frequently but did not overset; he at length gained the shore and returned by land to learn the fate of Willard whom he found was yet on the sawyer; it was impossible for him to take the canoe to his relief Willard at length tied a couple of sticks together which had lodged against the sawyer on which he was and set himself a drift among the sawyers which he fortunately escaped and was taken up about a mile below by Ordway with the canoe; they sustained no loss on this occasion. it was fortunate for Willard that he could swim tolerably well.