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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, June 6, 1805

Thursday June 6th 1805.

I now became well convinced that this branch of the Missouri had it's direction too much to the North for our rout to the Pacific, and therefore determined to return the next day after taking an observation of the sun's Meridian Altitude in order to fix the latitude of the place. The forepart of the last evening was fair but in the latter part of the night clouded up and contnued so with short intervals of sunshine untill a little before noon when the whole horizon was overcast, and I of course disappointed in making the observation which I much wished. I had sent Sergt. Pryor and Windsor early this morning with orders to procede up the river to some commanding eminence and take it's bearing as far as possible. in the mean time the four others and myself were busily engaged in making two rafts on which we purposed descending the river; we had just completed this work when Sergt. Pryor and Windsor returned, it being about noon; they reported that they had proceded from hence S 70 W. 6 m. to the summit of a commanding eminence from whence the river on their left was about 21/2 miles distant; that a point of it's Lard. bluff, which was visible boar S 80 W. distant about 15 ms.; that the river on their left bent gradually arround to this point, and from thence seemed to run Northwardly. we now took dinner and embarcked with our plunder and five Elk's skins on the rafts but were soon convinced that this mode of navigation was hazerdous particularly with those rafts they being too small and slender. we wet a part of our baggage and were near loosing one of our guns; I therefore determined to abandon the rafts and return as we had come, by land. I regreted much being obliged to leave my Elk's skins, which I wanted to assist in forming my leather boat; those we had prepared at Fort Mandan being injured in such manner that they would not answer. we again swung our packs and took our way through the open plains for about 12 mes. when we struck the river; the wind blew a storm from N. E. accompanyed by frequent showers of rain; we were wet and very could. continued our rout down the river only a few miles before the Abruptness of the clifts and their near approach to the river compelled us take the plains and once more face the storm; here we boar reather too much to the North and it was late in the evening before we reached the river, in our way we killed two buffaloe and took with us as much of the flesh as served us that night, and a part of the next day. we encamped a little below the entrance of the large dry Creek called Lark C. having traveled abut 25 mes. since noon. it continues to rain and we have no shelter, an uncomfortable nights rest is the natural consequence.