Lewis, June 21, 1805
Friday June 21st 1805.
This morning I employed the greater part of the men in transporting a part of the bagage over portage creek to the top of the high plain about three miles in advance on the portage. I also had one canoe carryed on truck wheles to the same place and put the baggage in it, in order to make an early start in the morning, as the rout of our portage is not yet entirely settled, and it would be inconvenient to remain in the open plain all night at a distance from water, which would probably be the case if we did not set out early as the latter part of the rout is destitute of water for about 8 miles- having determined to go to the upper part of the portage tomorrow; in order to prepare my boat and receive and take care of the stores as they were transported, I caused the Iron frame of the boat and the necessary tools my private baggage and Instruments to be taken as a part of this load, also the baggage of Joseph Fields, Sergt. Gass and John sheilds, whom I had scelected to assist me in constructing the leather boat. Three men were employed today in shaving the Elk skins which had ben collected for the boat. the ballance of the party were employed in cuting the meat we had killed yesterday into thin Retches and drying it, and in bring in the ballance of what had been left over the river with three men last evening. I readily preceive several difficulties in preparing the leather boat which are the want of convenient and proper timber; bark, skins, and above all that of pitch to pay her seams, a deficiency that I really know not how to surmount unless it be by means of tallow and pounded charcoal which mixture has answered a very good purpose on our wooden canoes heretofore. I have seen for the first time on the Missouri at these falls, a species of fishing ducks with white wings, brown and white body and the head and part of the neck adjoining of a brick red, and the beak narrow; which I take to be the same common to James river, the Potomac and Susquehanna. immence numbers of buffaloe comeing to water at the river as usual. the men who remained over the river last night killed several mule deer, and Willard who was with me killed a young Elk. The wind blew violently all day. The growth of the neighbourhood what little there is consists of the broad and narrow leafed cottonwood, box alder, the large or sweet willow, the narrow and broad leafed willow. the sweet willow has not been common to the Missouri below this or the entrance of Maria's river; here attains to the same size and in appearance much the same as in the Atlantic States. the undergrowth consists of rosebushes, goosberry and current bushes, honeysuckle small, and the red wood, the inner bark of which the engages are fond of smoking mixed with tobacco.