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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, June 27, 1805

Thursday June 27th 1805.

The party returned early this morning for the remaining canoe and baggage; Whitehouse was not quite well this morning I therefore detained him and about 10 A.M. set him at work with Frazier sewing the skins together for the boat; Shields and Gass continued the operation of shaving and fiting the horizontall bars of wood in the sections of the boat; the timber is so crooked and indifferent that they make but little progress, for myself I continued to act the part of cook in order to keep all hands employed. some Elk came near our camp and we killed 2 of them at 1 P.M. a cloud arrose to the S. W. and shortly after came on attended with violent Thunder Lightning and hail &c. (see notes on diary of the weather for June). soon after this storm was over Drewyer and J. Fields returned. they were about 4 miles above us during the storm, the hail was of no uncommon size where they were. They had killed 9 Elk and three bear during their absence; one of the bear was the largest by far that we have yet seen; the skin appear to me to be as large as a common ox. while hunting they saw a thick brushey bottom on the bank of the river where from the tracks along shore they suspected that there were bare concealed; they therefore landed without making any nois and climbed a leaning tree and placed themselves on it's branches about 20 feet above the ground, when thus securely fixed they gave a hoop and this large bear instantly rushed forward to the place from whence he had heard the human voice issue, when he arrived at the tree he made a short paus and Drewyer shot him in the head. it is worthy of remark that these bear never climb. the fore feet of this bear measured nine inches across and the hind feet eleven and - 3/4 in length & exclusive of the tallons and seven inches in width. a bear came within thirty yards of our camp last night and eat up about thirty weight of buffaloe suit which was hanging on a pole. my dog seems to be in a constant state of alarm with these bear and keeps barking all night. soon after the storm this evening the water on this side of the river became of a deep crimson colour which I pesume proceeded from some stream above and on this side. there is a kind of soft red stone in the bluffs and bottoms. of the gullies in this neighbourhood which forms this colouring matter.- At the lower camp. Capt. Clark completed a draught of the river with the couses and distances from the entrance of the Missouri to Ft. Mandan, which we intend depositing here in order to guard against accedents. Sergt. Pryor is somewhat better this morning. at 4 P.M. the party returned from the upper camp; Capt. C. gave them a drink of grog; they prepared for the labour of the next day. soon after the party returned it began to rain accompanyed by some hail and continued a short time; a second shower fell late in the evening accompanyed by a high wind from N. W.- the mangled carcases of several buffaloe pass down the river today which had no doubt perished in the falls.