The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, August 1, 1805
Lewis, August 1, 1805
Thursday August 1st 1805.
This morning we set out early and proceeded on tolerably well untill 8 OCT. by which time we had arrived within a few miles of a mountain through which the river passes. we halted on the Stard. side and took breakfast. after which or at 1/2 after 8 A.M. as had been previously concerted betwen Capt. Clark and myself I set out with three men in surch of the Snake Indians or Sosonees. our rout lay over a high range of mountains on the North side of the river. Capt C. recommended this rout to me no doubt from a beleif that the river as soon as it passed this chain of mountains boar to the N. of W. he having on the 26th ult. ascended these mountains to a position from whence he discoved a large valley passing between the mountains which boar to the N. W. and presumed that the river passed in that direction; this however proved to be the passage of a large creek which discharged itself into the river just above this range of mountains, the river bearing to the S. W. we were therefore thrown several miles out of our rout. as soon as we discovered our error we directed our course to the river which we at length gained about 2 P.M. much exhausted by the heat of the day, the roughness of the road and the want of water. the mountains are extreemly bare of timber, and our rout lay through the steep and narrow hollows of the mountains exposed to the intese heat of the midday sun without shade or scarcely a breath of air to add to my fatiegue in this walk of about 11 miles, I had taken a doze of glauber salts in the morning in consequence of a slight disentary with which I had been afflicted for several days. being weakened by the disorder and the operation of the medicine I found myself almost exhausted before we reached the river. I felt my sperits much revived on our near approach to the river at the sight of a herd of Elk, of which Drewyer and myself soon killed a couple. we then hurryed to the river and allayed our thirst. I ordered two of the men to skin the Elk and bring the meat to the river, while myself and the other prepared a fire and cooked some of the meat for our dinner. we made a comfortable meal on the Elk, and left the ballance of the meat and skins on the bank of the river for Capt. Clark and party. this supply will no doubt be acceptable to them, as they had had no fresh meat when I left them for almost 2 days except one beaver; game being very scarce and shy above the forks. we had seen a few deer and antelopes but had not been fortunate enough to kill any of them. as I passed these mountains I saw a flock of the black or dark brown phesants; the young phesant is almost grown we killed one of them. this bird is fully a third larger than the common phesant of the Atlantic states. it's form is much the same. it is booted nearly to the toes and the male has not the tufts of long black feathers on the sides of the neck which are so conspicuous in those of the Atlantic. their colour is a uniform dark brown with a small mixture of yellow or yelloish brown specks on some of the feathers particularly those of the tail, tho the extremities of these are perfectly black for about one inch. the eye is nearly black, the iris has a small dash of yellowish brown. the feathers of the tail are reather longer than that of our phesant or pattridge as they are Called in the Eastern States; are the same in number or eighteen and all nearly of the same length, those in the intermediate part being somewhat longest. the flesh of this bird is white and agreeably flavored. I also saw near the top of the mountain among some scattering pine a blue bird about the size of the common robbin. it's action and form is somewhat that of the jay bird and never rests long in any one position but constantly flying or hoping from sprey to sprey. I shot at one of them but missed it. their note is loud and frequently repeated both flying and when at rest and is char ah', char'ah, char ah', as nearly as letters can express it. after dinner we resumed our march and my pack felt much lighter than it had done about 2 hours before. we traveled about six miles further and encamped on the stard. bank of the river, making a distance of 17 miles for this day. the Musquetoes were troublesome but I had taken the precaution of bringing my bier.
Shortly after I left Capt. Clark this morning he proceed on and passed through the mountains; they formed tremendious clifts of ragged and nearly perpendicular rocks; the lower .part of this rock is of the black grannite before mentioned and the upper part a light coloured freestone. these clifts continue for 9 miles and approach the river very closely on either side. he found the current verry strong. Capt. C. killed a big horn on these clifts which himself and party dined on. after passing this range of mountains he entered this beautifull valley in which we also were it is from 6 to 8 miles wide. the river is crooked and crouded with islands, it's bottoms wide fertile and covered with fine grass from 9 inches to 2 feet high and possesses but a scant proportion of timber, which consists almost entirely of a few narrow leafed cottonwood trees distributed along the verge of the river. in the evening Capt. C. found the Elk I had left him and ascended a short distance above to the entrance of a large creek which falls in on Stard. and encamped opposite to it on the Lard. side. he sent out the two Fieldses to hunt this evening and they killed 5 deer, which with the Elk again gave them a plentifull store of fresh provisions. this large creek we called Field's Creek after Reubin Fields one our party. on the river about the mountains wich Capt. C. passed today he saw some large cedar trees and some juniper also just at the upper side of the mountain there is a bad rappid here the toe line of our canoe broke in the shoot of the rapids and swung on the rocks and had very nearly overset. a small distance above this rapid a large bold Creek falls in on Lard. side which we called Frazier's Creek after Robt. Frazier. They saw a large brown bear feeding on currants but could not get a shoot at him.