The Journals of Lewis & Clark: February 3, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
February 2, 1805
February 4, 1805

February 3, 1805

3rd of February Sunday 1805.

a fine day; the blacksmith again commences his opperations. we were visited by but few of the natives today. the situation of our boat and perogues is now allarming, they are firmly inclosed in the Ice and almost covered with snow. The ice which incloses them lyes in several stratas of unequal thicknesses which are seperated by streams of water. this peculiarly unfortunate because so soon as we cut through the first strata of ice the water rushes up and rises as high as the upper surface of the ice and thus creates such a debth of water as renders it impracticable to cut away the lower strata which appears firmly attatched to, and confining the bottom of the vessels. the instruments we have hitherto used has been the ax only, with which, we have made several attempts that proved unsuccessful) from the cause above mentioned. we then determined to attempt freeing them from the ice by means of boiling water which we purposed heating in the vessels by means of hot stones, but this expedient proved also fruitless, as every species of stone which we could procure in the neighbourhood partook so much of the calcarious genus that they burst into small particles on being exposed to the heat of the fire. we now determined as the dernier resort to prepare a parse) of Iron spikes and attatch them to the end of small poles of convenient length and endeavour by means of them to free the vessels from the ice. we have already prepared a large rope of Elk-skin and a windless by means of which we have no doubt of being able to draw the boat on the bank provided we can free from the ice.

3rd of February 1805 our provisions of meat being nearly exorsted I concluded to Decend the River on the Ice & hunt, I Set out with about 16 men 3 horses & 2 Slays Descended nearly 60 miles Killed & loaded the horses back, & made 2 pens which we filed with meat, & returned on the 13th we Killed 40 Deer, 3 Bulls 19 Elk, maney So meager that they were unfit for use