The Journals of Lewis & Clark: April 9, 1805
April 9, 1805
Tuesday April 9th
Set out as early as it was possible to see this morning and proceed about five miles where we halted and took beakfas- the Indian man who had promised us to accompany us as far as the Snake Indians, now informed us of his intention to relinquish the journey, and accordingly returned to his village. we saw a great number of brant passing up the river, some of them were white, except the large feathers in the first and second joint of the wing which are black. there is no other difference between them and the common gray brant but that of their colour- their note and habits are the same, and they are freequently seen to associate together. I have not yet positively determined whether they are the same, or a different species.- Capt Clark walked on shore to-day and informed me on his return, that passing through the prarie he had seen an anamal that precisely resembled the burrowing squrril, accept in point of size, it being only about one third as large as the squirrel, and that it also burrows. I have observed in many parts of the plains and praries the work of an anamal of which I could never obtain a view. their work resembles that of the salamander common to the sand hills of the States of South Carolina and Georgia; and like that anamal also it never appears above the ground. the little hillocks which are thrown up by these anamals have much the appearance of ten or twelve pounds of loose earth poared out of a vessel on the surface of the plain. in the state they leave them you can discover no whole through which they throw out this earth; but by removing the loose earth gently you may discover that the soil has been broken in a circle manner for about an inch and a half in diameter, where it appears looser than the adjacent surface, and is certainly the place through which the earth has been thrown out, tho the operation is performed without leaving any visible aperture.- the Bluffs of the river which we passed today were upwards of a hundred feet high, formed of a mixture of yellow clay and sand- many horizontal stratas of carbonated wood, having every appearance of pitcoal at a distance; were seen in the the face of these bluffs. these stratas are of unequal thicknesses from I to 5 feet, and appear at different elivations above the water some of them as much as eighty feet. the hills of the river are very broken and many of them have the apearance of having been on fire at some former period. considerable quantities of pumice stone and lava appear in many parts of these hills where they are broken and washed down by the rain and melting snow. when we halted for dinner the squaw busied herself in serching for the wild artichokes which the mice collect and deposit in large hoards. this operation she performed by penetrating the earth with a sharp stick about some small collections of drift wood. her labour soon proved successful, and she procurrd a good quantity of these roots. the flavor of this root resembles that of the Jerusalem Artichoke, and the stalk of the weed which produces it is also similar, tho both the root and stalk are much smaller than the Jarusalem Artichoke. the root is white and of an ovate form, from one to three inches in length and usually about the size of a man's finger. one stalk produces from two to four, and somitimes six of these roots.
at the distance of 6 miles passed a large wintering or hunting camp of the Minetares on the Stard. side. these lodges about thirty in number are built of earth and timber in their usual stile. 21/4 miles higher we passed the entrance of Miry Creek, which discharges itself on the Stard. side. this creek is but small, takes it's rise in some small lakes near the Mouse river and passes in it's course to the Missouri, through beatifull, level, and fertile plains, intirely destitute of timber.- Three miles above the mouth of this creek we passed a hunting camp of Minetares who had prepared a park and were wating the return of the Antelope; which usually pass the Missouri at this season of the year from the Black hills on the South side, to the open plains on the north side of the river; in like manner the Antelope repasses the Missouri from N. to South in the latter end of Autumn, and winter in the black hills, where there is considerable bodies of woodland. we proceed on 111/2 miles further and encamped on the N. side in a most beatifull high extensive open bottom
9th of April Tuesday 1805.
Set out this morning verry early under a gentle breeze from the S. E. at Brackfast the Indian deturmined to return to his nation. I saw a Musquetor to day great numbers of Brant flying up the river, the Maple, & Elm has buded & Cotton and arrow wood beginning to bud. I saw in the prarie an animal resembling the Prarie dog or Barking Squirel & burrow in the Same way, this animal was about 1/3 as large as the barking Squirel. But fiew resident birds or water fowls which I have Seen as yet at 6 miles passed an old hunting camp of Menitarrees on the S. S. 21/2 miles higher passed the mouth of Miry Creek on the S. S. passed a hunting Camp of Minetarees on the S. S. waiting the return of the Antilope, Saw Great numbers of Gees feedin in the Praries on the young grass, I saw flowers in the praries to day, juniper grows on the Sides of the hills, & runs on the ground all the hills have more or Less indefferent Coal in Stratias at different bites from the waters edge to 80 feet. those Stratias from 1 inch to 5 feet thick. we Campd. on the S. S. above some rocks makeing out in the river in a butifull ellivated plain.