The Journals of Lewis & Clark: May 6, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
May 5, 1805
May 7, 1805

May 6, 1805

Monday May 6th 1805.

The morning being fair and pleasant and wind favourable we set sale at an early hour, and proceeded on very well the greater part of the day; the country still continues level fertile and beautifull, the bottoms wide and well timbered comparitively speaking with other parts of the river; no appearance of birnt hills pumice stone or coal, the salts of tartar or vegitable salts continues to appear on the river banks, sand bars and in many parts of the plains most generally in the little revines at the base of the low hills. passed three streames today which discharged themselves on the Lard. side; the first of these we call little dry creek it contained some water in standing pools but discharged none, the 2ed 50 yards wide no Water, we called it Big dry Creek, the 3rd is bed of a conspicuous river 200 yards wide which we called little dry river; the banks of these streams are low and bottoms wide with but little timber, their beds are almost entirely formed of a fine brown sand intermixed with a small proportion of little pebbles, which were either transparent, white, green, red, yellow or brown. these streams appeared to continue their width without diminution as far as we could perceive them, which with rispect to the river was many miles, they had recenly discharged their waters. from the appearance of these streams, and the country through which they passed, we concluded that they had their souces in level low dry plains, which probably is the character of the country for a great distance west of this, or to the vicinity of the black hills, that the country being low on the same level nearly and in the same parallel of latitude, that the rains in the spring of the year suddonly melts the snow at the same time and causes for a few days a vast quantity of water which finds it's way to the Missouri through those channels; by reference to the diary of the weather &c it will be percieved that there is scarcely any rain during the summer Autumn and winter in this open country distant from the mountains. Fields still continues unwell. saw a brown bear swim the river above us, he disappeared before we can get in reach of him; I find that the curiossity of our party is pretty well satisfyed with rispect to this anamal, the formidable appearance of the male bear killed on the 5th added to the difficulty with which they die when even shot through the vital parts, has staggered the resolution several of them, others however seem keen for action with the bear; I expect these gentlemen will give us some amusement shotly as they soon begin now to coppolate. saw a great quantity of game of every species common here. Capt Clark walked on shore and killed two Elk, they were not in very good order, we therefore took a part of the meat only; it is now only amusement for Capt. C. and myself to kill as much meat as the party can consum; I hope it may continue thus through our whole rout, but this I do not much expect. two beaver were taken in traps this morning and one since shot by one of the party. saw numbers of these anamals peeping at us as we passed out of their wholes which they form of a cilindric shape, by burrowing in the face of the abbrupt banks of the river.

May 6th Monday 1805

a fine morning wind from the N. E. we Set out early and proceeded on verry well under Sail the greater part of the day, passed two Creeks & a River to day on the Lard. Side, neither of them discharged any water into the Missouri, they were wide and Continued their width for Some distance, the little water of those Creeks & the little river must wash the low Country, I believe those Streams to be the Conveyance of the water of the heavy rains & melting Snows in the Countrey back &c. &c. I walked on Shore and Killed two Elk neither of which was fat, we saved the best of the meat, one beaver Shot to day. the countrey on both Sides butifull no appearances of either Coal or pumice Stone & burnt hills, The Salts of Tarter or white aprs. of Salts are yet to be Seen.