The Journals of Lewis & Clark: May 17, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
May 16, 1805
May 18, 1805

May 17, 1805

May 17th Friday 1805

a fine morning wind from the N W. mercury at 60° a 0. river falling a little. we Set out at an early hour and proceeded on verry well by the assistance of the Toe rope principally, the Countrey verry rugged & hills high and the river washing the base on each Side, Great appearance of the Salt Substance. a fiew Cotton trees is the only timber which is Scattered in the bottoms & the hills contain a fiew Pine & Cedar, which is Scattered. river much narrower than below from 2 to 300 yards wide, the bottoms muddey & hills rich earth except near their topes- We passed 2 large Creeks to day one on the Starbd Side and the other just below our camp on the Lard. Side each of those creeks has a little running water near their mouthes which has a brackish taste, I was nearly treading on a Small fierce rattle Snake different from any I had ever Seen &c. one man the party killed another of the Same kind. I walked on Shore after dinner & killed an Elk- the party in my absence Killed a female Brown or yellow Bear which was meagre the appearances of the Hills & Countrey is as before mentioned except a greater appearance of the white appearance of Salts or tarter and Some Coal which has been thrown out by the floods in the last Creek- Buffalow & Deer is not plenty to day, Elk is yet to be Seen in abundance we Camped in the upper part of a Small timbered bottom on the Lard. Side in which I Saw a fortified Indian Camp, which I Suppose is one of the Camps of a Mi ne tar re war party of about 15 men, that Set out from their village in March last to war against the Blackfoot Indians.

we were roused late at night and warned of the danger of fire from a tree which had Cought and leaned over our Lodge, we had the lodge moved Soon after the Dry limbs & top of the tree fell in the place the Lodge Stood, the wind blew hard and the dry wood Cought & fire flew in every direction, burnt our Lodge verry much from the Coals which fell on it altho at Some distance in the plain, the whole party was much disturbed by this fire which could not be extinguished &c