The Journals of Lewis & Clark: May 23, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
May 22, 1805
May 24, 1805

May 23, 1805

Thursday May 23rd 1805.

Set out early this morning, the frost was severe last night, the ice appeared along the edge of the water, water also freized on the oars. at the distance of one mile passed the entrance of a creek 15 yds. wide on Stard. side, this we call Teapot Creek, it affords no water at it's mouth but has runing water at some small distance above, this I beleive to be the case with many of those creekes which we have passed since we entered this hilley country, the water is absorbed by the earth near the river and of course appear dry; they afford but little water at any rate, and that is so strongly impregnated with these salts that it is unfit for uce; all the wild anamals appear fond of this water; I have tryed it by way of experiment & find it moderately pergative, but painfull to the intestens in it's opperation. this creek runs directly towards some low mountains which lye N. W. of it and appear to be about 30 mes. distant, perhaps it heads in them. This range of mountains appear to be about 70 miles long runing from E to W. having their Eastern extremity about 30 mes. distant in a northwardly direction from pot Island.- also passed two small creeks on Lard. and two others on Stard. all inconsiderable and dry at their entrances. just above the entrance of Teapot Creek on the stard. there is a large assemblage of the burrows of the Burrowing Squirrel they generally seelect a south or a south Easterly exposure for their residence, and never visit the brooks or river for water; I am astonished how this anamal exists as it dose without water, particularly in a country like this where there is scarcely any rain during Yi of the year and more rarely any due; yet we have sometimes found their villages at the distance of five or six miles from any water, and they are never found out of the limits of the ground which their burrows occupy; in the Autumn when the hard frosts commence they close their burrows and do not venture out again untill spring, indeed some of them appear to be yet in winter quarters. passed 3 Islands the two first covered with tall cottonwood timber and the last with willows only. river more rappid, & the country much the same as yesterday. some spruce pine of small size appears among the pitch pine, and reather more rock than usual on the face of the hills. The musquetoes troublesome this evening, a circumstance I did not expect from the temperature of the morning. The Gees begin to lose the feathers of their wings and are unable to fly. Capt Clark walked on shore and killed 4 deer and an Elk. We killed a large fat brown bear which took the water after being wounded and was carried under some driftwood where he sunk and we were unable to get him. Saw but few buffaloe today, but a great number of Elk, deer, some antelopes and 5 bear. The wild rose which is now in blume are very abundant, they appear to differ but little from those common to the Atlantic States, the leaves of the bushes and the bush itself appear to be of somewhat smaller size.

May 23rd Thursday 1805

a Severe frost last night, the Thrmotr. Stood at the freesing point this morning i e 32 a 0. wind S W. the water freeses on the oars. Ice on the edge of the river we Set out at an early hour and passed the mouth a Creek at 1 mile on the Stard. Side which heads in a mountain N W of its mouth 30 or _____ miles, the Countrey on each Side is as passed yesterday passed 2 Small Creeks on the Stard & 2 on the Lard. Side to day. a mountain which appears to be 60 or 70 miles long bearing E. & W is about 25 miles distant from this river on the Stard Side Notherley of Pot Island I walked on Shore and killed 4 deer & an Elk, & a beaver in the evening we killed a large fat Bear, which we unfortunately lost in the river, after being Shot took the water & was Carried under a drift passed in course of this day three Islands, two of them Covered with tall timber & a 3rd with willows

The after part of this day was worm & the Misquitors troublesome. Saw but five Buffalow a number of Elk & Deer & 5 bear & 2 Antilopes to day. the river beginning to rise, and Current more rapid than yesterday, in maney places I saw Spruces on the hills Sides Stard. this evening.