The Journals of Lewis & Clark: June 6, 1805

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

June 6, 1805

Thursday June 6th 1805.

I now became well convinced that this branch of the Missouri had it's direction too much to the North for our rout to the Pacific, and therefore determined to return the next day after taking an observation of the sun's Meridian Altitude in order to fix the latitude of the place. The forepart of the last evening was fair but in the latter part of the night clouded up and contnued so with short intervals of sunshine untill a little before noon when the whole horizon was overcast, and I of course disappointed in making the observation which I much wished. I had sent Sergt. Pryor and Windsor early this morning with orders to procede up the river to some commanding eminence and take it's bearing as far as possible. in the mean time the four others and myself were busily engaged in making two rafts on which we purposed descending the river; we had just completed this work when Sergt. Pryor and Windsor returned, it being about noon; they reported that they had proceded from hence S 70 W. 6 m. to the summit of a commanding eminence from whence the river on their left was about 21/2 miles distant; that a point of it's Lard. bluff, which was visible boar S 80 W. distant about 15 ms.; that the river on their left bent gradually arround to this point, and from thence seemed to run Northwardly. we now took dinner and embarcked with our plunder and five Elk's skins on the rafts but were soon convinced that this mode of navigation was hazerdous particularly with those rafts they being too small and slender. we wet a part of our baggage and were near loosing one of our guns; I therefore determined to abandon the rafts and return as we had come, by land. I regreted much being obliged to leave my Elk's skins, which I wanted to assist in forming my leather boat; those we had prepared at Fort Mandan being injured in such manner that they would not answer. we again swung our packs and took our way through the open plains for about 12 mes. when we struck the river; the wind blew a storm from N. E. accompanyed by frequent showers of rain; we were wet and very could. continued our rout down the river only a few miles before the Abruptness of the clifts and their near approach to the river compelled us take the plains and once more face the storm; here we boar reather too much to the North and it was late in the evening before we reached the river, in our way we killed two buffaloe and took with us as much of the flesh as served us that night, and a part of the next day. we encamped a little below the entrance of the large dry Creek called Lark C. having traveled abut 25 mes. since noon. it continues to rain and we have no shelter, an uncomfortable nights rest is the natural consequence.

June 6th Thursday 1805

a Cloudy Cold raw day wind hard from the N. E. we Set out early & traveled down the little river which was imedeately in our Course on this river we killed 7 Deer for their Skins the bottoms of this little river is in everry respect except in extent like the large bottoms of the Missouri below the forks containing a great perpotion of a kind of Cotton wood with a leaf resembling a wild Cherry-. I also observed wild Tanzey on this little river in great quantities, we halted at 12 oClock and eate a part of a fat Buck, after Dinner we assended the Plain at which time it began to rain and Continued all day, at 5 oClock we arrived at our Camp on the point, where I expected to meet Capt Lewis- he did not return this evening.- my Self and party much fatigued haveing walked Constantly as hard as we Could march over a Dry hard plain, dcending & assending the Steep river hills & gullies, in my absence the party had killed an Elk & 2 buffalow, I Sent out for the meat a part of which was brought in- nothing remarkable had transpired at camp in my absence