The Journals of Lewis & Clark: June 16, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
June 15, 1805
June 17, 1805

June 16, 1805

Sunday June 16th 1805

J. Fields set out early on his return to the lower camp, at noon the men arrived and shortly after I set out with them to rejoin the party. we took with us the dryed meat consisting of about 600 lbs. and several douzen of dryed trout. about 2 P.M. I reached the camp found the Indian woman extreemly ill and much reduced by her indisposition. this gave me some concern as well for the poor object herself, then with a young child in her arms, as from the consideration of her being our only dependence for a friendly negociation with the Snake Indians on whom we depend for horses to assist us in our portage from the Missouri to the columbia River. I now informed Capt. C. of my discoveries with rispect to the most proper side for our portage, and of it's great length, which I could not estimate at less than 16 miles. Capt. C. had already sent two men this morning to examine the country on the S. side of the river; he now passed over with the party to that side and fixed a camp about a mile blow the entrance of a Creek where there was a sufficient quantity of wood for fuel, an article which can be obtained but in few places in this neighbourhood. after discharging the loads four of the canoes were sent back to me, which by means of strong ropes we hawled above the rappid and passed over to the south side from whence the water not being rappid we can readily convey them into the creek by means of which we hope to get them on the high plain with more ease. one of the small canoes was left below this rappid in order to pass and repass the river for the purpose of hunting as well as to procure the water of the Sulpher spring, the virtues of which I now resolved to try on the Indian woman. this spring is situated about 200 yards from the Missouri on the N. E. side nearly opposite to the entrance of a large creek; it discharges itself into the Missouri over a precepice of rock about 25 feet, forming a pretty little ____ the water is as transparent as possible strongly impregnated with sulpher, and I suspect Iron also, as the colour of the hills and bluffs in the neighbourhood indicate the existence of that metal. the water to all appearance is precisely similar to that of Bowyer's Sulpher spring in Virginia. Capt. Clark determined to set out in the morning to examine and survey the portage, and discover the best rout. as the distance was too great to think of transporting the canoes and baggage on the men's shoulders, we scelected six men, and ordered them to look out some timber this evening, and early in the morning to set about making a parsel of truck wheels in order to convey our canoes and baggage over the portage. we determined to leave the white perogue at this place, and substitute the Iron boat, and also to make a further deposit of a part of our stores. in the evening the men who had been sent out to examine the country and made a very unfavourable report. they informed us that the creek just above us and two deep ravenes still higher up cut the plain between the river and mountain in such a manner, that in their opinions a portage for the canoes on this side was impracticable. good or bad we must make the portage. notwithstanding this report I am still convinced from the view I had of the country the day before yesterday that a good portage may be had on this side at least much better than on the other, and much nearer also. I found that two dozes of barks and opium which I had given her since my arrival had produced an alteration in her pulse for the better; they were now much fuller and more regular. I caused her to drink the mineral water altogether. wen I first came down I found that her pulse were scarcely perceptible, very quick frequently irregular and attended with strong nervous symptoms, that of the twitching of the fingers and leaders of the arm; now the pulse had become regular much fuller and a gentle perspiration had taken place; the nervous symptoms have also in a great measure abated, and she feels herself much freeer from pain. she complains principally of the lower region of the abdomen, I therefore continued the cataplasms of barks and laudnumn which had been previously used by my friend Capt Clark. I beleive her disorder originated principally from an obstruction of the mensis in consequence of taking could.- I determined to remain at this camp in order to make some celestial observations, restore the sick woman, and have all matters in a state of readiness to commence the portage immediately on the return of Capt. Clark, who now furnished me with the dayly occurrences which had taken place with himself and party since our seperation which I here enter in his own words.

June 16th of Sunday 1805

Some rain last night a cloudy morning wind hard from the S. W. we Set out passed the rapid by double manning the Perogue & Canoes and halted at 1/4 of a mile to examine the rapids above, which I found to be an Continued Cascade for as far as could be Seen which was about 2 miles, I walked up on the Lard Side as high as a large Creek, which falls in on the Lard. Side one mile above & opposit a large Sulpher Spring which falls over the rocks on the Std. Side the wind rored from the S. W. hard & Some rain, at about 2 oClock Capt Lewis joined me from the falls 5 miles distant, & infd. that the Lard Side was the best portage I despatched 2 men this morning on the Lard. Side to examine the portage.- the Indian woman verry bad, & will take no medisin what ever, untill her husband finding her out of her Senses, easyly provailed on her to take medison, if She dies it will be the fault of her husband as I am now convinced-. we crossed the river after part of the day and formed a Camp from which we intended to make the first portage, Capt. Lewis stayed on the Std Side to direct the Canoes over the first riffle 4 of them passed this evening the others unloaded & part of the Perogue Loading taken out- I deturmined to examine & Survey the Portage find a leavel rout if possible- The 2 men despatched to examine the Portage gave an unfavourable account of the Countrey, reporting that the Creek & 2 deep reveens cut the Prarie in such a manner between the river and mountain as to render a portage in their oppinion for the Canoes impossible- we Selected 6 men to make wheels & to draw the Canoes on as the distance was probably too far for to be caried on the mens Sholders