The Journals of Lewis & Clark: June 22, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
June 21, 1805
June 23, 1805

June 22, 1805

Saturday June 22cd 1805.

This morning early Capt Clark and myself with all the party except Sergt. Ordway Sharbono, Goodrich, york and the Indian woman, set out to pass the portage with the canoe and baggage to the Whitebear Islands, where we intend that this portage shall end. Capt. Clarke piloted us through the plains. about noon we reached a little stream about 8 miles on the portage where we halted and dined; we were obliged here to renew both axeltrees and the tongues and howns of one set of wheels which took us no more than 2 hours. these parts of our carriage had been made of cottonwood and one axetree of an old mast, all of which proved deficient and had broken down several times before we reached this place we have now renewed them with the sweet willow and hope that they will answer better. after dark we had reached within half a mile of our intended camp when the tongues gave way and we were obliged to leave the canoe, each man took as much of the baggage as he could carry on his back and proceeded to the river where we formed our encampment much fortiegued. the prickly pears were extreemly troublesome to us sticking our feet through our mockersons. Saw a great number of buffaloe in the plains, also immence quantities of little birds and the large brown curloo; the latter is now seting; it lays it's eggs, which are of a pale blue with black specks, on the ground without any preperation of a nest. there is a kind of larke here that much resembles the bird called the oldfield lark with a yellow brest and a black spot on the croop; tho this differs from ours in the form of the tail which is pointed being formed of feathers of unequal length; the beak is somewhat longer and more curved and the note differs considerably; however in size, action, and colours there is no perceptable difference; or at least none that strikes my eye. after reaching our camp we kindled our fires and examined the meat which Capt. Clark had left, but found only a small proportion of it, the wolves had taken the greater part. we eat our suppers and soon retired to rest.

June 22nd Satturday 1805

a fine morning, Capt Lewis my Self and all the party except a Sergeant Ordway Guterich and the Interpreter and his wife Sar car gah we a (who are left at Camp to take Care of the baggage left) across the portage with one Canoe on truck wheels and loaded with a part of our Baggage I piloted thro the plains to the Camp I made at which place I intended the portage to end which is 3 miles above the Medesin River we had great dificuelty in getting on as the axeltree broke Several times, and the Cuppling tongus of the wheels which was of Cotton & willow, the only wood except Boxelder & ____ that grow in this quarter, we got within half a mile of our intended Camp much fatigued at dark, our tongus broke & we took a load to the river on the mens back, where we found a number of wolves which had distroyed a great part of our meat which I had left at that place when I was up day before yesterday we Soon went to Sleep & Slept Sound wind from the ____ we deturmine to employ every man Cooks & all on the portage after to day

Canoe and baggage brought up, after which we breakfasted and nearly consumed the meat which he had left here. he now set out on his return with the party. I employed the three men with me in the forenoon clearing away the brush and forming our camp, and puting the frame of the boat together. this being done I sent Shields and Gass to look out for the necessary timber, and with J. Fields decended the river in the canoe to the mouth of Medicine river in surch of the hunters whom I had dispatched thither on the 19th inst. and from whom we had not heard a sentence. I entered the mouth of medicine river and ascended it about half a mile when we landed and walked up the Stard. side. frequently hooping as we went on in order to find the hunters; at length after ascending the river about five miles we found Shannon who had passed the Medecine river & fixed his camp on the Lard. side, where he had killed seven deer and several buffaloe and dryed about 600 lbs. of buffaloe meat; but had killed no Elk. Shannon could give me no further account of R. Fields and Drewyer than that he had left them about noon on the 19th at the great falls and had come on the mouth of Medicine river to hunt Elk as he had been directed, and never had seen them since. the evening being now far spent I thought it better to pass the Medicine river and remain all night at Shannon's camp; I passed the river on a raft which we soon constructed for the purpose. the river is here about 80 yds. wide, is deep and but a moderate current. the banks low as those of the Missouri above the falls yet never appear to overflow. as it will give a better view of the transactions of the party, I shall on each day give the occurrences of both camps during our seperation as I afterwards learnt those of the lower camp from Capt. Clark. on his return today he cut of several angles of the rout by which we came yesterday, shortened the portage considerably, measured it and set up stakes throughout as guides to marke the rout. he returned this evening to the lower camp in sufficient time to take up two of the canoes from portage creek to the top of the plain about a mile in advance. this evening the men repaired their mockersons, and put on double souls to protect their feet from the prickley pears. during the late rains the buffaloe have troden up the praire very much, which having now become dry the sharp points of earth as hard as frozen ground stand up in such abundance that there is no avoiding them. this is particulary severe on the feet of the men who have not only their own wight to bear in treading on those hacklelike points but have also the addition of the burthen which they draw and which in fact is as much as they can possibly move with. they are obliged to halt and rest frequently for a few minutes, at every halt these poor fellows tumble down and are so much fortiegued that many of them are asleep in an instant; in short their fatiegues are incredible; some are limping from the soreness of their feet, others faint and unable to stand for a few minutes, with heat and fatiegue, yet no one complains, all go with cheerfullness. in evening Reubin Fields returned to the lower camp and informed Capt. Clark of the absence of Shannon, with rispect to whome they were extreemly uneasy. Fields and Drewyer had killed several buffaloe at the bend of the missouri above the falls and had dryed a considerable quantity of meat; they had also killed several deer but no Elk.