The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 16, 1805

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

July 16, 1805

Tuesday July 16th 1805.

We had a heavy dew last night sen one man back this morning for an ax that he had carelessly left last evening some miles below, and set out at an early hour. early this morning we passed about 40 little booths formed of willow bushes to shelter them from the sun; they appeared to have been deserted about 10 days; we supposed that they were snake Indians. they appeared to have a number of horses with them-. this appearance gives me much hope of meeting with these people shortly. Drewyer killed a buffaloe this morning near the river and we halted and breakfasted on it. here for the first time I ate of the small guts of the buffaloe cooked over a blazing fire in the Indian stile without any preperation of washing or other clensing and found them very good.- After breakfast I determined to leave Capt. C. and party, and go on to the point where the river enters the Rocky Mountains and make the necessary observations against their arrival; accordingly I set out with the two invalleds Potts and LaPage and Drewyer; I passed through a very handsome level plain on the Stard. side of the river, the country equally level and beautiful) on the opposite side; at the distance of 8 mes. passed a small stream on which I observed a considerable quantity of aspin. a little before 12 I halted on the river at a Stard. bend and well timbered bottom about 41/2 miles below the mountains and made the following observation.

after this observation we pursued our rout through a high roling plain to a rappid immediately at the foot of the mountain where the Missouri first enters them. the current of the missouri below these rappids is strong for several miles, tho just above there is scarcely any current, the river very narrow and deep abot 70 yds. wide only and seems to be closely hemned in by the mountains on both sides, the bottoms only a few yards in width. an Indian road enters the mountain at the same place with the river on the Stard side and continues along it's border under the steep clifts these mountains appear to be only about 800 feet above the river and are formed almost entirely of a hard black grannite. with a few dwarf pine and cedar scattered on them. at this place there is a large rock of 400 feet high wich stands immediately in the gap which the missouri makes on it's passage from the mountains; it is insulated from the neighbouring mountains by a handsome little plain which surrounds it base on 3 sides and the Missouri washes it's base on the other, leaving it on the Lard. as it decends. this rock I called the tower. it may be ascended with some difficulty nearly to it's summit, and from it there is a most pleasing view of the country we are now about to leave. from it I saw this evening immence herds of buffaloe in the plains below. near this place we killed a fat elk on which we both dined and suped. the Musquetoes are extreemly troublesome this evening and I had left my bier, of course suffered considerably, and promised in my wrath that I never will be guily of a similar peice of negligence while on this voyage.

July 16th Tuesday 1805

a fair morning after a verry cold night, heavy dew, dispatched one man back for an ax left a fiew miles below, and Set out early Killed a Buffalow on which we Brackfast Capt Lewis & 3 men went on to the mountain to take a meridian altitude, passed about 40 Small Camps, which appeared to be abandoned about 10 or 12 days, Suppose they were Snake Indians, a fiew miles above I Saw the poles Standing in thir position of a verry large lodge of 60 feet Diamater, & the appearance of a number of Leather Lodges about, this Sign was old & appeared to have been last fall great number of buffalow the river is not So wide as below from 100 to 150 yards wide & Deep Crouded with Islands & Crooked Some Scattering timber on its edge Such as Cotton wood Cotton willow, willow and box elder, the Srubs are arrow wod, red wood, Choke Cherry, red berries, Goose beries, Sarvis burey, red & yellow Currents a Spcie of Shomake &c.

I camped on the head of a Small Island near the Stard. Shore at the Rockey Mountains this Range of mountains appears to run N W & S E and is about 800 feet higher than the Water in the river faced with a hard black rock the current of the River from the Medison river to the mountain is gentle bottoms low and extensive, and its General Course is S. 10° W. about 30 miles on a direct line