The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 17, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 16, 1805
July 18, 1805

July 17, 1805

Wednesday July 17th 1805.

The sunflower is in bloom and abundant in the river bottoms. The Indians of the Missouri particularly those who do not cultivate maze make great uce of the seed of this plant for bread, or use it in thickening their scope. they most commonly first parch the seed and then pound them between two smooth stones until) they reduce it to a fine meal. to this they sometimes mearly add a portion of water and drink it in that state, or add a sufficient quantity of marrow grease to reduce it to the consistency of common dough and eate it in that manner. the last composition I think much best and have eat it in that state heartily and think it a pallateable dish. there is but little of the broad leafed cottonwood above the falls, much the greater portion being of the narrow leafed kind. there are a great abundance of red yellow perple & black currants, and service berries now ripe and in great perfection. I find these fruits very pleasent particularly the yellow currant which I think vastly preferable to those of our gardens. the shrub which produces this fruit rises to the hight of 6 or 8 feet; the stem simple branching and erect. they grow closly ascociated in cops either in the oppen or timbered lands near the watercouses. the leaf is petiolate of a pale green and resembles in it's form that of the red currant common to our gardens. the perianth of the fructification is one leaved, five cleft, abreviated and tubular, the corolla is monopetallous funnel-shaped; very long, superior, withering and of a fine orrange colour. five stamens and one pistillum; of the first, the fillaments are capillare, inserted into the corolla, equal, and converging; the anther ovate, biffid and incumbent. with rispect to the second the germ is roundish, smoth, inferior pedicelled and small; the style, long, and thicker than the stamens, simple, cylindrical, smooth, and erect, withering and remains with the corolla untill the fruit is ripe. stigma simple obtuse and withering.- the fruit is a berry about the size and much the shape of the red currant of our gardins, like them growing in clusters supported by a compound footstalk, but the peduncles which support the several berries are longer in this species and the berries are more scattered. it is quite as transparent as the red current of our gardens, not so ascid, & more agreeably flavored. the other species differ not at all in appearance from the yellow except in the colour and flavor of their berries. I am not confident as to the colour of the corolla, but all those which I observed while in blume as we came up the Missouri were yellow but they might possibly have been all of the yellow kind and that the perple red and black currants here may have corollas of different tints from that of the yellow currant.- The survice berry differs somewhat from that of the U States the bushes are small sometimes not more than 2 feet high and scarcely ever exceed 8 and are proportionably small in their stems, growing very thickly ascosiated in clumps. the fruit is the same form but for the most part larger more lucious and of so deep a perple that on first sight you would think them black.- there are two species of goosbirris here allso but neither of them yet ripe. the choke cherries also abundant and not yet ripe. there is Box alder, red willow and a species of sumac here also. there is a large pine tree situated on a small island at the head of these rappids above our camp; it being the first we have seen for a long distance near the river I called the island pine island. This range of the rocky mountains runs from S E to N. W.- at 8 A.M. this morning Capt. Clark arrived with the party. we took breakfast here, after which I had the box which contained my instruments taken by land arround tower rock to the river above the rappid; the canoes ascended with some difficulty but without loss or injury, with their loads.

After making those observations we proceed, and as the canoes were still heavy loaded all persons not employed in navigating the canoes walled on shore. the river clifts were so steep and frequently projecting into the river with their perpendicular points in such manner that we could not pass them by land, we wer therefore compelled to pass and repass the river very frequently in the couse of the evening. the bottoms are narrow the river also narrow deep and but little current. river from 70 to 100 yds. wide. but little timber on the river aspin constitutes a part of that little. see more pine than usual on the mountains tho still but thinly scattered. we saw some mountain rams or bighorned anamals this evening, and no other game whatever and indeed there is but little appearance of any. in some places both banks of the river are formed for a short distance of nearly perpendicular rocks of a dark black grannite of great hight; the river has the appearance of having cut it's passage in the course of time through this solid rock. we ascended about 6 miles this evening from the entrance of the mountain and encamped on the Stard. side where we found as much wood as made our fires. musquetoes still troublesome knats not as much so.- Capt. C. now informed me that after I left him yesterday, he saw the poles of a large lodge in praire on the Stard. side of the river which was 60 feet in diameter and appeared to have been built last fall; there were the remains of about 80 leather lodges near the place of the same apparent date. This large lodge was of the same construction of that mentioned above the white bear Islands. the party came on very well and encamped on the lower point of an island near the Stard. shore on that evening. this morning they had set out early and proceeded without obstruction untill they reached the rappid where I was encamped.

July 17th Wednesday 1805

Set out early this morning and Crossed the rapid at the Island Cald pine rapid with Some dificuelty, at this rapid I came up with Capt Lewis & party took a Medn. altitude & we took Some Luner Observations &c. and proceeded on, the emence high Precipies oblige all the party to pass & repass the river from one point to another the river confined in maney places in a verry narrow Chanel from 70 to 120 yards wide bottoms narrow without timber and maney places the mountain approach on both Sides, we observe great deel of Scattering pine on the mountains, Some aspin, Spruce & fur trees took a meridian altd. which gave for Lattitude 46° 42' 14" 7/10 N we proceeded on verry well about 8 miles & Camped on the Stard Side The river crooked bottoms narrow, Clifts high and Steep, I assended a Spur of the Mountain which I found to be highe & dificuelt of axcess, Containig Pitch Pine & Covered with grass Scercely any game to be Seen The yellow Current now ripe also the fussey red Choke Cheries getting ripe Purple Current are also ripe. Saw Several Ibex or mountain rams to day