The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 20, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 19, 1805
July 21, 1805

July 20, 1805

Saturday 20 h 1805.

Set out early this morning as usual, currant strong, we therefore employ the toe rope when ever the banks permit the use of it; the water is reather deep for the seting pole in most places. at 6 A.M. the hills retreated from the river and the valley became wider than we have seen it since we entered the mountains. some scattering timber on the river and in the valley. consisting of the narrowleafed Cottonwood aspin & pine. vas numbers of the several species of currants goosberries and service berries; of each of these I preserved some seeds. I found a black currant which I thought preferable in flavor to the yellow. this currant is really a charming fruit and I am confident would be prefered at our markets to any currant now cultivated in the U States. we killed an Elk this morning which was very acceptable to us. through the valley which we entered early in the morning a large creek flows from the mountains and discharges itself into the river behind an island on Stard. side about 15 yds. wide this we called Potts's Creek after John Potts one of our party. about 10 A.M. we saw the smoke arrose as if the country had been set on fire up the valley of this creek about 7 ms. distant we were at a loss to determine whether it had been set on fire by the natives as a signall among themselves on discovering us, as is their custom or whether it had been set on fire by Capt. C. and party accedentally. the first however proved to be the fact, they had unperceived by us discovered Capt. Clark's party or mine, and had set the plain on fire to allarm the more distant natives and fled themselves further into the interior of the mountains. this evening we found the skin of an Elk and part of the flesh of the anamal which Capt. C. had left near the river at the upper side of the valley where he assended the mountain with a note informing me of his transactions and that he should pass the mounts which lay just above us and wate our arrival at some convenient place on the river. the other elk which Capt. C. had killed we could not find. about 2 in the evening we had passed through a range of low mountains and the country bacame more open again, tho still broken and untimbered and the bottoms not very extensive. we encamped on the Lard. side near a spring on a high bank the prickly pears are so abundant that we could scarcely find room to lye. just above our camp the river is again closed in by the Mouts. on both sides. I saw a black woodpecker today about the size of the lark woodpecker as black as a crow. I indevoured to get a shoot at it but could not. it is a distinct species of woodpecker; it has a long tail and flys a good deel like the jay bird.

This morning Capt. Clark set out early and proceeded on through a valley leaving the river about six miles to his left; he fell in with an old Indian road which he pursued untill it struck the river about 18 miles from his camp of the last evening just above the entrance of a large creek which we call white paint Creek. the party were so much fortiegued with their march and their feet cut with the flint and perced with the prickly pears untill they had become so painfull that he proceeded but little further before he determined to encamp on the river and wait my arrival.- Capt. C. saw a smoke today up the valley of Pryor's creek which was no doubt caused by the natives likewise. he left signals or signs on his rout in order to inform the indians should they pursue his trale that we were not their enemies, but white men and their friends.- cloth &c

July 20th Satturday 1805

a fine morning we proceded on thro a valley leaveing the river about 6 miles to our left and fell into an Indian roade which took us to the river above the mo. of a Creek 18 miles The Misquetors verry troublesom my man York nearly tired out, the bottoms of my feet blistered. I observe a Smoke rise to our right up the Valley of the last Creek about 12 miles distant, The Cause of this Smoke I can't account for certainly tho think it probable that the Indians have heard the Shooting of the Partey below and Set the Praries or Valey on fire to allarm their Camps; Supposeing our party to be a war party comeing against them, I left Signs to Shew the Indians if they Should come on our trail that we were not their enemeys. Camped on the river, the feet of the men with me So Stuck with Prickley pear & cut with the Stones that they were Scerseley able to march at a Slow gate this after noon