The Journals of Lewis & Clark: September 20, 1805

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

September 20, 1805

Friday September 20th 1805.

This morning my attention was called to a species of bird which I had never seen before. It was reather larger than a robbin, tho much it's form and action. the colours were a blueish brown on the back the wings and tale black, as wass a stripe above the croop 3/4 of an inch wide in front of the neck, and two others of the same colour passed from it's eyes back along the sides of the head. the top of the head, neck brest and belley and butts of the wing were of a fine yellowish brick reed. it was feeding on the buries of a species of shoemake or ash which grows common in country & which I first observed on 2d of this month. I have also observed two birds of a blue colour both of which I believe to be of the haulk or vulter kind. the one of a blue shining colour with a very high tuft of feathers on the head a long tale, it feeds on flesh the beak and feet black. it's note is cha-ah, cha-ah. it is about the size of a pigeon; and in shape and action resembles the jay bird.- another bird of very similar genus, the note resembling the mewing of the cat, with a white head and a light blue colour is also common, as are a black species of woodpecker about the size of the lark woodpecker Three species of Pheasants, a large black species, with some white feathers irregularly scattered on the brest neck and belley a smaller kind of a dark uniform colour with a red stripe above the eye, and a brown and yellow species that a good deel resembles the phesant common to the Atlantic States. we were detained this morning untill ten oclock in consequence of not being enabled to collect our horses. we had proceeded about 2 miles when we found the greater part of a horse which Capt Clark had met with and killed for us. he informed me by note that he should proceed as fast as possible to the leavel country which lay to the S. W. of us, which we discovered from the hights of the mountains on the 19th there he intended to hunt untill our arrival. at one oclock we halted and made a hearty meal on our horse beef much to the comfort of our hungry stomachs. here I larnt that one of the Packhorses with his load was missing and immediately dispatched Baptiest Lapage who had charge of him, to surch for him. he returned at ;3 OC. without the horse. The load of the horse was of considerable value consisting of merchandize and all my stock of winter cloathing. I therefore dispatched two of my best woodsmen in surch of him, and proceeded with the party. Our rout lay through a thick forrest of large pine the general course being S. 25 W. and distance about 15 miles. our road was much obstructed by fallen timber particularly in the evening we encamped on a ridge where ther was but little grass for our horses, and at a distance from water. however we obtained as much as served our culinary purposes and suped on our beef. the soil as you leave the hights of the mountains becomes gradually more fertile. the land through which we passed this evening is of an excellent quality tho very broken, it is a dark grey soil. a grey free stone appearing in large masses above the earth in many places. saw the hucklebury, honeysuckle, and alder common to the Atlantic states, also a kind of honeysuckle which bears a white bury and rises about 4 feet high not common but to the western side of the rockey mountains. a growth which resembles the choke cherry bears a black bury with a single stone of a sweetish taste, it rises to the hight of 8 or 10 feet and grows in thick clumps. the Arborvita is also common and grows to an immence size, being from 2 to 6 feet in diameter.

Wednesday 20th September 1805

I Set out early and proceeded on through a Countrey as ruged as usial passed over a low mountain into the forks of a large Creek which I kept down 2 miles and assended a Steep mountain leaveing the Creek to our left hand passed the head of Several dreans on a divideing ridge, and at 12 miles decended the mountain to a leavel pine Countrey proceeded on through a butifull Countrey for three miles to a Small Plain in which I found maney Indian lodges, at the distance of 1 mile from the lodges I met 3 boys, when they Saw me ran and hid themselves searched found gave them Small pieces of ribin & Sent them forward to the village a man Came out to meet me with ;great Caution & Conducted us to a large Spacious Lodge which he told me (by Signs) was the Lodge of his great Chief who had Set out 3 days previous with all the Warriers of the nation to war on a South West derection & would return in 15 or 18 days. the fiew men that were left in the Village aged, great numbers of women geathered around me with much apparent Signs of fear, and apr. pleased they gave us a Small piece of Buffalow meat, Some dried Salmon beries & roots in different States, Some round and much like an onion which they call quamash the Bread or Cake is called Passhe-co Sweet, of this they make bread & Supe they also gave us the bread made of this root all of which we eate hartily, I gave them a fiew Small articles as preasents, and proceeded on with a Chief to his Village 2 miles in the Same Plain, where we were treated kindly in their way and continued with them all night Those two Villages consist of about 30 double lodges, but fiew men a number of women & children; They call themselves Cho pun-nish or Pierced Noses; " their dialect appears verry different from the Tushapaws altho origneally the Same people" They are darker than the Tushapaws Their dress Similar, with more beads white & blue principally, brass & Copper in different forms, Shells and ware their haire in the Same way. they are large Portley men Small women & handsom fetued Emence quantity of the quawmash or Pas-shi-co root gathered & in piles about the plains, those roots grow much an onion in marshey places the seed are in triangular Shell on the Stalk. they Sweat them in the following manner i. e. dig a large hole 3 feet deep Cover the bottom with Split wood on the top of which they lay Small Stones of about 3 or 4 Inches thick, a Second layer of Splited wood & Set the whole on fire which heats the Stones, after the fire is extinguished they lay grass & mud mixed on the Stones, on that dry grass which Supports the Pash-Shi-co root a thin Coat of the Same grass is laid on the top, a Small fire is kept when necessary in the Center of the kite &c.

I find myself verry unwell all the evening from eateing the fish & roots too freely. Sent out the hunters they killed nothing Saw Some Signs of deer.