The Journals of Lewis & Clark: December 8, 1805

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
December 7, 1805
December 9, 1805

December 8, 1805

December 8th Sunday 1805

a Cloudy morning, I took 5 men and Set out to the Sea to find the nearest place & make a way, to prevent our men getting lost and find a place to make Salt, Steered S 62° W at 2 miles passed the head of a Brook running to the right, the lands good roleing much falling timber, lofty Pine of the Spruce kind, & Some fur, passed over a high hill & to a Creek which we kept down 11/2 miles and left it to our right, Saw fish in this Creek & Elk & Bear tracks on it, passed over a ridge to a low marshey bottom which we Crossed thro water & thick brush for 1/2 a mile to the Comencement of a Prarie which wavers, Covered with grass & Sackay Commis, at 1/2 Crossed a marsh 200 yds wide, boggey and arrived at a Creek which runs to the right. Saw a gange of Elk on the opposit Side below, rafted the Creek, with much dificulty & followed the Elk thro, emence bogs, & over 4 Small Knobs in the bogs about 4 miles to the South & Killed an Elk, and formed a Camp, Covered our Selves with the Elk Skins. the left of us Bogs & a lake or pond those bogs Shake, much Cramberry growing amongst the moss. Some rain this evening we made a harty Supper of the Elk & hung up the balsa

Sunday December 8th 1805 Fort Clatsop We haveing fixed on this Situation as the one best Calculated for our Winter quarters I deturmin'd to go as direct a Course as I could to the Sea Coast which we Could here roar and appeared to be at no great distance from us, my principal object is to look out a place to make Salt, blaze the road or rout that they men out hunting might find the direction to the fort if they Should get lost in cloudy weather-and See the probibillity of game in that direction, for the Support of the Men, we Shall Send to make Salt, I took with me five men and Set out on a Course S 60 W proceeded on a dividing ridge through lofty piney land much falling timber. passed the heads of 2 brooks one of them had wide bottoms which was over flown & we waded to our knees crossed 2 Slashes and arrived at a Creek in a open ridgey prarie covered with Sackacomma this Creek we were obliged to raft, which is about 60 yards over and runs in a direction to Point adams, we discovered a large gange of Elk in the open lands, and we prosued them through verry bad Slashes and Small ponds about 3 miles, Killed one and camped on a Spot Scercely large enough to lie Clear of the Water. it is almost incredeable to assurt the bogs which those animals Can pass through, I prosue'd this gang of Elk through bogs which the wate of a man would Shake for 1/2 an Acre, and maney places I Sunk into the mud and water up to my hips without finding any bottom on the trale of those Elk. Those bogs are Covered with a kind of moss among which I observe an ebundance of Cramberries. in those Slashes Small Knobs are promisquisly Scattered about which are Steep and thickly Covered with pine Common to the Countrey & Lorel. we made a Camp of the Elk Skin to keep off the rain which Continued to fall, the Small Knob on which we Camped did not afford a Sufficiency of dry wood for our fire, we collected what dry wood we Could and what Sticks we Could Cut down with the Tomahawks, which made us a tolerable fire.