The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 21, 1804

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 20, 1804
July 22, 1804

July 21, 1804

July 21, 1804

by a boiling motion or ebolition of it's waters occasioned no doubt by the roling and irregular motion of the sand of which its bed is entirely composed. the particles of this sand being remarkably small and light it is easily boied up and is hurried by this impetuous torrent in large masses from place to place in with irristable forse, collecting and forming sandbars in the course of a few hours which as suddingly disapated to form others and give place perhaps to the deepest channel of the river. where it enters the Missouri it's superior force changes and directs the courant of that river against it's northern bank where it is compressed within a channel less than one third of the width it had just before occupyed. it dose not furnish the missouri with it's colouring matter as has been asserted by some, but it throws into it immence quantities of sand and gives a celerity to it's courant of which it abates but little untill it's junction with the Mississippy. the water of this river is turbid at all seasons of the year but is by no means as much so as that of the Missourie. The sediment it deposits, consists of very fine particles of white sand while that of the Missoury is composed principally of a dark rich loam-in much greater quantity

21st July from the experiments and observations we were enabled to make with rispect to the comparative velocities of the courants of the rivers Mississippi Missouri and Plat it results that a vessel will float in the Mississippi below the entrance of the Missouri at the rate of four miles an hour. in the Missouri from it's junction with the Mississsippi to the entrance of the Osage river from 51/2 to 6 from thence to the mouth of the Kanzas from 61/2 to 7. from thence to the Platte 51/2 while the Plat is at least 8.- The Missouri above the junction of the river plat is equal to about 31/2 miles an hour as far as the mouth of the Chyenne where its courant still abates and becomes equal to about three miles an hour from information it dose not increase it's volocity for

July 21st Satturday, Set out verry early and a Gentle Breeze from the S. E proceeded on very well, passed a (1) Willow Island L. S. opsd. a bad Sand bar passed Some high land covered with Timber, in this Hill is Semented rock & Limestone the water runs out and forms Several little Islands in (2) high water on the S. S. a large Sand bar on the S. S. above and opposit the wooded High Land, at about 7 oClock the wind Seased and it Commenced raining passed many Sand bars opposit or in the Mouth of the Great River Plate this river which is much more rapid than the Missourie has thrown out imence quantities of Sand forming large Sand Banks at its mouth and forced the Missourie Close under the S. S. the Sands of this river Comes roleing down with the Current which is Crowded with Sand bars and not 5 feet water at any place across its mouth, the Rapidity of the Current of this river which is greater than that of the Missourie, its width at the Mouth across the bars is about 3/4 of a mile, higher up I am told by one of the bowmen that he was 2 winters on this river above and that it does not rise 7 feet, but Spreds over 3 miles at Some places, Capt Lewis & my Self went up Some Distance & Crossed found it Shallow. This river does not rise over 6 or 7 feet

Proceeded on passed the mouth of Papillion or Butter fly Creek 3 miles on the L. S. a large Sand bar opposit on that Side Camped above this baron L. S. a great number of wolves about us all night R. Fields killed a Deer hard wind N. W. cold

July 21st, Satturday 1804

Set out early under a gentle breeze from the S. E. proceeded on verry well, passed (1) a willow Island on the L. S. opposit a bad Sand bar, Some high lands covered with timber L. S in this hill is limestone & Seminted rock of Shels &c. (2) in high water the opposit Side is cut thro by Several Small Channels, forming Small Islands, a large Sand bar opposit the Hill at 7 oClock the wind luled and it Commnc'd raining, arrived at the lower Mouth of the Great River Platt at 10 oClock (about 3 ms. above the Hill of wood land, the Same range of High land Continus within 3/4 of a mile of the mouth below) This Great river being much more rapid than the Missourie forces its current against the opposit Shore, The Current of This river Comes with great Velocity roleing its Sands into the Missouri, filling up its Bend & Compelling it to incroach on the S Shore- we found great dificuelty in passing around the Sand at the mouth of this River Capt Lewis and My Self with 6 men in a perogue went up this Great river Plate about 1 miles, found the Current verry rapid roleing over Sands, passing through different Channels none of them more than five or Six feet deep, about 600 yards Wide at the mouth- I am told by one of our Party who wintered two winters on This river that "it is much wider above, and does not rise more than five or Six feet" Spreds verry and from its rapidity & roleing Sands Cannot be navagated with Boats or Perogues- The Indians pass this river in Skin Boats which is flat and will not turn over. The Otteaus a Small nation reside on the South Side 10 Leagues up, the Panies on the Same Side 5 Leagus higher up- about 10 Leagus up this river on the S. Side a Small river Comes into the Platt Called Salt River, "The waters So brackish that it Can't be Drank at Some Seasons" above this river & on the North Side a Small river falls into the Platt Called Elk River This river runs Parralal withe the Missouri- at 3 miles passed a Small river on the L. S. Called Papillion or Butterfly C. 18 yds. wide a large Sand bar off the mouth, we proceeded on to get to a good place to Camp and Delay a fiew days, passed around this Sand bar and Came to for the night on the L. S. a verry hard wind from the N. W. I went on Shore S. S. and proceeded up one mile thro high Bottom land open a Great number of wolves about us this evening