The Journals of Lewis & Clark: May 17, 1806
May 17, 1806
Saturday May 17th 1806. It rained the greater part of the last night and this morning untill 8 OCk. the water passed through flimzy covering and wet our bed most perfectly in shot we lay in the water all the latter part of the night. unfortunately my chronometer which for greater security I have woarn in my fob for ten days past, got wet last night; it seemed a little extraordinary that every part of my breechies which were under my head, should have escaped the moisture except the fob where the time peice was. I opened it and founded it nearly filled with water which I carefully drained out exposed it to the air and wiped the works as well as I could with dry feathers after which I touched them with a little bears oil. several parts of the iron and steel works were rusted a little which I wiped with all the care in my power. I set her to going and from her apparent motion hope she has sustained no material injury.- at 9 A.M. Sergt. Pryor and Collins returned, Sergt. Pryor brought the Skin and flesh of a black bear which he had killed; Collins had also killed a very large variegated bear but his horse having absconded last evening was unable to bring it. they had secured this meat perfectly from the wolves or birds and as it was at a considerable distance we did not think proper to send for it today. neither of these bear were in good order. as the bear are reather ferocious and we are obliged to depend on them pincipally for our subsistence we thought it most advisable to direct at least two hunters to go together, and they accordingly peared themselves out for this purpose. we also apportioned the horses to the several hunters in order that they should be equally rode and thereby prevent any horse being materially injured by being too constantly hunted. we appointed the men not hunters to take charge of certain horses in the absence of the hunters and directed the hunters to set out in different directions early in the morning and not return untill they had killed some game. it rained moderately the greater part of the day and snowed as usual on the plain. Sergt. Pryor informed me that it was shoe deep this morning when he came down. it is somewhat astonishing that the grass and a variety of plants which are now from a foot to 18 inches high on these plains sustain no injury from the snow or frost; many of those plants are in blume and appear to be of a tender susceptable texture. we have been visited by no indians today, and occurrence which has not taken place before since we left the Narrows of the Columbia.- I am pleased at finding the river rise so rapidly, it now doubt is attributeable to the meting snows of the mountains; that icy barier which seperates me from my friends and Country, from all which makes life esteemable.- patience, patience
Saturday 17th May 1806
rained moderately all the last night and this morning untill we are wet. The little river on which we are encamped rise Sepriseingly fast. at 9 A.M. Sergt. Pryor and Collins returned with the flesh and Skin of a Black bear on Sgt. Pryors horse. Collins's horse haveing run off from him yesterday. they informed us that they had each killed a Bear neither of which were fat. the one which they left in the woods was of the white Species and very large we did not think it necessary in the cours of this day to Send for the flesh of the bear left in the woods. the rains of the last night unfortunately wet the Crenomuter in the fob of Capt. L. breaches. which has never before been wet Since we Set out on this expedition. her works were cautiously wiped and made dry by Capt. L. and I think She will recive no injury from this misfortune &c. we arranged the hunters and horses to each hunter and directed them to turn out in the morning early and continue out untill they Killed Something. others arranged so as to take care of the hunters horses in their absence. rained moderately all day. at the Same time Snowed on the mountains which is in to the S. E. of us. no Indians visit us to day which is a Singular circumstance as we have not been one day without Indians Since we left the long narrows of the Columbia. the fiew worm days which we have had has melted the Snows in the Mountains and the river has rose considerably. that icy barier which Seperates me from my friends and Country, from all which makes life estimable, is yet white with the Snow which is maney feet deep. I frequently Consult the nativs on the subject of passing this tremendious barier which now present themselves to our view for great extent, they all appear to agree as to the time those Mountains may be passed which is about the Middle of June.
Sergt. pryor informs me that the Snow on the high plains from the river was Shoe deep this morning when he Came down. it is somewhat estonishing that the grass and a variety of Plants Sustain no injurey from the Snow or frost; Maney of those plants are in blume and appear to be of tender susceptable texture. At the distance of 18 Miles from the river and on the Eastern border of the high Plain the Rocky Mountain Commences and presents us with Winter here we have Summer, Spring and Winter in the Short Space of twenty or thirty miles