The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 10, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 9, 1806
July 11, 1806

July 10, 1806

July 10th 1806. Set out early and continued down the S W bank of the river N 75 E 24 m. to our encampment in a grove of cottonwood timber. the latter part of this course for 7 miles there is no timber in the river bottom, the other parts of the river possesses bottoms of the wide leafed cottonwood. much the greater part of the bottom is untimbered. the bottoms are wide and level the high praries or plains are also beautiful level and smooth. great quantities of prickly pear of two kinds on the plains. the ground is renderd so miry by the rain which fell yesterday that it is excessively fatiegueing to the horses to travel. we came 10 miles and halted for dinner the wind blowing down the river in the fore part of the day was unfavourable to the hunters they saw several gangs of Elk but they having the wind of them ran off. in the evening the wind set from the West and we fell in with a few elk of which R. Fields and myself killed 3 one of which swam the river and fell on the opposite so we therefore lost it's skin I sent the packhorses on with Sergt. Gass directing them to halt and encamp at the first timber which proved to be about 7 ms. I retained frazier to assist in skining the Elk. we wer about this time joined by drewer. a large brown bear swam the river near where we were and drewyer shot and killed it. by the time we butchered thes 2 elk and bar it was nearly dark we loaded our horses with the best of the meat and pursud the party and found them encamped as they had been directed in the first timber. we did not reach them until 9 P.M. they informed us that they had seen a very large bear in the plains which had pursued Sergt. Gass and Thomson some distance but their horses enabled them to keep out of it's reach. they were affraid to fire on the bear least their horses should throw them as they were unaccustomed to the gun. we killed five deer 3 Elk and a bear today saw vast herds of buffaloe in the evening below us on the river. we hered them bellowing about us all night. vast assemblages of wolves. saw a large herd of Elk making down the river. passed a considerable rapid in medicine river after dark. the river about a hundred yards wide is deep and in many parts rappid and today has been much crouded with islands. from our encampment down we know the river and there is no rapids and scarcely any courant. goosberries are very abundant of the common red kind and are begining to ripen. no currants on this river. both species of the prickly pears just in blume.

Thursday July 10th 1806

last night was very cold and this morning everything was white with frost and the grass Stiff frozend. I had Some water exposed in a bason in which the ice was 3/4 of an inch thick this morning. I had all the Canoes put into the water and every article which was intended to be Sent down put on board, and the horses collected and packed with what fiew articles I intend takeing with me to the River Rochejhone, and after brackfast we all Set out at the Same time & proceeded on Down Jeffersons river on the East Side through Sarviss Vally and rattle snake mountain and into that butifull and extensive Vally open and fertile which we Call the beaver head Vally which is the Indian name in their language Har na Hap pap Chah. from the No. of those animals in it & a pt. of land resembling the head of one this Vally extends from the rattle Snake Mountain down Jeffersons river as low as fraziers Creek above the big horn mountain and is from 12 to 30 miles in width and ____ miles on a direct line in length and Jeffersons river in passing through this Vally reives McNeals Creek, Track Creek, Phalanthrophy river, Wisdom river, Fields river and Fraziers Creek each throw in a considerable quantity of water and have innoumerable beaver and otter on them; the bushes in their low bottoms are the resort for great numbers of Deer, and in the higher parts of the Vally we see Antelopes scattered feeding. I saw also on the Sides of the rock in rattle snake mountain 15 big horn animals, those animals feed on the grass which grow on the Sides of the mountn. and in the narrow bottoms on the Water courses near the Steep Sides of the mountains on which they can make their escape from the pursute of wolves Bear &c. at Meridian I halted to let the horses Graze having Come 15 Miles I ordered the to land. Sergt. Ordway informed me that the party with him had Come on very well, and he thought the Canoes could go as farst as the horses &c. as the river now become wider and not So Sholl, I deturmined to put all the baggage &c. which I intend takeing with me to the river Rochejhone in the canoes and proceed on down with them myself to the 3 forks or Madisons & galletens rivers. leaveing the horses to be taken down by Sergt. Pryor and 6 of the men of the party to accompany me to the river Rochejhone and directed Sergt. Pryor to proceed on moderately and if possible encamp with us every night. after dinner had my baggage put on board and Set out, and proceeded on tolerable well to the head of the 3000 Mile Island on which we had encamped on the 11th of Augt last. the Canoes passed Six of my encampments assending, opposit this island I encamped on the East side. the Musquetors were troublesom all day and untill one hour after Sunset when it became Cool and they disappeared. in passing down in the Course of this day we saw great numbers of beaver lying on the Shores in the Sun. wild young Gees and ducks are common in this river. we killed two young gees this evening. I saw several large rattle Snakes in passing the rattle Snake Mountain they were fierce.