The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 18, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 17, 1806
July 19, 1806

July 18, 1806

Friday July 18th 1806. We set out this morning a little before sunrise ascended the river hills and continued our rout as yesterday through the open plains at about 6 miles we reached the top of an elivated plain which divides the waters of the rose river from those of Maria's river. from hence the North mountains, the South mountains, the falls mountains and the Tower Mountain and those arround and to the East of the latter were visible. our course led us nearly parrallel with a creek of Maria's river which takes it's rise in these high plains at the place we passed them; at noon we struck this creek about 6 ms. from its junction with Maria's river where we found some cottonwood timber; here we halted to dine and graize our horses. the bed of this creek is about 25 yds. wide at this place but is nearly dry at present, the water being confined to little pools in the deeper parts of it's bed. from hence downwards there is a considerable quantity of timber in it's bottom. we passed immence herds of buffaloe on our way in short for about 12 miles it appeared as one herd only the whole plains and vally of this creek being covered with them; saw a number of wolves of both speceis, also Antelopes and some horses. after dinner we proceeded about 5 miles across the plain to Maria's river where we arrived at 6 P.M. we killed a couple of buffaloe in the bottom of this river and encamped on it's west side in a grove of cottonwood some miles above the entrance of the creek. being now convinced that we were above the point to which I had formerly ascended this river and faring that a fork of this stream might fall in on the Northside between this place and the point to which I had ascended it, I directed Drewyer who was with me on my former excurtion, and Joseph Fields to decend the river early in the morning to the place from whence I had returned, and examine whether any stream fell inn or not. I keep a strict lookout every night, I take my tour of watch with the men.

Friday 18th July 1806

as we were about Setting out this morning two Buffalow Bulls came near our Camp Several of the men Shot at one of them. their being near the river plunged in and Swam across to the opposit Side and there died. Shabono was thrown from his horse to day in pursute of a Buffaloe, the hose unfortunately Steping into a Braroe hole fell and threw him over his head. he is a good deel brused on his hip Sholder & face. after brackfast I proceeded on as usial, passd. over points of ridges So as to cutoff bends of the river crossed a Small Muddy brook on which I found great quantities of the Purple, yellow & black currents ripe. they were of an excellent flavour. I think the purple Superior to any I have ever tasted. The river here is about 200 yards wide rapid as usial and the water gliding over corse gravel and round Stones of various sizes of an excellent grite for whetestones. the bottoms of the river are narrow. the hills are not exceeding 200 feet in hight the sides of them are generally rocky and composed of rocks of the same texture of a dark Colour of Grit well Calculated for grindstones &c. The high bottoms is composed of gravel and Stone like those in the Chanel of the river, with a mixture of earth of a dark brown colour The Country back from the river on each Side is generally open wavering plains. Some pine is to be Seen in every direction in those plains on the Sides of hills &c. at 11 A.M. I observed a Smoke rise to the S. S. E in the plains towards the termonation of the rocky mountains in that direction (which is Covered with Snow) this Smoke must be raisd. by the Crow Indians in that direction as a Signal for us, or other bands. I think it most probable that they have discovered our trail and takeing us to be Shoshone &c. in Serch of them the Crow Indians to trade as is their Custom, have made this Smoke to Shew where they are-or otherwise takeing us to be their Enemy made this Signal for other bands to be on their guard. I halted in a bottom of fine grass to let the horses graze.

Shields killed a fat Buck on which we all Dined. after dinner and a delay of 3 hours to allow the horses time to feed, we Set out at 4 P.M. I set out and proceeded down the river through a butifull bottom, passing a Indian fort on the head of a Small island near the Lard Shore and Encamped on a Small Island Seperated from the Lard Shore by a very narrow Chanel. Shields killed a Buffalow this evening which Caused me to halt sooner than Common to Save Some of the flesh which was So rank and Strong that we took but very little. Gibson in attempting to mount his horse after Shooting a deer this evening fell and on a Snag and sent it nearly two inches into the Muskeler part of his thy. he informs me this Snag was about 1 inch in diamuter burnt at the end. this is a very bad wound and pains him exceedingly. I dressed the wound.