The Journals of Lewis & Clark: July 22, 1806July 22, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
July 21, 1806
July 23, 1806

July 22, 1806July 22, 1806

Tuesday July 22ed 1806. We set out very early this morning as usual and proceeded up the river. for the first seven miles of our travel this morning the country was broken the land poor and intermixed with a greater quantity of gravel than usual; the ravines were steep and numerous and our horses feet have become extreemly soar in traveling over the gravel we therefore traveled but slow. we met with a doe Elk which we wounded but did not get her. the river is confined closely between clifts of perpendicular rocks in most parts. after the distance of seven miles the country became more level les gravly and some bottoms to the river but not a particle of timber nor underbush of any discription is to be seen. we continued up the river on it's South side for 17 miles when we halted to glaize our horses and eat; there being no wood we were compelled to make our fire with the buffaloe dung which I found answered the purpose very well. we cooked and eat all the meat we had except a small peice of buffaloe meat which was a little tainted. after dinner we passed the river and took our course through a level and beautifull plain on the N. side. the country has now become level, the river bottoms wide and the adjoining plains but little elivated above them; the banks of the river are not usually more than from 3 to four feet yet it dose not appear ever to overflow them. we found no timber untill we had traveled 12 miles further when we arrived at a clump of large cottonwood trees in a beautifull and extensive bottom of the river about 10 miles below the foot of the rocky mountains where this river enters them; as I could see from hence very distinctly where the river entered the mountains and the bearing of this point being S of West I thought it unnecessary to proceed further and therefore encamped resolving to rest ourselves and horses a couple of days at this place and take the necessary observations. this plain on which we are is very high; the rocky mountains to the S. W. of us appear but low from their base up yet are partially covered with snow nearly to their bases. there is no timber on those mountains within our view; they are very irregular and broken in their form and seem to be composed principally of clay with but little rock or stone. the river appears to possess at least double the vollume of water which it had where we first arrived on it below; this no doubt proceeds from the avapparation caused by the sun and air and the absorbing of the earth in it's passage through these open plains. The course of the mountains still continues from S. E. to N. W. the front rang appears to terminate abrubtly about 35 ms. to the N. W. Of us. I believe that the waters of the Suskashawan apporoach the borders of this river very nearly. I now have lost all hope of the waters of this river ever extending to N Latitude 50° though I still hope and think it more than probable that both white earth river and milk river extend as far north as latd. 50°- we have seen but few buffaloe today no deer and very few Antelopes; gam of every discription is extreemly wild which induces me to beleive that the indians are now, or have been lately in this neighbourhood. we wounded a buffaloe this evening but our horses were so much fatiegued that we were unable to pursue it with success.-

Tuesday 22nd of July 1806. The wind continued to blow very hard from the N. E. and a little before day light was moderately Cool. I Sent Sergt. Pryor and Shabono in Serch of the horses with directions to proceed up the river as far as the 1st narrows and examine particularly for their tracks, they returned at 3 P M and informed me that they had proceeded up the distance I derected them to go and could See neither horses nor tracks; the Plains imediately out from Camp is So dry and hard that the track of a horse Cannot be Seen without close examination. I therefore derected Sergt. Pryor Shannon Shabono & Bratten to incircle the Camp at Some distance around and find the tracks of the horses and prosue them, they Serched for tracks all the evening without finding which Course the horses had taken, the plains being so remarkably hard and dry as to render it impossible to See a track of a horse passing through the hard parts of them. begin to Suspect that they are taken by the Indians and taken over the hard plains to prevent our following them. my Suspicions is grounded on the improbibility of the horses leaveing the grass and rushes of the river bottoms of which they are very fond, and takeing imediately out into the open dry plains where the grass is but Short and dry. if they had Continued in the bottoms either up or down, their tracks Could be followed very well. I directed Labeech who understands traking very well to Set out early in the morning and find what rout the horses had taken if possible