The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 3, 1806
August 3, 1806
Saturday August 3rd 1806. I arrose early this morning and had the perogue and canoes loaded and set out at half after 6 A.M. we soon passed the canoe of Colter and Collins who were on shore hunting, the men hailed them but received no answer we proceeded, and shortly after overtook J. and R. Fields who had killed 25 deer since they left us yesterday; deer are very abundant in the timbered bottoms of the river and extreemly gentle. we did not halt today to cook and dine as usual having directed that in future the party should cook as much meat in the evening after encamping as would be sufficient to serve them the next day; by this means we forward our journey at least 12 or 15 miles Pr. day. we saw but few buffaloe in the course of this day, tho a great number of Elk, deer, wolves, some bear, beaver, geese a few ducks, the party coloured covus, one Callamet Eagle, a number of bald Eagles, redheaded woodpeckers &c. we encamped this evening on N. E. side of the river 2 ms. above our encampment of the 12th of May 1805 soon after we encamp Drewyer killed a fat doe. the Fieldses arrived at dark with the flesh of two fine bucks, besides which they had killed two does since we passed them making in all 29 deer since yesterday morning. Collins and Colter did not overtake us this evening.
Tueday August 3rd,1806. last night the Musquetors was so troublesom that no one of the party Slept half the night. for my part I did not Sleep one hour. those tormenting insects found their way into My beare and tormented me the whole night. they are not less noumerous or troublesom this morn-ing. at 2 miles passed the enterance of Jo. Field's Creek 35 yds wide imediately above a high bluff which is falling into the river very fast. on the Side of this bluff I saw Some of the Mountain Bighorn animals. I assended the hill below the Bluff. the Musquetors were So noumerous that I could not Shute with any Certainty and therefore Soon returned to the Canoes. I had not proceeded far before I saw a large gangue of ewes & yearlins & fawns or lambs of the bighorn, and at a distance alone I saw a ram. landed and Sent Labeech to kill the ram, which he did kill and brought him on board. this ram is not near as large as maney I have Seen. however he is Sufficiently large for a Sample I directed Bratten to Skin him with his head horns & feet to the Skin and Save all the bone. I have now the Skin & bone of a Ram a Ewe & a yearlin ram of those big Horn animals. at 8. A.M. I arived at the junction of the Rochejhone with the Missouri, and formed my Camp imediately in the point between the two river at which place the party had all encamped the 26th of April-1805. at landing I observed Several Elk feeding on the young willows in the point among which was a large Buck Elk which I shot & had his flesh dryed in the Sun for a Store down the river. had the Canoes unloaded and every article exposed to dry & Sun. Maney of our things were wet, and nearly all the Store of meat which had been killed above Spoiled. I ordered it to be thrown into the river. Several Skins are also Spoiled which is a loss, as they are our principal dependance for Clothes to last us to our homes &c.
The distance from the Rocky Mountains at which place I struck the River Rochejhone to its enterance into the Missouri 837 Miles 636 Miles of this distance I decended in 2 Small Canoes lashed together in which I had the following Persons. John Shields, George Gibson, William Bratten, W. Labeech, Toust. Shabono his wife & child & my man York. The Rochejhone or Yellow Stone river is large and navagable with but fiew obstructions quite into the rocky mountains. and probably near it's source. The Country through which it passes from those Mounts. to its junction is Generaly fertile rich open plains the upper portion of which is roleing and the high hills and hill Sides are partially covered with pine and Stoney. The middle portion or from the enterance of Clarks Fork as low as the Buffalow Shoals the high lands Contain Some Scattering pine on the Lard. Side. on the Stard. or S. E. Side is Some hills thickly Supplied with pine. The lower portion of the river but fiew pines are to be Seen the Country opens into extencive plains river widens and Contains more islands and bars; of corse gravel sand and Mud. The Current of this river may be estimated at 4 Miles and 1/2 pr. hour from the Rocky Mts. as low as Clarks Fork, at 31/2 Miles pr. hour from thence as low as the Bighorn, at 3- Miles pr. hour from thence as low as the Tongue river, at 23/4 Miles pr. hour from thence as low as Wolf rapid and at 21/2 miles pr. hour from thence to its enterance into the Missouri
The Colour of the Water differs from that of the Missouri it being of a yellowish brown, whilst that of the Missouri is of a deep drab Colour containing a greater portion of mud than the Rochejhone. This delighfull river from indian information has it's extreem sources with the North river in the Rocky mountains on the confines of New Mexico. it also most probably has it's westerly sources connected with the Multnomah and those the main Southerly branch of Lewis's river while it's Easterly branches head with those of Clark's R. the bighorn and River Platte and may be said to water the middle portion of the Rocky Mountains from N W to S. E. for several hundred miles. the indians inform us, that a good road passes up this river to it's extreem source from whence it is buta short distance to the Spanish settlements. there is also a considerable fall on this river within the mountains but at what distance from it's source we never could learn like all other branches of the Missouri which penetrate the Rocky Mountains all that portion of it lying within those mountains abound in fine beaver and Otter, it's streams also which issuing from the rocky mountain and discharging themselves above Clark's fork inclusive also furnish an abundance of beaver and Otter and possess considerable portions of small timber in their values. to an establishment on this river at clarks Fork the Shoshones both within and West of the Rocky Mountains would willingly resort for the purposes of trade as they would in a great measure be relived from the fear of being attacked by their enimies the blackfoot Indians and Minnetares of fort de Prarie, which would most probably happen were they to visit any establishment which could be conveniently formed on the Missouri. I have no doubt but the same regard to personal safety would also induce many numerous nations inhabiting the Columbia and Lewis's river West of the mountains to visit this establishment in preference to that at the entrance of Maria's river, particularly during the first years of those Western establishments. the Crow Indians, Paunch Indians Castahanah's and others East of the mountains and south of this place would also visit this establishment; it may therefore be looked to as one of the most important establishments of the western fur trade. at the entrance of Clark's fork there is a sufficiency of timber to support an establishment, an advantage that no position possesses from thence to the Rocky Mountains. The banks of the yellowstone river a bold not very high yet are not subject to be overflown, except for a few miles immediately below where the river issues from the mountain. the bed of this river is almost entirely composed of loose pebble, nor is it's bed interrupted by chains of rock except in one place and that even furnishes no considerable obstruction to it's navigation. as you decend with the river from the mountain the pebble becomes smaller and the quantity of mud increased untill you reah Tongue river where the pebble ceases and the sand then increases and predominates near it's mouth. This river can be navigated to greater advantage in perogues than any other craft yet it possesses suficient debth of water for battauxs even to the mountains; nor is there any of those moving sand bars so formidable to the navigation of many parts of the Missouri. The Bighorn R and Clark's fork may be navigated a considerable distance in perogues and canoes. Tongue river is also navigable for canoes a considerable distance.