The Journals of Lewis & Clark: August 7, 1806

by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
August 6, 1806
August 8, 1806

August 7, 1806

Thursday August 7th 1806. It began to rain about midnight and continued with but little intermission until 10 A.M. today. the air was cold and extreemly unpleasant. we set out early resolving if possible to reach the Yelowstone river today which was at the distance of 83 ms. from our encampment of the last evening; the currant favoured our progress being more rapid than yesterday, the men plyed their oars faithfully and we went at a good rate. at 8 A.M. we passed the entrance of Marthy's river which has changed it's entrance since we passed it last year, falling in at preasent about a quarter of a mile lower down. at or just below the entrance of this river we meet with the first appearance of Coal birnt hills and pumicestone, these appearances seem to be coextensive. here it is also that we find the first Elm and dwarf cedar on the bluffs, the ash first appears in the instance of one solletary tree at the Ash rapid, about the Elk rapid and from thence down we occasionly meet with it scattered through the bottoms but it is generally small. from Marthy's river to Milk river on the N. E. side there is a most beautifull level plain country; the soil is much more fertile here than above. we overtook the Feildses at noon. they had killed 2 bear and seen 6 others, we saw and fired on two from our perogue but killed neither of them. these bear resort the river where they lie in wate at the crossing places of the game for the Elk and weak cattle; when they procure a subject of either they lie by the carcase and keep the wolves off untill they devour it. the bear appear to be very abundant on this part of the river. we saw a number of buffaloe Elk &c as we passed but did not detain to kill any of them. we also saw an unusual flight of white gulls about the size of a pigeon with the top of their heads black. at 4 P.M. we arrived at the entrance of the Yellowstone river. I landed at the point and found that Capt. Clark had been encamped at this place and from appearances had left it about 7 or 8 days. I found a paper on a pole at the point which mearly contained my name in the hand wrighting of Capt. C. we also found the remnant of a note which had been attatched to a peace of Elk's horns in the camp; from this fragment I learned that game was scarce at the point and musquetoes troublesome which were the reasons given for his going on; I also learnt that he intended halting a few miles below where he intended waiting my arrival. I now wrote a note directed to Colter and Collins provided they were behind, ordering them to come on without loss of time; this note I wraped in leather and attatced onto the same pole which Capt. C. had planted at the point; this being done I instantly reimbarked and decended the river in the hope of reaching Capt. C's camp before night. about 7 miles below the point on the S. W. shore I saw some meat that had been lately fleased and hung on a pole; I directed Sergt. Ordway to go on shore examine the place; on his return he reported that he saw the tracks of two men which appeared so resent that he beleived they had been there today, the fire he found at the plce was blaizing and appeared to have been mended up afresh or within the course of an hour past. he found at this place a part of a Chinnook hat which my men recognized as the hat of Gibson; from these circumstances we included that Capt. C's camp could not be distant and pursued our rout untill dark with the hope of reaching his camp in this however we were disappointed and night coming on compelled us to encamp on the N. E. shore in the next bottom above our encampment of the 23rd and 24th of April 1805. as we came too a herd of buffaloe assembled on the shore of which we killed a fat cow.-

Saturday 7th August 1806

Some hard rain this morning after daylight which wet us all. I formed a Sort of Camped and delayed untill 11 a.m. when it Stoped raining for a short time. I directed every thing put on board and proceeded on down. the rain Continued at intervales all day tho not hard in the evenig Saw a Bear on the bank but Could not get a Shoot at it. at 6 P M I landed on a Sand bar on the South Side and Campd. Soon after we landed the wind blew very hard for about 2 hours, when it lulled a little. the air was exceedingly Clear and Cold and not a misquetor to be Seen, which is a joyfull circumstance to the Party.