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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For October 23:
Captain Clark (current)
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I, with the greater part of the men, crossed in the canoes to opposite side above the falls and hauled them across the portage of 457 yards, which is on the larboard side and certainly the best side to pass the canoes. I then descended through a narrow channel, about 150 yards wide, forming a kind of half-circle in its course of a mile, to a pitch of 8 feet, in which the channel is divided by 2 large rocks.
At this place we were obliged to let the canoes down by strong ropes of elkskin which we had for the purpose. One canoe, in passing this place, got loose by the cords breaking, and was caught by the Indians below. I accomplished this necessary business and landed safe with all the canoes at our camp below the falls by 3 o'clock P.M. Nearly covered with fleas, which were so thick among the straw and fish skins at the upper part of the portage, at which place the natives had been camped not long since, that every man of the party was obliged to strip naked during the time of taking over the canoes, that they might have an opportunity of brushing the fleas off their legs and bodies.
Great numbers of sea otter in the river below the falls. I shot one in the narrow channel today, which I could not get. Great numbers of Indians visit us both from above and below.
We purchased 8 small fat dogs for the party to eat. The natives not being fond of selling their good fish, compels us to make use of dog meat for food, the flesh of which the most of the party have become fond of, from the habit of using it for some time past.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.