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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For June 27:
Captain Clark (current)
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We collected our horses early and set out. The road still continued on the heights of the dividing ridge on which we had traveled yesterday, for 9 miles or to our encampment of the 16th September last. About 1 mile short of the encampment, we halted by the request of the guides a few minutes on an elevated point and smoked a pipe. On this eminence the natives have raised a conic mound of stones, 6 or 8 feet high, and erected a pine pole of 15 feet long. From hence they informed us that when passing over with their families some of the men were usually sent on foot by the fishery at the entrance of Colt Creek in order to take fish and again meet the party at the quamash glade on the head of Kooskooskee River. From this place we had an extensive view of these stupendous mountains principally covered with snow like that on which we stood. We were entirely surrounded by those mountains, from which, to one unacquainted with them, it would have seemed impossible ever to have escaped. In short, without the assistance of our guides, I doubt much whether we who had once passed them could find our way to Traveler's Rest, in their present situation, for the marked trees, on which we had placed considerable reliance are much fewer and more difficult to find than we had apprehended. Those Indians are most admirable pilots. We find the road wherever the snow has disappeared, though it be only for a few paces.
After having smoked the pipe and contemplating this scene sufficient to have dampened the spirits of any except such hardy travelers as we have become, we continued our march and at the distance of 3 miles descended a steep mountain and passed two small branches of the Chopunnish River just above their fork, and again ascended the ridge on which we passed. At the distance of 7 miles, arrived at our encampment of 16th September last.
Our meat being exhausted, we issued a pint of bear's oil to a mess with which their boiled roots made an agreeable dish. Joe Potts's leg, which had been much swollen and inflamed for several days, is much better this evening and gives him but little pain. We applied the pounded root and leaves of wild ginger, from which he found great relief.
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.