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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 26:
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The high lands are thin, meager soil, covered with dry, low sedge and a species of grass, also dry, the seeds of which are armed with a long, twisted, hard beard at the upper extremity, while the lower point is a sharp, subulate, firm point beset at its base with little stiff bristles standing with their points in a contrary direction to the subulate point, to which they answer as a barb and serve also to press it forward when once entered a small distance. These barbed seeds penetrate our moccasins and leather leggings and give us great pain until they are removed. My poor dog suffers with them excessively. He is constantly biting and scratching himself as if in a rack of pain.
The prickly pear also grow here as abundantly as usual. There is another species of the prickly pear of a globular form, composed of an assemblage of little conic leaves springing from a common root, to which their small points are attached as a common center; and the base of the cone forms the apex of the leaf, which is garnished with a circular range of sharp thorns, quite as stiff and more keen than the more common species with the flat leaf, like the cochineal plant.
On entering this open valley, I saw the snow-clad tops of distant mountains before us. The timber and mountains much as heretofore. Saw a number of beaver today and some otter; killed one of the former, also four deer. Found a deer's skin which had been left by Captain Clark, with a note informing me of his having met with a horse, but had seen no fresh appearance of the Indians.
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.