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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 4:
Captain Lewis (current)
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The rudder irons of our large pirogue broke off last night, the replacing of which detained this morning until about 9 o'clock in order to repair the rudder irons of the red pirogue, which were broken last evening in landing. We then set out, the wind hard against us. I walked on shore this morning. The weather was more pleasant, the snow had disappeared. The frost seems to have affected the vegetation much less than could have been expected. The leaves of the cottonwood, the grass, the box alder, willow, and the yellow flowering pea seem to be scarcely touched. The rosebushes and honeysuckle seem to have sustained the most considerable injury. The country on both sides of the Missouri continues to be open, level, fertile, and beautiful as far as the eye can reach - which, from some of the eminences, is not short of 30 miles. The river bottoms are very extensive and contain a much greater proportion of timber than usual. The fore part of this day, the river was bordered with timber on both sides, a circumstance which is extremely rare, and the first which has occurred of anything like the same extent since we left the Mandans. In the after part of the day, we passed an extensive beautiful plain on the starboard side which gradually ascended from the river. I saw immense quantities of buffalo in every direction, also some elk, deer, and goats. Having an abundance of meat on hand, I passed them without firing on them. They are extremely gentle; the bull buffalo, particularly, will scarcely give way to you. I passed several in the open plain within fifty paces. They viewed me for a moment as something novel, and then very unconcernedly continued to feed. Captain Clark walked on shore this evening, and did not rejoin us until after dark. He struck the river several miles above our camp and came down to us. We saw many beaver, some of which the party shot. We also killed two deer today. Much sign of the brown bear. Passed several old Indian hunting camps in the course of the day.
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.