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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 6:
Captain Lewis (current)
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Saw a brown [grizzly] bear swim the river above us, he disappeared before we could get in reach of him. I find that the curiosity of our party is pretty well satisfied with respect to this animal. The formidable appearance of the male bear killed on the 5th, added to the difficulty with which they die, even when shot through the vital parts, has staggered the resolution of several of them [i.e., the men.] Others, however, seem keen for action with the bear. I expect these gentlemen will give us some amusement shortly as they [the bears] soon begin now to copulate. Saw a great quantity of game of every species common here. Captain Clark walked on shore and killed two elk. They were not in very good order; we therefore took a part of the meat only. It is now only amusement for Captain Clark and myself to kill as much meat as the party can consume. I hope it may continue thus through our whole route, but this I do not much expect. Two beaver were taken in traps this morning, and one since shot by one of the party. Saw numbers of these animals peeping at us as we passed, out of their holes which they form of a cylindrical shape, by burrowing in the face of the abrupt banks of the river.
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.