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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For June 4:
Captain Lewis (current)
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This morning early, Captain Clark departed, and at the same time I passed the right-hand fork opposite to our camp below a small island. From hence, I steered N. 30 W. 4 1/2 to a commanding eminence. Here I took the following bearings of the mountains which were in view: The North Mountains appear to change their direction from that of being parallel with the Missouri, turning to the north and terminating abruptly, their termination bearing N. 48 E., distant, by estimate, 30 miles. The South Mountains appear to turn to the S., also terminating abruptly, their extremity bearing S. 8 W., distant 25 miles. The Barn Mountain, a lofty mountain so called from its resemblance to the roof of a large barn, is a separate mountain, and appears rather to the right of, and retreating from, the extremity of the S. Mountains. This bore S. 38 W., distant 35 miles. The north fork, which I am now ascending, lies to my left and appears to make a considerable bend to the N.W. On its western border, a range of hills about 10 miles long appear to lie parallel with the river, and from hence bear N. 60 W. To the N. of this range of hills, an elevated point of the river bluff on its larboard side bore N. 72 W., distant 12 miles. To this last object I now directed my course through a high, level, dry, open plain. The whole country, in fact, appears to be one continued plain to the foot of the mountains or as far as eye can reach. This soil appears dark, rich, and fertile, yet the grass is by no means as high nor does it look so luxuriant as I should have expected. It is short, just sufficient to conceal the ground. Great abundance of prickly pears, which are extremely troublesome, as the thorns very readily pierce the foot through the moccasin. They are so numerous that it requires one-half of the traveler's attention to avoid them.
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.