of life. “Really I must — really I must”— that

 people involved | time:2023-12-06 05:02:53

High winds prevented the party from making rapid progress, and notwithstanding the winds they were greatly troubled with mosquitoes. Lest the reader should think the explorers too sensitive on the subject of these troublesome pests, it should be said that only western travellers can realize the numbers and venom of the mosquitoes of that region. Early emigrants across the continent were so afflicted by these insects that the air at times seemed full of gray clouds of them. It was the custom of the wayfarers to build a "smudge," as it was called, a low, smouldering fire of green boughs and brush, the dense smoke from which (almost as annoying as the mosquitoes) would drive off their persecutors as long, as the victims sat in the smoke. The sleeping tent was usually cleared in this way before "turning in" at night, every opening of the canvas being afterwards closed.

of life. “Really I must — really I must”— that

Captain Lewis, on the thirteenth of July, followed Captain Clark up the river; crossing the stream to the north bank, with his six canoes and all his baggage, he overtook the other party on the same day and found them all engaged in boat-building.

of life. “Really I must — really I must”— that

"On his way he passed a very large Indian lodge, which was probably designed as a great council-house; but it differed in its construction from all that we had seen, lower down the Missouri or elsewhere. The form of it was a circle two hundred and sixteen feet in circumference at the base; it was composed of sixteen large cottonwood poles about fifty feet long and at their thicker ends, which touched the ground, about the size of a man's body. They were distributed at equal distances, except that one was omitted to the cast, probably for the entrance. From the circumference of this circle the poles converged toward the centre, where they were united and secured by large withes of willow-brush. There was no covering over this fabric, in the centre of which were the remains of a large fire, and around it the marks of about eighty leathern lodges. He also saw a number of turtle-doves, and some pigeons, of which he shot one, differing in no respect from the wild pigeon of the United States. . . . . . . . . .

of life. “Really I must — really I must”— that

The buffalo have not yet quite gone, for the hunters brought in three, in very good order. It requires some diligence to supply us plentifully, for as we reserve our parched meal for the Rocky Mountains, where we do not expect to find much game, our principal article of food is meat, and the consumption of the whole thirty-two persons belonging to the party amounts to four deer, an elk and a deer, or one buffalo, every twenty-four hours. The mosquitoes and gnats persecute us as violently as below, so that we can get no sleep unless defended by biers [nets], with which we are all provided. We here found several plants hitherto unknown to us, of which we preserved specimens."

On the fourteenth of July, the boats were finally launched, and next day the journal records this important event:

"We rose early, embarked all our baggage on board the canoes, which, though eight in number, are heavily loaded, and at ten o'clock set out on our journey. . . . At the distance of seven and a half miles we came to the lower point of a woodland, at the entrance of a beautiful river, which, in honor of the Secretary of the Navy, we called Smith's River. This stream falls into a bend on the south side of the Missouri, and is eighty yards wide. As far as we could discern its course, it wound through a charming valley towards the southeast, in which many herds of buffalo were feeding, till, at the distance of twenty-five miles, it entered the Rocky Mountains and was lost from our view. . . .

"We find the prickly pear, one of the greatest beauties as well as greatest inconveniences of the plains, now in full bloom. The sunflower, too, a plant common on every part of the Missouri from its entrance to this place, is here very abundant, and in bloom. The lamb's-quarter, wild cucumber, sand-rush, and narrow dock, are also common."

The journal here records the fact that the great river had now become so crooked that it was expedient to note only its general course, leaving out all description of its turns and windings. The Missouri was now flowing due north, leaving its bends out of account, and the explorers, ascending the river, were therefore travelling south; and although the journal sets forth "the north bank" and "the south bank," it should be understood that west is meant by the one, and east by the other. Buffalo were observed in great numbers. Many obstacles to navigating the river were encountered. Under date of July 17, the journal says:

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