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Lewis and Clark
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From the Expedition Journals

Journal excerpts and maps from Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites

 

"from hence to travellerís rest we shall make a forsed march; at that place we shal probably remain one or two days to rest ourselves and horses and procure some meat. we have now detained near five weeks in consequence of the snows; a serious loss of time at this delightfull season for traveling. I am still apprehensive that the snow and the want of food for our horses will prove a serious imbarrassment to us as at least four days journey of our rout in these mountains lies over hights and along a ledge of mountains never intirely destitute of snow. Every body seems anxious to be in motion, convinced that we have not now any time to delay if the calculation is to reach the United States this season; this I am determined to accomplish if within the compass of human power."



 

"we ascended about 3 miles [4.8 kilometers] when we found ourselves invelloped in snow from 12 to 15 feet [3.7 to 4.6 metes] deep[;]... here was winter with all itís rigors; the air was cold, my hands and feet were benumbed. we knew that it would require five days to reach the fish wears at the entrance of Colt Creek, provided we were so fortunate as to be enabled to follow the proper ridges... short of that point we could not hope for any food for our horses not even underwood itself as the whole was covered many feet deep in snow. if we proceeded and should get bewildered in these mountains the certainty was that we should loose all our horses... our baggage... perhaps our papers and thus eminently wrisk the loss of the discoveries which we had already made if we should be so fortunate as to escape with life.... this is the first time since we have been on this long tour that we have ever been compelled to retreat or make a retrograde march."



 

"the hunters assured us that their greatest exertions would not enable them to support us here more than one or two days longer from the great scarcity of game and the difficult access of the country, the under brush being very thick and great quantities of fallen timber.... should we wait much longer or untill the snow desolves in such manner as to enable us to follow the road we cannot hope to reach the United States this winter."



 

"the Indians hastened us off and informed us that it was a considerable distance to the place they wished to reach this evening where there was grass for our horses. accordingly we Set out with our guides who led us over and along the Steep Sides of tremendious Mountains entirely covered with Snow except about the roots of the trees.... we assended and decended several steep lofty hights but keeping on the dividing ridge.... late in the evening much to the Satisfaction of ourselves and the Comfort of the horses we arived at the desired Spot and Encamped on the steep side of a Mountain convenient to a good Spring. here we found an abundance of fine grass for our horses."
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