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Lewis and Clark
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From the Expedition Journals

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image: May 29-June 11, 1805

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

 

"The hills and river Clifts which we passed today exhibit a most romantic appearance. The bluffs of the river rise to the hight of from 2 to 300 feet [0.6 to 91 meters] and in most places nearly perpendicular; they are formed of remarkable white sandstone which is sufficiently soft to give way readily to the impression of water. ... The water in the course of time ... has trickled down the soft sand clifts and woarn it into a thousand grotesque figures, which with the help of a little immagination and an oblique view, at a distance are made to represent eligant ranges of lofty freestone buildings.… columns of various sculpture both grooved and plain.... As we passed on it seemed as if those seens of visionary inchantment would never have [an] end; for here it is too that nature presents to the view of the traveler vast ranges of walls of tolerable workmanship, so perfect indeed are those walls that I should have thought that nature attempted here to rival the human art of masonry had I not recollected that she had first began her work."



 

"Those who have remained at camp today have been busily engaged in dressing skins for cloathing, notwithstanding that many of them have their feet so mangled and bruised with the stones and rough ground over which they passed barefoot, that they can scarcely walk or stand; at least it is with great pain they do either. for some days past they were unable to wear their mockersons; they have fallen off considerably, but notwithstanding the difficulties past, or those which seem now to mennace us, they still remain perfectly cheerfull."



 

"The whole country in fact appears to be one continued plain to the foot of the mountains or as far as the eye can reach... the grass is by no means as high nor dose it look so luxurient as I should have expected, it is short just sufficient to conceal the ground. great abundance of prickly pears which are extreemely troublesome; as the thorns very readily perce the foot through the Mockerson; they are so numerous that it requires one half of the traveler’s attention to avoid
them."



 

"The whole of my party to a man except myself were fully pe[r]suaided that this river was the Missouri, but being fully of opinion that it was neither the main stream, nor that which it would be advisable for us to take, I determined to give it a name and in honor of Miss Maria Wood called it Maria’s River. It is true that the hue of the waters of this turbulent and troubled stream but illy comport with the pure celestial virtues and amiable qualifications of that lovely fair one; but on the other hand it is a noble river; one destined to become in my opinion an object of contention between the two great powers of America and Great Britin... and that it will become one of the most interesting branc[h]es of the Missouri in a commercial point of view, I have but little doubt, as it abounds with anamals of the fur kind, and most probably furnishes a safe and direct communication to that productive country of valuable furs exclusively enjoyed at present by the subjects of his Britanic Majesty; in adition to which it passes through a rich fertile and one of the most beatifully picteresque countries that I ever beheld."
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American (Pale) Goldfinch
Goldeye
Loggerhead (White-Rumped) Shrike
McCown's Longspur
Sage Grouse
Sauger
Fragile Prickly-Pear
Tansy
Square Butte
Weather-Sculpted Arch
White Cliffs