September 12, 1833
12 September: Early in the morning, somewhat foggy; after six o’ clock, the sun very bright and beautiful. They began caulking the boat early and intended to launch it in the river during the forenoon. Mr. Bodmer went into the hills to complete [the sketch of] the view of the Bears Paw. At 7:30, 64°F [17.8°C]. Early in the morning, Harvey announced through his father-in-law, a Piegan, that a band of Blackfoot (Siksikas) was approaching; four [of their] advance runners had slept with our workers at the new fort.
I went into the old cottonwoods below the fort and found a flight of magpies there, which have a completely different call from that of the European ones. Among the isolated, scattered trees, two beautiful species of Aster bloomed: one tall with [a] woody stem and beautiful violet flowers, one quite similar to it but with reddish white flowers (undoubtedly [a] variety). [There was] another species covered with small white flowers. All of them would be an adornment to our gardens.[Page 2:262] Another similar plant with beautiful, bright yellow flowers, like Aster [— —], bloomed with the sticky [— —]; and the aforementioned big yellow [— —] werealso were also still here in full bloom. In many places Artemisia columbiensis had not yet opened its flowers. While I was still in the woods, I saw the Blackfoot arriving: three men and two women with three dog travois. I went to the fort, where the Indians arrived at the same time. They announced that many of their tribe would arrive sometime the day after tomorrow to trade but would leave their lodges behind.M55The principal chief of all the Blackfoot (Siksikas)
is le Cheffre de la Vache Blanche [White Cow
Chief] (Onistähna). The boat was ready enough so [that] at about ten o’ clock, twenty-one men could carry it to the water. At twelve o’ clock, 74°F [23.3°C].
In the afternoon Mr. Bodmer went out again to draw. Pierrot was with him [in the] morning and afternoon as a guard. Mr. Mitchell and I decided on the things we would need for the journey. They consisted of two cooking pots, two metal plates from which to eat, forks and spoons, a coffeepot, three metal containers for drinking, 120 bullets and three pounds of powder for the crew, six flint stones, one-half gallon of alcohol to fortify our whiskey, four pounds of salt, a quarter pound of pepper, four pounds of coffee, and eight pounds of sugar, with a value of fifty-seven dollars. The boat cost seventy-five dollars. Mr. Bodmer [continued] sketching his view of the Rocky Mountains. Evening pleasant but some wind; throughout the night a galelike wind was blowing.