June 11, 1833
11 June: Early in the morning, a raw, powerful north wind and heavy downpour. The whole region has turned dark and gloomy. Early we saw a herd of about thirty elk on the left bank, fleeing over the hills from the forest on the bank. Pretty outlines of the hills on the left bank. In this region one sees much more wildlife than previously. Dreidoppel saw four wolves yesterday, all of them with very long tails, probably prairie wolves. Farther away we saw the results of ice-drift on the forest along the bank: the bark of the trees, especially the thick cottonwoods, was torn off 8 to 10 feet above the water. Here stood a nest of Aquila leucocephala.
At 7:30, 60°F [15.6°C]. To the right and left, bluffs and green wooded banks alternate. The region appears fresh and invigorated from the rain. The water is now shallow; we often run aground and receive jolts; soundings are constantly taken. The interpreter Lachapelle gave me words of the Arikara language. On the right bank there now appears a long row of violet-blackish bluffs, sprinkled and darkly tinged by the rain; at 11:30 one sees them receding somewhat from the bank, and before them there is now a beautiful prairie with tall grass—forest on the edge of the bank with pale green hills behind it. We put in and cut wood. Although it was very wet, Bodmer and Dreidoppel went out; when the bell rang, the former came and called out that he had killed an antelope and that some men should be sent to him. Ortubise went out with his rifle; they intended to return to the ship farther upstream. Someone had also seen elk here and found very fresh bison tracks. A half hour farther on, there was split wood on the right bank, which men from the company had cut. Wood was loaded again here, and two men were sent to fetch the antelope that had been killed (the fifth since the start of our journey). Dreidoppel went out once again with his rifle.
At twelve o’ clock, 67°F [19.4°C]. We halted for several hours. Meanwhile, the big, fine male antelope was brought in and I took its measurements. Mr. Bodmer had seen two elk; we saw two [more] on the other riverbank. Dreidoppel and two other hunters stayed on land. The forest to the right soon came to an end; the hunters had gone farther ahead toward another one. To the right and left, we had gradual, flat prairie hills. To the left, low bluffs soon appeared, and we saw the hunters on the right bank; [they] signaled that they had killed game, whereupon the dinghy was sent to fetch them while the steamboat hastened on.
In the dense forest on the left bank, one saw many cottonwoods, which had been gnawed off by beavers, and the slides they make when they go into the water. Somewhat farther on, a beaver lodge on the bank [looked] like a heap of large twigs. In several places, beaver huts started with young submerged twigs, which they gnaw during the winter [sic]. These animals, as it seems, are rather numerous here, undoubtedly because the trappers do not like to operate in the territory of the hostile Arikaras. To the right in a green lowland, Otter Creek emerges; to the left along the bank, forest and beautiful dense brushwood full of elk (Cervus canadensis), behind which are the green, bare prairie hills. On the right bank, away from the river, a chain of reddish bluffs rises. The forest to the left [is] luxuriant and verdant, the ground densely covered with vegetation. In this forest we reached a long, empty log house formerly used as a trading house during the winter; 180 paces above it, a pretty river, Moreau MoreauRiver (Lewis and Clark call it Park River, or by its Indian name, Sur-war-ha-ma), empties.M30The Mandans call it Passan-Hitaha ('an' as in French),but I do not know from which of the Indian languages that name originated, because the Mandans call it Passan-Hitaha; the Hidatsas, Mah-Spuischia-Anji ('ah' like 'an' nasal, "ji" as in French), River of Grapes; the Crows, Wahschupit-Ansa ('An' as in French with stress0; [and] the Arikaras, Kadih-Kahitt.Nice thickets along its bank.
Near the house we put in and cut wood; we also demolished part of the old house. Our hunters went out, and the interpreter Ortubise again shot two large elk with first-year antlers as large as a male deer with twelve points in Europe. These animals are now entirely dark brown; even the head is reddish brown, whereas our stags are silver or ash-gray. The dinghy with the hunters stayed out until after nightfall; finally they returned with four elk (that is, the venison, several heads, and a whole calf, which is to be incorporated into our collection). Today we thus had six elk and an antelope.
Moreau MoreauRiver (la rivière à Moreau of the French) can be regarded as the true boundary of the Arikara nation, but they roam much farther down with their war parties.[2:116] That river is said to have been named for a certain Moreau, an old man who spent a night here with a Cheyenne woman, captured by the Arikaras, who stabbed him to death and fled to her nation with his horse. Evening pleasant.