June 22, 1833
22 June: Early in the morning, faint sunshine, pleasant but windy.[2:138] The keelboat has stayed behind; we are making better progress now. Gray and green mottled hills with conical peaks and gullies; round domes with remarkable shapes. To the left, six elk. The river is washing down large amounts of wood and foam; we receive powerful jolts. Several tablelike hills. The bald eagle and other birds in the thickets. Heavily trodden paths of buffalo and other game on the steep bank to the left. Before us to the left, a complete fortress with many sharp edges. On the right bank, much tall, dense forest. Directly before the fortress, a small, creeklike creek like opening before which is a tract completely overgrown with Artemisia.
Here we sail to the right, wooded bank; it now includes wild stretches of brushwood with individual old trees. To the left, very remarkable hills, similar to ramparts and with streaks of stratification [and] strange domes. Wild geese with five big goslings; the old geese lie down and pretend to be disabled because of maternal love. They are molting now, and some cannot fly. A bison goes into the forest, as [do] four Cervus virginianus; [there are] also several bison on the hills far away to the right. A flat sandbar in the river with small willows. To the left in the willow thicket, paths trodden by [bison] and deer. Ducks in various directions. Among the willows, many buffalo berries. Before us, remarkable mountains and domes. To the right Knife Creek soon empties. Deer and an elk. Scarcely a half hour later, also to the left, above the noteworthy streaked hills, there is a creek, perhaps Lewis and Clark’s Charbonneau’s Creek ? There is, however, no island in this region. From here on, the region to the left is flat; to the right, close to the bank, the hills are dry and rough. Brush underneath along the edge. Fire on deck; fortunately it is extinguished. Trees shatter the right wheel; we anchor at the edge at ten o’ clock. Three hunters go out hunting.
At 7:30, 62°F [16.7°C]. At twelve o’ clock, 71°F [21.7°C]. The strong wind is entirely from the west. Near a big bend of the river to the right, much wood lies in the water. It became very difficult for us to navigate around this tongue of land, and we were delayed for a long time. Our hunters had appeared there. At the high, unusual water level, the current was so strong and the wind [so] contrary that we needed two and a half hours to overcome these obstacles. For a long time every effort was in vain; three times the current drove us against the left bank, the first time so violently that the gallery at the lower end of the steamboat broke apart. The second time was no better: a door of the housing covering the left wheel shattered, fell into the river, and drifted away. We were compelled to have forty men leap ashore [and] pull the ship with towlines. Trees were in the way, and the boat brushed so forcefully against the bank that the lower deck was full of earth from the bank. After great exertion—while other people pushed us away from the bank and even Mr. Mc Kenzie, Dreidoppel, Mitchell, others, and our Blackfoot Indians, too, pulled on the hawser—we finally surmounted the bad spot and then proceeded onward.
On the other side of the promontory that was so difficult to sail around, a level prairie overgrown with short brush extends to the right beyond the forest. Here we took aboard the hunters, who had killed two elk cows; [they] carried the meat and were covered with blood from head to foot. To the north the prairie again borders on the chain of prairie hills, which are completely naked and sterile here. Small, white clay hills with lateral stripes lie everywhere before the hills, which again extend to the river. The hills [once more] have the shape of quadrangular batteries and fortifications. Somewhat later the current drove us left against an alluvial deposit; again the ship was full of earth, and one saw its mark etched into the bank. Several hundred paces more and we were near a pretty, green, narrow prairie before the hills, in which stand fresh thickets; here we halted after four o’ clock and cut wood. Right beside the ship was a small pond with rushes ([— —]) with triangular stems, in which small tree frogs, which we could not catch, were chirring. Several beautiful plants, including a juniper still with green berries (Juniperus [— —]), occurred here.Dreidoppel saw a species of curlew, [and] I [saw] a blackbird, Sylvia aestiva, and Turdus felivox. Dreidoppel found a large elk antler with twelve points; generally, one finds deer antlers lying all around here in the forest because nobody uses them.[2:139] When he was still far away, he believed this antler to be a dried shrub in the prairie.
Half an hour later we continued on. Somewhat farther, along the right bank, we loaded wood piled up here, but we did not go ashore. Far ahead we saw a big bear on a level prairie and set Ortubise and a hunter ashore. The grizzly bear (l’ ours blanc, Ursus horribilis Ord) occurs from this region on, but along the Missouri [its range] does not extend much farther south; farther north it becomes more and more common.M85Brackenridge (Views of Louisiana, p. 56) stated that it does not occur below the Mandan villages, a claim that is unfounded. Hunting this bear is very dangerous. Our last hunter, Harvey, who had been put ashore earlier, [presently] returned. He had killed an elk, all the venison of which he carried for a great distance. He had fired several times at game. Fort Floyd stood several years ago at the place where we are now, where the present fur company had a post, which it abandoned. We moved on and saw two bears running toward the forest: one whitish and very large, the other a dark color. The hunters returned and related that they had wounded the larger of the two.M86Along the Yellowstone and the Missouri farther upstream from Fort Union, the grizzly bear is common; in thewoodlands, hunters have to be very wary of it. We now moved across the river and, after about twenty minutes, anchored about 6:30 for the night near the forest of the left bank to cut more wood. In the west there was a dark thunderstorm with intense lightning bolts. Evening very cool. Dreidoppel had seen two elk.M87Before the prairie, where we saw the bears, the White
Earth River (Goat Pen River of Lewis and Clark) empties to the right. The Assiniboines call it Makáhska; the Mandans, Matáck-Pássahä; the Hidatsas, Oh-Katakáhsi (‘si’ barely
audible); the Arikaras, Horúss-Tuhusseháhn (‘e’ half [=ə], entirely as in German); the Crows, Úh-Kanschä (‘Úh’ strong stress, ‘an’ as in French; second word, both syllables equally [stressed]).