June 8, 1833

8 June: Early in the morning, beautiful, bright sunshine; after eight o’ clock, a somewhat cooling wind. At 7:45, 71°F [21.7°C] at the ship. Early in the morning we continued our journey. To the left were all the strange, gray and pale-green mottled hills, some of them with very odd shapes; to the right, lowlands with willow thickets above which old cottonwoods rise.[Page 2:110] Mr. Laidlaw called on us this morning; he came on horseback, had breakfast, and traveled part of the way upstream with us. Strange formations and layers of earth hills to the left. Here the region appears far more barren and naked than farther downstream; it is much grayer and has little verdure.

About eight o’ clock we put in at the left bank and cut wood. A path was cut quickly through the densely crowded narrow-leaf willows, and we soon found ourselves in a small grassy area before the sterile hills. Thickets of ash (the old trees had been burned); currants with already thick green fruit; dense, low rose bushes, all in bloom; and a narrow-leaf shrub with now-withered flowers [— —]; also individual Oenothera [— —] with entire leaves; and several other plants were all here in abundance. We found the finch with white-spotted tail feathers and striped head (Fringilla grammacea Say) as almost the only inhabitants on the bleak hills and their somewhat greener ravines. Mr. Bodmer brought back [— —] adorned with sky-blue, bell-shaped flowers and a pale variety of Rosa [— —]. Dreidoppel had brought a large quantity of blooming Vitis labrusca. He had heard several birds but in the willow thicket had seen only Sylvia aestiva. A blackbird was flying among the cottonwoods. We tracked antelope at the foot of the hills. Mr. Laidlaw left us.

About 8:30, on the hills to the left, we saw Mr. Fontenelle’ s mounted band, about sixty men and 185 horses, who had to cross the Rivière aux Briguets (Breech Cloth Creek), Tscheh-ke-na-ka-oah-ta-pah in the Dacota language. We saw them moving in a long line, each man with two or three reserve horses. They are going to the Rocky Mountains and will reach the Yellowstone in the fall.

The small, above-mentioned river, like all others of its kind that emerge in this region from that hill chain (even the Little Sioux River, when it is low), has a salty taste. The lead was tossed out continually, and we now came to flat sandbars before the mouth of the creek that emerged from willow and cottonwood thickets. On the right hand was a prairie with a border of cottonwood; then thickets in which there are many turtledoves (Columba carolinensis) and redheaded woodpeckers. The river soon made a sharp bend to the left; here there was an island overgrown with willow and cottonwood. [A] strong wind rose, which drove the sand from the bars into the air. The water became very shallow; we turned around, lay motionless, waited, and took soundings. Then we continued, with the island to the left right. We sailed near the left bank, which was colored quite whitish from the bushes of the woody-stemmed Artemisia [— —], between which there were other low deciduous shrubs. Large sandbars to the right. An antelope fled over the hills before us. The motion of our ship is so strong that one can neither write nor sketch.

At twelve o’ clock noon, 79 1/2°F [26.4°C]. The hill chains here have no distinctive shapes [and] are a dull grayish green [and] not very high; the region [is] flatter and very extensive. Green thickets soon appear to the left along the bank; to the right, prairie with dry and fresh grass, green and yellow; behind it, uniform hills. About an hour later, alluvial soil continues for a long time along the bank to the right, with a prominent, beautiful forest that is long and wide. [We saw] an abandoned log house in which people stay when cutting wood. From here, 30 miles from Fort Pierre, building lumber was brought down to that fort. It is 15 miles from here to the Cheyenne River. Split wood was piled up 200 paces farther on; we landed and loaded it; this took about half an hour.M25From land the woodcutters brought the white-bellied mouse; Mr. Bodmer [brought] Rhus [--] and [--](with white papilionaceous flower and bright violet calyx),as well as [--].We did not get far from there, because the water began to diminish. Blackbirds flew about in the border of cottonwoods. Somewhat farther on, before the denuded grass hills, there was a small green surface spotted completely whitish [by] large bushes of Artemisia [— —] with woody stems. We drifted back, and the ship was fastened to several trees on the right bank. The boat went very far ahead to take soundings, and for a long time we lay idle. Scraping the bottom, the ship was pushed over the shallow spots with the help of the engine and long poles. On the gray-green hills to the right, many big boulders now lie on top of the domes. On the opposite bank, a forest of cottonwood and willow.

After six o’ clock or 6:30 in the evening, we reached deep water near the left bank and sailed along a dense forest of willow and cottonwood on the steep bank. When we wished to cross the river about seven o’ clock, however, we struck large, very flat sandbars. [We] could go no farther and hence moved back to the justmentioned forest, where we spent the night. The sun set about 6:45.[Page 2:111] The wind blew briskly, [and] the sky [was] clear. Today our men had seen several elk (Cervus canadensis).

Date: 
Saturday, June 8, 1833
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Corey Taylor (Automatically Generated)
Zachary Joyce
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