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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For May 8:
Captain Clark (current)
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A very black cloud to the S.W. We set out under a gentle breeze from the N.E. About 8 o'clock began to rain but not sufficient to wet. We passed the mouth of a large river on the starboard side, 150 yards wide, and appears to be navigable. The country through which it passes, as far as could be seen from the top of a very high hill on which I was, is a beautiful level plain. This river forks about N.W. from its mouth 12 or 15 miles. One fork runs from the north and the other to the west of N.W. The water of this river will justify a belief that it has its source at a considerable distance, and waters a great extent of country.
We are willing to believe that this is the river the Minnetarees call The River Which Scolds at All Others. The country on the larboard side is high, and broken with much stone scattered on the hills.
In walking on shore with the interpreter and his wife, the squaw gathered, on the sides of the hills, wild licorice, and the white apple, so called by the engagés, and gave me to eat. The Indians of the Missouri make great use of the white apple dressed in different ways.
Saw great numbers of buffalo, elk, antelope, and deer, also black-tailed deer, beaver, and wolves. I killed a beaver which I found on the bank, and a wolf. The party killed three beaver, one deer. I saw where an Indian had taken the hair off a goat skin a few days past. Camped early on the larboard side. The river we passed today we call Milk River from the peculiar whiteness of its water, which precisely resembles tea with a considerable mixture of milk.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.