Therefore, To Examine Well Before We Decided On Our Future Course.
For This Purpose We Despatched Two Canoes
With three men up each of
the streams, with orders to ascertain the width, depth, and rapidity
of the current,
So as to judge of their comparative bodies of water.
At the same time parties were sent out by land to penetrate the country,
and discover from the rising grounds, if possible, the distant bearings
of the two rivers; and all were directed to return toward evening.
. . . . . . . . .
Both parties returned without bringing any information that would settle
the point. Which was the true Missouri still remained uncertain.
Under these circumstances, it became necessary that there
should be a more thorough exploration, and the next morning
Captains Lewis and Clark set out at the head of two separate parties,
the former to examine the north, and the latter the south fork.
In his progress Captain Lewis and his party were frequently
obliged to quit the course of the river and cross the plains
and hills, but he did not lose sight of its general direction,
and carefully took the bearings of the distant mountains.
On the morning of the third day he became convinced that this river
pursued a course too far north for his contemplated route to the Pacific,
and he accordingly determined to return, but judged it advisable
to wait till noon, that he might obtain a meridian altitude.
In this, however, he was disappointed, owing to the state of the weather.
Much rain had fallen, and their return was somewhat difficult,
and not unattended with danger, as the following incident,
which occurred on June 7th, will show:
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