All well. Great day. Saw mule deer and sage brush, and heard prairie chickens on a lek! Sending this while I have coverage. More when I can.
Update: I got a good break from the wind, most of the day I had a light tailwind. It wasn’t enough to try sailing but just enough to give me a slight boost and much appreciated.
Two deer were feeding on the left side next to a little cove between scattered cedar trees. I slowly and quietly paddled closer and they let me get within 50 yards or so. I was excited to see they were mule deer, a symbol of the west and an indication of my progress on this journey. They were both bucks with antlers in velvet. When I rounded the point 2 minutes later a whitetail deer was standing watching me.
As I paddled on I noticed a distant, vaguely familiar, slightly mournfull sound. It was some kind of birds but where had I heard it before? Suddenly it came to me: it was prairie chickens. Prairie chickens! A great sign of wild prairie. In all my travels this was perhaps the first time I stumbled across a prairie chicken dancing grounds, aka lek.
In the evening I stopped to check out a campsite. 75 yards away hundreds of pounds of dirt broke away from the top of the bluff and went plummeting down into the water with a tremendous splash. With debris still trickling down a buzzard flew out from behind the slide! Apparently he had been sitting on a shelf that protected him from the little avalanche. It must have went right over him! A close brush with death for him and very unusual thing to see.
I was getting tuckered out but soon found another camp spot. I had been barely missing thunderstorms all day long but several were looming around me. After I got my tent set up a thunderstorm approached behind me and the thunder and rain commenced. I was snuggled in my tent though. Boy was it great to crawl into a nice warm sleeping bag after all those hard, adventurous miles. Colter
9th September Sunday 1804…Capt Lewis went out to Kill a buffalow. I walked on Shore all this evening with a view to Kill a Goat or Some Prarie Dogs in the evening after the boat landed, I Derected my Servent York with me to kill a Buffalow near the boat from a numbr. then Scattered in the plains, I saw at one view near the river at least 500 Buffalow, those animals have been in view all day feeding in the Plains on the L. S. every Copse of timber appear to have Elk or Deer. D. Killed 3 Deer, I Kiled a Buffalow Y. 2, R. Fields one.
10th September Monday 1804…on a hill on the L. S. we found the back bone of a fish, 45 feet long tapering to the tale, &c. those joints were Seperated and all petrefied, opposit this Island 11/ 2 miles from the river on the L. S. is a large Salt Spring of remarkable Salt water. one other high up the hill 1/ 2 me. not So Salt.
Septr. 11th Tuesday 1804…The man G Shannon, who left us with the horses above the Mahar Village, and beleving us to be ahead pushed on as long as he Could, joined us he Shot away what fiew Bullets he had with him, and in a plentiful) Countrey like to have Starvd. he was 12 days without provision, Subsisting on Grapes at the Same the Buffalow, would Come within 30 yards of his Camp, one of his horses gave out & he left him before his last belluts were Consumed…
Trip overview and route map with position updates:
Your story about the bluff collapsing reminds me of an incident on the White Cliffs section of the Missouri in Montana. We were approaching the Judith River towards the end of a canoe trip from below Fort Benton. There was a strong head wind, and we were staying close to a 12 foot high vertical dirt bank on river right in an effort to keep out of the wind. As we slogged along into the headwind, I noticed some small pieces of dirt crumbling off the dirt bank next to me. I was staring right at the crumbling dirt, wondering… Read more »
Almost like a glacier calving!