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(voyage icon)1835

In the morning I found that I had been indebted to our friends the Menominies, with whom we had run the race the preceding day, for the squalling of the mother and the child: they knew very well that where we bivouacked there would be something to eat, and coming quietly to my camp, established the squaws to the leeward of my tent, whilst the men joined my people. They had had nothing to eat the previous evening, and I gave them some pork and biscuits, for which they thanked us.

At half-past 5 A. M. we got everything stowed into the canoe again, and pursued our way in a strong fog along the low flat banks of the river, filled with the zizania. Further on the country began to rise, and groups of trees to become more plentiful. At 9 A. M., having made about twelve miles, we landed to breakfast, and whilst this was preparing I climbed a lofty tree, and, the fog having cleared away, got an extensive inland view of the country, which was a perfect wilderness and nearly a dead flat, without any vestige of man or his labours, for the few Indians who frequent the country are all fish or rice eaters; or both, and seldom stray from the streams. ...

Having breakfasted we pursued our way cheerfully, the morning having become sunny and pleasant. A great number of large black water-snakes were basking on the muddy earth where the zizania grew; and as they heard the noise of our paddles, dropped into the water; but the young ones, who were yet without experience, kept their ground. I heard the rail frequently crying, and sometimes flushed them up. They appeared to me to be the same birds which abound near Newport, in the state of Delaware, where the zizania abounds so much. At noon the river averaged about fifty yards in breadth, and the banks rose twenty-five feet out of the water with a gentle slope to it. Here we came up with a mound about twenty feet high, where a famous chief of the Winnebagoes, called Yellow Thunder, is interred.

Winnebago Medicine Dance

At half-past one P.M. we stopped for the men to eat and smoke a pipe in a country not very well wooded, open oak lands with low sandy bottoms, containing sedge, wild cane, and zizania. We were now about 100 miles from Green Bay, and a more perfect wilderness could not be imagined; nothing alive to be seen but black snakes, red-winged blackbirds, and the plaintive quail. Proceeding on our way we came up about 4 P.M. with two Menominey lodges, the people of which let us have six fish for some biscuit: the Indians called them pashetau, and my men called them chigon, which was their imitation of the word keegon, the general Ojibway term for fish. We passed several primary boulders in the course of the afternoon.

One of the greatest sources of satisfaction to a traveller who is attached to geological pursuits, is to be found in the circumstance of his meeting with rocks of any kind. In this uninteresting wilderness, accompanied by illiterate men, I should have felt as lonely as if I had been in the deserts of Arabia, but for the chord which these boulders struck in me; and the moment I perceived them, all that existed of my lonely feeling passed away. ...

... At 6 P.M., having made by computation about thirty-five miles paddling against the stream, and perceiving the men, who had been harassed by the storm of the last evening, were watching for me to give the signal, I landed on a level sandy loam. ...

We had our paddles at work again as early as 5 A.M., and as we were passing over a shallow sandy part of the bed of the river, I saw a unio walking in the water, and stopped a moment to observe him; his motion was slow but steady, moving with the umbones or heaviest parts of his shell foremost, having, according to correct principles, the bulk of his burden nearest to the power of traction. The river became very winding again, which made our progress in a straight line rather tedious. In a little more than an hour we reached the lodge of a chief called "the Sturgeon," but he was gone south with his band. These savages, as they are sometimes called, have one good custom, unknown to civilized men. When they go upon distant excursions, they leave their houses, containing what furniture, implements, and property belonging to them they do not wish to carry with them, with the doors unfastened, and frequently do not return until after an absence of several months. But the others never rob them or destroy their property in time of peace.