Schoolcraft's Ozark Journey

Near Fourche à Courtois

Saturday, November 7th, 1818

As we are unacquainted with the hunter's art of travelling in the woods, we shall necessarily encounter some difficulties from our want of experience, which a hunter himself would escape. We find it necessary to gain a knowledge of things, of which we before knew nothing, and in which we had not any experience, such is the art of hobbling a horse properly, with safety to ourselves, and without injury to him-the best method of building a camp fire-how to cook a piece of venison, or boil a pot of coffee, etc. Such are now the objects which will engross our daily attention, and to excel in which becomes a point of ambitious exertion. An instance of our inexperience in these particulars occurred this morning. Our horse, owing to a defect in hobbling, went astray during the night, and we consumed the day until 10 o'clock, in hunting him up, when we repacked our baggage, and continued our way in a south-west direction toward the Fourche à Courtois. After travelling fourteen miles, the day being nearly spent, we arrived at an inhabited cabin, and obtained permission to remain for the night. Our path this day has lain across an elevated ridge of land, covered with yellow pine, and strewed with fragments of sandstone, quartz, and a species of coarse flinty jasper, the soil being sterile, and the vegetation scanty. The weather has been mild, and very pleasant for the season, with an unclouded sky, and light breeze from the south-west. General course of travelling west-south-west. Distance, fourteen miles.

-Henry Schoolcraft

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Funding for the Schoolcraft Journey project on Unlock the Ozarks has been provided by the Missouri Humanities Council.