LEWIS & CLARK 
JOURNAL ENTRIES
IN THE TOWNSEND VALLEY, MONTANA

The entire Corps of Discovery passed through what is now Broadwater County, Montana in the summer of 1805 on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean.  On their return trip the following year, the Corps split into several groups and only Sergeant Ordway with nine men and six canoes came back down the Missouri River through our area.

Lewis and Clark Journal entries written in the summer of 1805:


[Lewis, July 19, 1805]

Friday July 19th 1805

The Musquetoes are very troublesome to us as usual. this morning we set out early and proceeded on very well tho the water appears to encrease in volocity as we advance. the current has been strong all day and obstructed with some rapids, tho these are but little broken by rocks and are perfectly safe. the river deep and from 100 to 150 yds. wide. I walked along shore today and killed an Antelope. whever we get a view of the lofty summits of the mountains the snow presents itself, altho we are almost suffocated in this confined vally with heat. the pine cedar and balsum fir grow on the mountains in irregular assemleages or spots mostly high up on their sides and summits. this evening we entered much the most remarkable clifts that we have yet seen. these clifts rise from the waters edge on either side perpendicularly to the hight of 1200 feet. every object here wears a dark and gloomy aspect. the towering and projecting rocks in many places seem ready to tumble on us. the river appears to have forced it's way through this immence body of solid rock for the distance of 5¾ miles and where it makes it's exit below has thown on either side vast collumns of rocks mountains high. the river appears to have woarn a passage just the width of it's channel or 150 yds. it is deep from side to side nor is ther in the 1st 3 miles of this distance a spot except one of a few yards in extent on which a man could rest the soal of his foot. several fine springs burst out at the waters edge from the interstices of the rocks. it happens fortunately that altho the current is strong it is not so much so but what it may be overcome with the oars for there is hear no possibility of using either the cord or Setting pole. it was late in the evening before I entered this place and was obliged to continue my rout untill sometime after dark before I found a place sufficiently large to encamp my small party; at length such an one occurred on the lard. side where we found plenty of lightwood and pichpine. this rock is a black grannite below and appears to be of a much lighter colour above and from the fragments I take it to be flint of a yelloish brown and light creemcolourd yellow.- from the singular appearance of this place I called it the gates of the rocky mountains. the mountains higher today than yesterday, saw some Bighorns and a few Antelopes also beaver and Otter; the latter are now very plenty one of the men killed one of them today with a setting pole. musquetoes less troublesome than usual. we had a thundershower today about 1 P.M. which continued about an hour and was attended with som hail. we have seen no buffaloe since we entered the mounts. this morning early Capt. Clark pursued his rout, saw early in the day the remains of several Indians camps formed of willow brush which appeared to have been inhabited some time this spring. saw where the natives had pealed the bark off the pine trees about this same season. this the indian woman with us informs that they do to obtain the sap and soft part of the wood and bark for food. at 11 A.M. Capt. C. feell in with a gang of Elk of which he killed 2. and not being able to obtain as much wood as would make a fire substituded the dung of the buffaloe and cooked a part of their meat on which they breakfasted and again pursueed their rout, which lay along an old indian road. this evening they passed a hansome valley watered by a large creek which extends itself with it's valley into the mountain to a considerable distance. the latter part of the evening their rout lay over a hilly and mountanous country covered with the sharp fragments of flint which cut and bruised their feet excessively; nor wer the prickly pear of the leveler part of the rout much less painfull; they have now become so abundant in the open uplands that it is impossible to avoid them and their thorns are so keen and stif that they pearce a double thickness of dressed deers skin with ease. Capt. C. informed me that he extracted 17 of these bryers from his feet this evening after he encamped by the light of the fire. I have guarded or reather fortifyed my feet against them by soaling my mockersons with the hide of the buffaloe in parchment. he encamped on the river much fortiegud having passed two mountains in the course of the day and travelled about 30 miles.-

 

[Clark, July 19, 1805]

July 19th Fryday 1805

a find morning I proceeded on in an Indian path river verry crooked passed over two mountains Saw Several Indian Camps which they have left this Spring. Saw trees Peeled & found poles &c. at 11 oC I Saw a gange of Elk as we had no provision Concluded to kill Some Killd two and dined being oblige to Substitute dry buffalow dung in place of wood, this evening passed over a Cream Coloured flint which roled down from the Clifts into the bottoms, the Clifts Contain flint a dark grey Stone & a redish brown intermixed and no one Clift is Solid rock, all the rocks of everry description is in Small pices appears to have been broken by Some Convulsion- passed a butifull Creek on the Std. Side this eveng which meanders thro a butifull Vallie of great extent, I call after Sgt Pryor the countrey on the Lard Side a high mountain Saw Several Small rapids to day the river Keep its width and appear to be deep, my feet is verry much brused & cut walking over the flint, & constantly Stuck full Prickley pear thorns, I puled out 17 by the light of the fire to night We camped on the river Same (Lard) Side Musqutors verry troublesom.

 

[Lewis, July 20, 1805]

Saturday 20 h 1805.

Set out early this morning as usual, currant strong, we therefore employ the toe rope when ever the banks permit the use of it; the water is reather deep for the seting pole in most places. at 6 A.M. the hills retreated from the river and the valley became wider than we have seen it since we entered the mountains. some scattering timber on the river and in the valley. consisting of the narrowleafed Cottonwood aspin & pine. vas numbers of the several species of currants goosberries and service berries; of each of these I preserved some seeds. I found a black currant which I thought preferable in flavor to the yellow. this currant is really a charming fruit and I am confident would be prefered at our markets to any currant now cultivated in the U States. we killed an Elk this morning which was very acceptable to us. through the valley which we entered early in the morning a large creek flows from the mountains and discharges itself into the river behind an island on Stard. side about 15 yds. wide this we called Potts's Creek after John Potts one of our party. about 10 A.M. we saw the smoke arrose as if the country had been set on fire up the valley of this creek about 7 ms. distant we were at a loss to determine whether it had been set on fire by the natives as a signall among themselves on discovering us, as is their custom or whether it had been set on fire by Capt. C. and party accedentally. the first however proved to be the fact, they had unperceived by us discovered Capt. Clark's party or mine, and had set the plain on fire to allarm the more distant natives and fled themselves further into the interior of the mountains. this evening we found the skin of an Elk and part of the flesh of the anamal which Capt. C. had left near the river at the upper side of the valley where he assended the mountain with a note informing me of his transactions and that he should pass the mounts which lay just above us and wate our arrival at some convenient place on the river. the other elk which Capt. C. had killed we could not find. about 2 in the evening we had passed through a range of low mountains and the country bacame more open again, tho still broken and untimbered and the bottoms not very extensive. we encamped on the Lard. side near a spring on a high bank the prickly pears are so abundant that we could scarcely find room to lye. just above our camp the river is again closed in by the Mouts. on both sides. I saw a black woodpecker today about the size of the lark woodpecker as black as a crow. I indevoured to get a shoot at it but could not. it is a distinct species of woodpecker; it has a long tail and flys a good deel like the jay bird.

 

This morning Capt. Clark set out early and proceeded on through a valley leaving the river about six miles to his left; he fell in with an old Indian road which he pursued untill it struck the river about 18 miles from his camp of the last evening just above the entrance of a large creek which we call white paint Creek. the party were so much fortiegued with their march and their feet cut with the flint and perced with the prickly pears untill they had become so painfull that he proceeded but little further before he determined to encamp on the river and wait my arrival.- Capt. C. saw a smoke today up the valley of Pryor's creek which was no doubt caused by the natives likewise. he left signals or signs on his rout in order to inform the indians should they pursue his trale that we were not their enemies, but white men and their friends.- cloth &c

 

[Clark, July 20, 1805]

July 20th Satturday 1805

a fine morning we proceded on thro a valley leaveing the river about 6 miles to our left and fell into an Indian roade which took us to the river above the mo. of a Creek 18 miles The Misquetors verry troublesom my man York nearly tired out, the bottoms of my feet blistered. I observe a Smoke rise to our right up the Valley of the last Creek about 12 miles distant, The Cause of this Smoke I can't account for certainly tho think it probable that the Indians have heard the Shooting of the Partey below and Set the Praries or Valey on fire to allarm their Camps; Supposeing our party to be a war party comeing against them, I left Signs to Shew the Indians if they Should come on our trail that we were not their enemeys. Camped on the river, the feet of the men with me So Stuck with Prickley pear & cut with the Stones that they were Scerseley able to march at a Slow gate this after noon

 

[Lewis, July 21, 1805]

Sunday July 21st 1805.

Set out early this morning and passed a bad rappid where the river enters the mountain about 1 m. from our camp of last evening the Clifts high and covered with fragments of broken rocks. the current strong; we employed the toe rope principally, and also the pole as the river is not now so deep but reather wider and much more rapid our progress was therefore slow and laborious. we saw three swans this morning, which like the geese have not yet recovered the feathers of the wing and could not fly we killed two of them the third escaped by diving and passed down with the current; they had no young ones with them therefore presume they do not breed in this country these are the first we have seen on the river for a great distance. we daily see great numbers of gees with their young which are perfectly feathered except the wings which are deficient in both young and old. my dog caught several today, as he frequently dose. the young ones are very fine, but the old gees are poor and unfit for uce. saw several of the large brown or sandhill Crain today with their young. the young Crain is as large as a turkey and cannot fly they are of a bright red bey colour or that of the common deer at this season. this bird feeds on grass prinsipally and is found in the river bottoms. the grass near the river is lofty and green that of the hill sides and high open grounds is perfectly dry and appears to be scorched by the heat of the sun. the country was rough mountainous & much as that of yesterday untill towards evening when the river entered a beautifull and extensive plain country of about 10 or 12 miles wide which extended upwards further that the eye could reach this valley is bounded by two nearly parallel ranges of high mountains which have their summits partially covered with snow. below the snowey region pine succeeds and reaches down their sides in some parts to the plain but much the greater portion of their surfaces is uncovered with timber and expose either a barren sterile soil covered with dry parched grass or black and rugged rocks. the river immediately on entering this valley assumes a different aspect and character, it spreads to a mile and upwards in width crouded with Islands, some of them large, is shallow enough for the use of the seting pole in almost every part and still more rappid than before; it's bottom is smooth stones and some large rocks as it has been since we have entered the mountains. the grass in these extensive bottoms is green and fine, about 18 inches or 2 feet high. the land is a black rich loam and appears very fertile. we encamped in this beatiful valley on the Lard. side the party complain of being much fatiegued with this days travel. we killed one deer today.- This morning we passed a bold creek 28 yds. wide which falls in on Stard. side. it has a handsome and an extensive valley. this we called Pryor's Creek after Sergt. (John) Pryor one of our party. I also saw two fesants today of a dark brown colour much larger than the phesant of the U States.

 

this morning Capt. Clark having determined to hunt and wait my arrival somewhere about his preset station was fearfull that some indians might still be on the river above him sufficiently near to hear the report of his guns and therefore proceeded up, the river about three miles and not finding any indians nor discovering any fresh appearance of them returned about four miles below and fixed his camp near the river; after refreshing themselves with a few hours rest they set out in different directions to hunt. Capt C. killed a buck and Fields a buck and doe. he caught a young curlooe which was nearly feathered. the musquetoes were equally as troublesome to them as to ourselves this evening; tho some hours after dark the air becomes so cold that these insects disappear. the men are all fortunately supplyed with musquetoe biers otherwise it would be impossible for them to exist under the fatiegues which they daily encounter without their natural rest which they could not obtain for those tormenting insects if divested of their biers. timber still extreemly scant on the river but there is more in this valley than we have seen since we entered the mountains; the creeks which fall into the river are better supplyed with this article than the river itself.-

 

we saw a number of trout today since the river has become more shallow; also caught a fish of a white colour on the belly and sides and of a bluish cast on the back which had been accedentally wounded by a setting pole. it had a long pointed mouth which opened somewhat like the shad.

 

[Clark, July 21, 1805]

July 21st Sunday 1805

a fine morning our feet So brused and Cut that I deturmined to delay for the Canoes, & if possible kill Some meat by the time they arrived, all the Creeks which fall into the Missouri on the Std. Side Since entering the Mountains have extencive Valies of open Plain. the river bottoms Contain nothing larger than a Srub untill above the last Creek the Creeks & runs have timber on them generally, the hills or mountains are in Some places thickly covered with pine & Cedar &c. &c. I proceeded on about 3 miles this morning finding no fresh Indian Sign returned down the river four miles and Camped, turned out to hunt for Some meat, which if we are Suckessfull will be a Seasonable Supply for the partey assending. emence quantities of Sarvice buries, yellow, red, Purple & black Currents ripe and Superior to any I ever tasted particularly the yellow & purple kind. Choke Cheries are Plenty; Some Goose buries- The wild rose Continue the Willow more abundant no Cotton wood of the Common kind Small birds are plenty, Some Deer, Elk, Goats, and Ibex; no buffalow in the Mountains.

 

Those mountains are high and a great perportion of them rocky Vallies fertile I observe on the highest pinicals of Some of the mountains to the West Snow lying in Spots Some Still further North are covered with Snow and cant be Seen from this point The Winds in those mountains are not Settled generally with the river, to day the wind blow hard from the West at the Camp. The Missouri Continus its width the Current Strong and Crouded with little Islands and Cose graveley bars; but little fine Sand the Chanel generally a Corse gravel or Soft mud. Musquetors & Knats verry troublesom. I killed a Buck, and J. Fields killed a Buck and Doe this evening. Cought a young Curlough.

 

[Lewis, July 22, 1805]

Monday July 22cd 1805.

We set out early as usual. The river being divided into such a number of channels by both large and small Island that I found it impossible to lay it down correctly following one channel only in a canoe and therefore walked on shore took the general courses of the river and from the rising grounds took a view of the Islands and it's different channels which I laid don in conformity thereto on my chart. there being but little timber to obstruct my view I could see it's various meanders very satisfactorily. I passed though a large Island which I found a beautifull level and fertile plain about 10 feet above the surface of the water and never overflown. on this Island I met with great quantities of a smal onion about the size of a musquit ball and some even larger; they were white crisp and well flavored I geathered about half a bushel of them before the canoes arrived. I halted the party for breakfast and the men also geathered considerable quantities of those onions. it's seed had just arrived to maturity and I gathered a good quantity of it. This appears to be a valuable plant inasmuch as it produces a large quantity to the squar foot and bears with ease the rigor of this climate, and withall I think it as pleasantly flavored as any species of that root I ever tasted. I called this beatifull and fertile island after this plant Onion Island. here I passed over to the stard. shore where the country was higher and ascended the river to the entrance of a large creek which discharges itself into the Missouri on the Stard. side. it is composed of three pretty considerable creeks which unite in a beautifull and extensive vally a few miles before it discharges itself into the river. while wateing for the canoes to arrive I killed an otter which sunk to the bottom on being shot, a circumstance unusual with that anamal. the water was about 8 feet deep yet so clear that I could see it at the bottom; I swam in and obtained it by diving. I halted the party here for dinner; the canoes had taken different channels through these islands and it was sometime before they all came up. I placed my thermometer in a good shade as was my custom about 4 P.M. and after dinner set out without it and had proceeded near a mile before I recollected it I sent Sergt. Ordway back for it, he found it and brought it on. the murcury stood at 80 a. 0 this is the warmest day except one which we have experienced this summer. The Indian woman recognizes the country and assures us that this is the river on which her relations live, and that the three forks are at no great distance. this peice of information has cheered the sperits of the party who now begin to console themselves with the anticipation of shortly seeing the head of the missouri yet unknown to the civilized world. the large creek which we passed on Stard. 15 yds. we call white Earth Creek from the circumstance of the natives procuring a white paint on this crek.- Saw many gees, crams, and small birds common to the plains, also a few phesants and a species of small curlooe or plover of a brown colour which I first met with near the entrance of Smith's river but they are so shy and watchfull there is no possibility of geting a shoot at them it is a different kind from any heretofore discribed and is about the size of the yellow leged plover or jack Curlooe. both species of the willow that of the broad leaf and narrow leaf still continue, the sweet willow is very scarce. the rose bush, small honesuckle, the pulpy leafed thorn, southernwood, sage Box alder narrow leafed cottonwood, red wod, a species of sumac are all found in abundance as well as the red and black goosberries, service berries, choke cherries and the currants of four distinct colours of black, yellow, red and perple. the cherries are not yet ripe. the bear appear to feed much on the currants. late this evening we arrived at Capt. Carks camp on the stard. side of the river; we took them on board with the meat they had collected and proceeded a short distance and encamped on an Island Capt. Clark's party had killed a deer and an Elk today and ourselves one deer and an Antelope only. altho Capt C. was much fatiegued his feet yet blistered and soar he insisted on pursuing his rout in the morning nor weould he consent willingly to my releiving him at that time by taking a tour of the same kind. finding him anxious I readily consented to remain with the canoes; he ordered Frazier and Jo. & Reubin Filds to hold themselves in readiness to accompany him in the morning. Sharbono was anxious to accompany him and was accordingly permitted. the musquetoes and knats more than usually troublesome to us this evening.-

 

[Clark, July 22, 1805]

July 22d Monday 1805

a fine morning wind from the S. E. the last night verry cold, my blanket being Small I lay on the grass & Covered with it. I opened the bruses & blisters of my feet which caused them to be painfull dispatched all the men to hunt in the bottom for Deer, deturmined my Self to lay by & nurs my feet. haveing nothing to eat but venison and Currents, I find my Self much weaker than when I left the Canoes and more inclined to rest & repose to day. These men were not Suckcessfull in hunting killed only one Deer Capt Lewis & the Party arvd. at 4 oClock & we all proceeded on a Short distance and Camped on an Island the Musquitors verry troublesom this evening G Drewyer not knowing the place we Camped Continued on up the river. I deturmined to proceed on in pursute of the Snake Indians on tomorrow and directed Jo Rubin Fields Frasure to get ready to accompany me. Shabono, our interpreter requested to go, which was granted &c. In my absence the hunters had killed Some Deer & a Elk, one fusee found &c. &c.

 

[Lewis, July 23, 1805]

Tuesday July 23rd 1805.

Set out early as usual; Capt. Clark left us with his little party of 4 men and continued his rout on the Stard. side of the river. about 10 OCk. A M. we came up with Drewyer who had seperated from us yesterday evening and lay out all night not being able to find where we had encamped. he had killed 5 deer which we took on board and continued our rout. the river is still divided by a great number of islands, it channels sometimes seperating to the distance of 3 miles; the current very rapid with a number of riffles; the bed gravel and smooth stones; the banks low and of rich loam in the bottoms; some low bluffs of yellow and red clay with a hard red slate stone intermixed. the bottoms are wide and but scantily timbered; the underbrush very thick consisting of the narrow & broad leafed willow rose and Currant bushes principally. high plains succeeds the river bottoms and extend back on either side to the base of the mountains which are from 8 to 12 miles assunder, high, rocky, some small pine and Cedar on them and ly parallel with the river. passed a large creek on Lard. side 20 yds. wide which after meandering through a beautifull and extensive bottom for several miles nearly parallel with the river discharges itself opposite to a large cluster of islands which from their number I called the 10 islands and the creek Whitehous's Creek, after Josph. Whitehouse one of the party. saw a great abundance of the common thistles; also a number of the wild onions of which we collected a further supply. there is a species of garlic also which grows on the high lands with a flat leaf now green and in bloe but is strong tough and disagreeable. found some seed of the wild flax ripe which I preserved; this plant grows in great abundance in these bottoms. I halted rearther early for dinner today than usual in order to dry some articles which had gotten wet in several of the canoes. I ordered the canoes to hoist their small flags in order that should the indians see us they might discover that we were not Indians, nor their enemies. we made great uce of our seting poles and cords the uce of both which the river and banks favored. most of our small sockets were lost, and the stones were so smooth that the points of their poles sliped in such manner that it increased the labour of navigating the canoes very considerably, I recollected a parsel of giggs which I had brought on, and made the men each atatch one of these to the lower ends of their poles with strong wire, which answered the desired purpose. we saw Antelopes Crain gees ducks beaver and Otter. we took up four deer which Capt. Clark & party had killed and left near the river. he pursued his rout untill late in the evening and encamped on the bank of the river 25 ms. above our encampment of the last evening; he followed an old indian road which lyes along the river on the stard side Capt. saw a number of Antelopes, and one herd of Elk. also much sign of the indians but all of ancient date. I saw the bull rush and Cattail flag today.

 

I saw a black snake today about two feet long the Belly of which was as black as any other part or as jet itself. it had 128 scuta on the belley 63 on the tail.

 

[Clark, July 23, 1805]

July 23rd Tuesday 1805

a fair morning wind from the South. I Set out by land at 6 miles overtook G Drewyer who had killed a Deer. we killed in the Same bottom 4 deer & a antelope & left them on the river bank for the Canoes proceeded on an Indian roade through a wider Vallie which the Missouri Passes about 25 miles & Camped on the bank of the river, High mountains on either Side of the Vallie Containing Scattering Pine & Cedar Some Small Cotton willow willow &c. on the Islands & bank of the river I Saw no fresh Sign of Indians to day Great number of antelopes Some Deer & a large Gangue of Elk

 

[Lewis, July 24, 1805]

Wednesday July 24th 1805.

Set out at sunrise; the current very strong; passed a remarkable bluff of a crimson coloured earth on Stard. intermixed with Stratas of black and brick red slate. the valley through which the river passed today is much as that of yesterday nor is there any difference in the appearance of the mountains, they still continue high and seem to rise in some places like an amphatheater one rang above another as they receede from the river untill the most distant and lofty have their tops clad with snow. the adjacent mountains commonly rise so high as to conceal the more distant and lofty mountains from our view. I fear every day that we shall meet with some considerable falls or obstruction in the river notwithstanding the information of the Indian woman to the contrary who assures us that the river continues much as we see it. I can scarcely form an idea of a river runing to great extent through such a rough mountainous country without having it's stream intercepted by some difficult and gangerous rappids or falls. we daily pass a great number of small rappids or riffles which decend one to or 3 feet in 150 yards but they are rarely incommoded with fixed or standing rocks and altho strong rappid water are nevertheless quite practicable & by no means dangerous. we saw many beaver and some otter today; the former dam up the small channels of the river between the islands and compell the river in these parts to make other channels; which as soon as it has effected that which was stoped by the beaver becomes dry and is filled up with mud sand gravel and drift wood. the beaver is then compelled to seek another spot for his habitation wher he again erects his dam. thus the river in many places among the clusters of islands is constantly changing the direction of such sluices as the beaver are capable of stoping or of 20 yds. in width. this anamal in that way I beleive to be very instrumental in adding to the number of islands with which we find the river crouded. we killed one deer today and found a goat or Antelope which had been left by Capt. Clark. we saw a large bear but could not get a shoot at him. we also saw a great number of Crams & Antelopes, some gees and a few red-headed ducks the small bird of the plains and curloos still abundant. we observed a great number of snakes about the water of a brown uniform colour, some black, and others speckled on the abdomen and striped with black and brownish yellow on the back and sides. the first of these is the largest being about 4 feet long, the second is of that kind mentioned yesterday, and the last is much like the garter snake of our country and about it's size. none of these species are poisonous I examined their teeth and fund them innosent. they all appear to be fond of the water, to which they fly for shelter immediately on being pursued.- we saw much sign of Elk but met with none of them. from the appearance of bones and excrement of old date the buffaloe sometimes straggle into this valley; but there is no fresh sighn of them and I begin think that our harrvest of white puddings is at an end, at least untill our return to the buffaloe country. our trio of pests still invade and obstruct us on all occasions, these are the Musquetoes eye knats and prickley pears, equal to any three curses that ever poor Egypt laiboured under, except the Mahometant yoke. the men complain of being much fortiegued, their labour is excessively great. I occasionly encourage them by assisting in the labour of navigating the canoes, and have learned to push a tolerable good pole in their fraize. This morning Capt. Clark set out early and pursued the Indian road whih took him up a creek some miles abot 10 A.M. he discovered a horse about six miles distant on his left, he changed his rout towards the horse, on approaching him he found the horse in fine order but so wild he could not get within less than several hundred paces of him. he still saw much indian sign but none of recent date. from this horse he directed his course obliquely to the river where on his arrival he killed a deer and dined. in this wide valley where he met with the horse he passed five handsome streams, one of which only had timber another some willows and much stoped by the beaver. after dinner he continued his rout along the river upwards and encamped having traveled about 30 mes.

 

[Clark, July 24, 1805]

July 24th Wednesday 1805

a fine day wind from the N W. I proceeded on up a Creek on the direction of the Indian road at 10 oClock discovered a horse 6 miles to my left towards the river as I approached the horse found him fat and verry wild we could not get near him, we changed our Direction to the river for water haveing previously Crossed 5 handsom Streams in one Vallie one only had any timber on it one other Willows only & a number of beaver Dams. when I Struck the river turned down to kill a Deer which we dined on & proceeded on up the river a fiew miles an Campd. on the river. the river much like it was yesterday. the mountains on either Side appear like the hills had fallen half down & turned Side upwards the bottoms narrow and no timber a fiew bushes only.

 

[Lewis, July 25, 1805]

Thursday July 25th 1805.

Set out at an early hour and proceeded on tolerably well the water still strong and some riffles as yesterday. the country continues much the same as the two preceeding days. in the forenoon we saw a large brown bear on an island but he retreated immediately to the main shore and ran off before we could get in reach of him. they appear to be more shy here than on the Missouri below the mountains. we saw some antelopes of which we killed one. these anamals appear now to have collected again is small herds several females with their young and one or two males compose the herd usually. some males are yet soletary or two perhaps together scattered over the plains which they seen invariably to prefer to the woodlands. if they happen accedentaly in the woodlands and are allarmed they run immediately to the plains, seeming to plaise a just confidence in their superior fleetness and bottom. we killed a couple of young gees which are very abundant and fine; but as they are but small game to subsist a party on of our strength I have forbid the men shooting at them as it waists a considerable quantity of amunition and delays our progress. we passed Capt. Clark's encampment of the 23rd inst. the face of the country & anamal and vegatable productions were the same as yesterday, untill late in the evening, when the valley appeared to termineate and the river was again hemned in on both sides with high caiggy and rocky clifts. soon after entering these hills or low mountains we passed a number of fine bold springs which burst out underneath the Lard. clifts near the edge of the water; they wer very cold and freestone water. we passed a large Crk. today in the plain country, 25 yds. wide, which discharges itself on the Stard. side; it is composed of five streams which unite in the plain at no great distance from the river and have their souces in the Mts. this stream we called Gass's Creek. after Sergt. Patric Gass one of our party.- two rapids near the large spring we passed this evening were the worst we have seen since that we passed on entering the rocky Mountain; they were obstructed with sharp pointed rocks, ranges of which extended quite across the river. the clifts are formed of a lighter coloured stone than those below I obseve some limestone also in the bed of the river which seem to have been brought down by the current as they are generally small and woarn smooth.- This morning Capt. Clark set out early and at the distance of a few miles arrived at the three forks of the Missouri, here he found the plains recently birnt on the stard. side, and the track of a horse which appeared to have passed only about four or five days. after taking breakfast of some meat which they had brought with them, examined the rivers, and written me a note informing me of his intended rout, he continued on up the North fork, which though not larger than the middle fork, boar more to the West, and of course more in the direction we were anxious to pursue. he ascended this stream about 25 miles on Stard. side, and encamped, much fatiegued, his feet blistered and wounded with the prickley pear thorns. Charbono gave out, one of his ankles failed him and he was unable to proceede any further.- I observed that the rocks which form the clifts on this part of the river appear as if they had been undermined by the river and by their weight had seperated from the parent hill and tumbled on their sides, the stratas of rock of which they are composed lying with their edges up; others not seperated seem obliquely depressed on the side next the river as if they had sunk down to fill the cavity which had been formed by the washing and wearing of the river. I have observed a red as well as a yellow species of goosberry which grows on the rocky Clifts in open places of a swetish pine like flavor, first observed in the neighbourhood of the falls; at least the yellow species was first observed there. the red differs from it in no particular except it's colour and size being somewhat larger; it is a very indifferent fruit, but as they form a variety of the native fruits of this country I preserved some of their seeds. musquetoes and knats troublesome as usual.

 

[Clark, July 25, 1805]

July 25th Thursday 1805

a fine morning we proceeded on a fiew miles to the three forks of the Missouri those three forks are nearly of a Size, the North fork appears to have the most water and must be Considered as the one best calculated for us to assend middle fork is quit as large about 90 yds. wide. The South fork is about 70 yds wide & falls in about 400 yards below the midle fork. those forks appear to be verry rapid & Contain Some timber in their bottoms which is verry extincive,- on the North Side the Indians have latterly Set the Praries on fire, the Cause I can't account for. I Saw one horse track going up the river about four or 5 days past. after Brackfast (which we made on the ribs of a Buck killed yesterday), I wrote a note informing Capt Lewis the rout I intended to take, and proeeded on up the main North fork thro a vallie, the day verry hot about 6 or 8 miles up the North fork a Small rapid river falls in on the Lard Side which affords a great Deel of water and appears to head in the Snow mountains to the S W. this little river falls into the Missouri by three mouthes, haveing Seperated after it arrives in the river Bottoms, and Contains as also all the water courses in this quarter emence number of Beaver & orter maney thousand enhabit the river & Creeks near the 3 forks (Pholosiphie's River)- We Campd on the Same Side we assended Starboard 20 miles on a direct line up the N. fork. Shabono our intrepreter nearly tired one of his ankles falling him- The bottoms are extencive and tolerable land Covered with tall grass & prickley pears The hills & mountains are high Steep & rockey. The river verry much divided by Islands Some Elk Bear & Deer and Some Small timber on the Islands. Great quantities of Currents, red, black, yellow, Purple, also Mountain Currents which grow on the Sides of Clifts; inferior in taste to the others haveing Sweet pineish flaver and are red & yellow, Choke Cheries, Boin roche, and the red buries also abound- musquitors verry trouble Som untill the mountain breeze Sprung up which was a little after night.

 

[Lewis, July 26, 1805]

Friday July 26th 1805.

Set out early this morning as usual current strong with frequent riffles; employ the cord and seting poles. the oars scarcely ever being used except to pass the river in order to take advantage of the shore and cur-rent. at the distance of 3¾ m. passed the entrance of a large Creek 15 yds. wide which discharges itself on Lard. near the center of a Lard. bend it is a bold runing stream this we called Howard's Creek after Thomas P. Howard one of our party. at the distance of one mile further we passed the entrance of a small run which falls in just above a rocky clift on Lard. here the hills or reather mountains again recede from the river and the valley again widens to the extent of several miles with wide and fertile bottom lands. covered with grass and in many places a fine terf of greenswoard. the high lands are thin meagre soil covered with dry low sedge and a species of grass also dry the seeds of which are armed with a long twisted hard beard at the upper extremity while the lower point is a sharp subulate firm point beset at it's base with little stiff bristles standing with their points in a contrary direction to the subulate point to which they answer as a barb and serve also to pres it forward when onece entered a small distance. these barbed seed penetrate our mockersons and leather legings and give us great pain untill they are removed. my poor dog suffers with them excessively, he is constantly hinting and scratching himself as if in a rack of pain. the prickly pear also grow here as abundantly as usual. there is another species of the prickly pear of a globular form, composed of an assemblage of little conic leaves springing from a common root to which their small points are attached as a common center and the base of the cone forms the apex of the leaf which is garnished with a circular range of sharp thorns quite as stif and more keen than the more common species with the flat leaf, like the Cockeneal plant. on entering this open valley I saw the snowclad tops of distant mountains before us. the timber and mountains much as heretofore. saw a number of beaver today and some otter, killed one of the former, also 4 deer; found a deer's skin which had been left by Capt. C. with a note informing me of his having met with a horse but had seen no fresh appearance of the Indians. the river in the valley is from 2 to 250 yds. wide and crouded with Islands, in some places it is ¾ of a mile wide including islands. were it passed the hills it was from 150 to 200 yds. the banks are still low but never overflow. one of the men brought me an indian bow which he found, it was made of cedar and about 2 F. 9 Inh. in length. it had nothing remarkable in it's form being much such as is used by the Mandans Minetares &c. This morning Capt. Clark left Sharbono and Joseph Fields at the camp of last evening and proceeded up the river about 12 miles to the top of a mountain from whence he had an extensive view of the valley of the river upwards and of a large creek which flowed into it on Std. side. not meeting with any fresh appearance of Indians he determined to return and examine the middle fork of the missouri and meet me by the time he expected me to arrive at the forks. he returned down the mountain by the way of an old Indian road which led through a deep hollow of the mountain facing the south the day being warm and the road unshaded by timber he suffered excessively with heat and the want of water, at length he arrived at a very cold spring, at which he took the precaution of weting his feet head and hands before drank but notwithstanding this precaution he soon felt the effects of the water. he felt himself very unwell shortly after but continued his march rejoined Sharbono and Fields where the party eat of a fawn which Jo. Fields had killed in their absence Capt. C. was so unwell that he had no inclination to eat. after a short respite he resumed his march pass the North fork at a large island; here Charbono was very near being swept away by the current and cannot swim, Capt. C however risqued him and saved his life. Capt. C. continued his march to a small river which falls into the North fork some miles above the junction of the 3 forks it being the distance of about four miles from his camp of last evening here finding himself still more unwell he determined to encamp. they killed two brown or Grisley bear this evening on the island where they passed the N. fork of the Missouri. this stream is much divided by islands and it's current rapid and much as that of the missouri where we are and is navigable.-

 

[Clark, July 26, 1805]

July 26th Friday 1805

I deturmined to leave Shabono & one man who had Sore feet to rest & proceed on with the other two to the top of a mountain 12 miles distant west and from thence view the river & vallies a head, we with great dificuelty & much fatigue reached the top at 11 oClock from the top of this mountain I could see the Course of the North fork about 10 miles meandering through a Vallie but Could discover no Indians or Sign which was fresh. I could also See Some distance up the Small River below, and also the middle fork after Satisfying my Self returned to the two men by an old Indian parth, on this parth & in the Mountain we Came to a Spring of excessive Cold water, which we drank reather freely of as we were almost famished; not with Standing the precautions of wetting my face, hands, & feet, I Soon felt the effects of the water. We Contind. thro a Deep Vallie without a Tree to Shade us Scorching with heat to the men who had killed a pore Deer, I was fatigued my feet with Several blisters & Stuck with prickley pears. I eate but verry little deturmined to Cross to the middle fork and examine that. we Crossed the Missouri which was divided by a verry large Island, the first Part was knee deep, the other waste deep & verry rapid- I felt my Self verry unwell & took up Camp on the little river 3 miles above its mouth & near the place it falls into the bottom a fiew Drops of rain this evening

 

we killed 2 bear which was imediately in our way. both pore emence number of Beaver and orter in this little river which forks in the bottom

 

 

[Quotes source: The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Gary E. Moulton, Editor.]

 

Clark’s 1805 Map