|July 17, 1806
I arrose early this morning and made a drawing of the falls. [No drawing of the
falls by Lewis has been located. See June 13, 1805.] after which we took
breakfast and departed. it being my design to strike Maria's river about the place
at which I left it on my return to it's mouth in the begining of June 1805. I
steered my course through the wide and level plains which have somewhat the appearance of
an ocean, not a tree nor a shrub to be seen. the land is not fertile, at least far
less so, than the plains of the Columbia or those lower down this river, it is a light
coloured soil intermixed with a considerable proportion of coarse gravel without sand,
when dry it cracks and appears thursty and is very hard, in it's wet state, it is soft and
slipry as so much soft soap. the grass is naturally but short and at present has
been rendered much more so by the graizing of the buffaloe, the whole face of the country
as far as the eye can reach looks like a well shaved bowlinggreen, in which immence and
numerous herds of buffaloe were seen feeding attended by their scarcely less numerous
sheepherds the wolves. we saw a number of goats as usual today, also the party
coloured plover [Avocet, Recurvirostra americana, already described.
Lewis's detailed description is at May 1, 1805.] with the brick red head and
neck; this bird remains about the little ponds which are distributed over the face of the
plains [These ponds are northwest of Floweree, MT in the vicinity of the area
called Antelope Flat; one of them is known as Antelope Lake. The ponds are glacial
kettles, outwash-channel depressions, and wind blowouts that fill during heavy rains; they
usually dry up by mid or late summer. Lewis is traveling nearly north from the Great Falls
of the Missouri.] and here raise there young. we killed a buffaloe cow as
we passed throug the plains and took the hump and tonge which furnish ample rations for
four men one day. at 5 P.M. we arrived at rose river [Teton River.
For the naming of it, see June 4 & 6, 1805. Lewis camped here, approximately ten miles
northwest of Carter, MT.] where I purposed remaining all night as I could not
reach maria's river this evening and unless I did there would be but little probablility
of our finding any wood and very probably no water either. on our arrival at the
river we saw where a wounded and bleading buffaloe had just passed and concluded it was
probable that the indians had been runing them and were near at hand. the Minnetares
of Fort de Prarie and the blackfoot indians rove through this quarter of the country and
as they are a vicious lawless and reather an abandoned set of wretches I wish to avoid an
interview with them if possible. [Lewis's information regarding these indians came
primarily from their enemies, primarily the Shoshones and Nez Perce. However, his
experience of July 27, 1806 likely confirmed his opinion.] I have no doubt
but they would steel our horses if they have it in their power and finding us weak should
they happen to be numerous wil most probably attempt to rob us of our arms and baggage; at
all events I am determined to take every possible precaution to avoid them of possible.
I hurried over the river to a thick wood and turned out the horses to graize; sent
Drewyer to pursue and kill the wounded buffaloe in order to determine whether it had been
wounded by the indians or not, and proceeded myself to reconnoitre the adjacent country
having sent R. Fields for the same purpose a different rout. I ascended the river
hills and by the help of my glass examined the plains but could make no discovery, in
about an hour I returned to camp, where I met with the others who had been as
unsuccessfull as myself. Drewyer could not find the wounded buffaloe. J.
Fields whom I had left at camp had already roasted some of the buffaloe meat and we took
dinner after which I sent Drewyer and R. Fields to resome their resurches for the indians;
and set myself down to record the transactions of the day. rose river is at
this place fifty yards wide, the water which is only about 3 feet deep occupys about 35
yds. and is very terbid of a white colour. the general course of this river is from
East to west so far as I can discover it's track through the plains, it's bottoms are wide
and well timbered with cottonwood both the broad and narrow leafed speceis. the bed
of this stream is small gravel and mud; it's banks are low but never overflow, the hills
are about 100 or 150 feet high; it possesses bluffs of earth like the lower part of the
Missouri; except the debth and valocfity of it's stream and it is the Missouri in
miniture. from the size of rose river at this place and it's direction I have no
doubt but it takes it's source withint he first range of the Rocky mountains. the
bush which bears the red berry [Buffaloberry, Sepherdia argentea.]
is here in great plenty in the river bottoms.
Courses and distances July 17th 1806.
|N. 10o W.
||m. from the great falls of ther Missouri to rose
river where we encamped on it's northern bank in a grove of cottonwood.--
The spies returned having killed 2 beaver and a deer. they reported that
they saw no appearance of Indians.--
July 17, 1806
We had a pleasant day, and high wind; which drives away the musquitoes and relieves us
from those tormenting insects.
July 17, 1806
|N. 30o E
|| 1 1/2
||miles to a bend under a hill to the N.E Side.
river making a bend to the right in which there is 3 Island by watr. 3
|N. 65o E
||miles to the enterance of 2 large Creeks on each
Side of the river on those Creeks is much Cotton timer. all the mountains to the S W
is covered with Snow. Some Snow also on the mountins N.W. the high Snow Mtn. is
W.N.W. river makes 2 bends to right 9
|N. 76o E
|| 2 1/2
||miles to mouth of a brook River make a
bend to the right. 1 1/2
|N. 85 E
||miles to a brook in a N E bend passd. a
Small Island river makeing a Small bend to the right. 3 1/2
|S. 15o E.
||miles to the enterance of a Creek on the right
the road passing over a hill. under which the river passes from 1 to 2 ms.--
|S. 60o E
||miles to the enterance a large Creek on the N W
Side Crooked 30 yds wide one on the oposit Side nearly opposit. all these
Creeks have a great quantity of Cotton Trees in this bottoms their water of a milkey
colour. Dined. Saw a Pelican 5 ms.
|after Dinner 17th July 1806 from
the enterance of the R
|S 40o E
||miles to high point on the N E Side opposit a
high Clift in the opsd bend the river haveig made a bend to the right in which there
is 2 islands. Saw a pilicin alone-- by water 4 ms.
|N. 80o E
||miles by land to a bluff under a high pine hill
on the N W Side passed 10 Islands a large Creek fallen in on the opposit side.
|S. 60o E
||miles to the enteranc of a Small <Creek>
Brook on the right Side passing one large island, river passing under the high land
on N.E. Side. passed an Indian fort of logs & bark Lard.-- 4 ms. 1/2
|N. 80o E
||miles to the enterance of a Small Creek on the
Stard Side passed 2 large and 5 Small Islands the river passing under high pine land
on Lard Side for 2 miles.-- 5 <4> ms. 1/2
|N. 60o E
||miles to point of wood in the Lard. bend
passed 3 Islands narrow low bottom on each Side 1/2 mile wide Saw Seveal Buffalow
opposit on the Stard side. encamped in the bottom opsd. a Small island. 5 ms
July 17, 1806
The rain of last night wet us all. [NB: having no tent, & no
covering but a buffaloe skin] I had the horses all Collected early and
Set out, proceeded over the point of a ridge and through an open low bottom crossed
a large Creek which heads in a high Snow toped Mountain to the N W. imediately opposit to
the enterance of the Creek one Something larger falls in from the high Snow mountains to
the S W. & South those Creeks I call Rivers across [On the north is Big
Timber Creek and on the south is Boulder River, near Big Timber, MT. Big Timber
Creek is probably that referenced by Thomas James, who passed by in 1810 when working for
Manuel Lisa, as the "Twenty Five Yard" River; that width is the only notation
given for that stream ("River 25 yds wide bold") on Clark's map, other
than "rivers across." It is not unlikely that Lisa and his partners had a
copy of Clark's map of the region since Clark was a partner in the enterprise.
"Twenty Five yard" River has sometimes been identified with Shields River, but
some confusion may have occurred over the years. The words "Rivers across"
may have been added to a blank space and may not be in Clark's hand.] they
contain Some timber in their Vallys at the distance of [blank]
Miles by water we arive at the enterance of two Small rivers or large Creeks which fall in
nearly opposit to each other the one on the N E side is 30 yards wide. I call
it Otter River and the other Beaver R [Sweet Grass and Lower Deer Creeks. The
words from "Otter" to "R" were apparently substituted for some erased
material.] below the enterance of this Creek I halted as usial to let the Horses
graze &c. I saw a Single Pelicon which is the first which I have Seen on this
river. after Dinner I proceeded on Down the Rochejhone passing over a low ridge
through a Small bottom and on the Side of a Stoney hill for 2 miles and through a Small [NB:
bottom] and again on the Side of a high hill for 1 /2 M. to a bottom in
which we Incaped opposit a Small Island. [The camp was on the north side of the
Yellowstone a mile or two below the mouth of Hump Creek. It appears to be marked
"Encamped 7th July 1806" on Clark's map, but his numbers may have run together.]
The high lands approach the river on either side much nearer than it does
above and their Sides are partially covered with low pine & Cedar [Limber
Pine, Pinus flexilis and Rocky Mountain Juniper, Red Cedar, Juniperus
scopulorum.], none of which are Sufficently large for Canoes, nor have
I Seen a Cotton tree in the low bottoms Sufficiently large for the purpose. Buffalow
is getting much more plenty than they were above. not so many Elk & more deer Shannon
killed one deer. I Saw in one of those Small bottoms which I passed this evening an
Indian fort [Just above the mouth of Work Creek. Thomas James describes one used
by Crows on the Yellowstone in 1810, and Henry Brackenridge mentions an Arikara fort in
1811. Just above this fort on Work Creek is the site where a party of trappers led by
Michael Immell and Robert Jones of the Missouri Fur Company were defeated by Blackfeet on
May 31, 1823, with Immell and Jones being killed.] which appears to have been
built last Summer. this fort was built of logs and bark. the logs was put up
very Closely [NB: ends supporting each other] capping on
each other about 5 feet [NB: high] and Closely chinked.
around which bark was Set up on end so as to Cover the Logs. the enterance was also
guarded by a work on each Side of it and faceing the river. this work is about 50
feet Diameter & nearly round. the Squaw informs me that when the war parties [NB:
of Minnit. Crows &c. who fight Shoshonees] find themselves pursued
they make those forts to defend themselves in from the pursuers whose Superior numbers
might otherwise over power them and cut them off without receiveing much injurey on hors
Courses Distances Computed
& Remarks 17th July
Ms. by water
|N. 30o E.
|| 1 1/2
||Miles on the Course to a Larboard bend under a
hill, river makeing a bend to the Stard. Side in which there is 3 islands covered with
|N. 65o E.
||Miles on the Course to the Enterance of two
large Creeks one on each Side imediately opposite each other which I call Rivers a Cross
a great proportion of timber on both of those Creeks. river
|N. 76o E.
|| 1 1/2
||Miles to the enterance of a brook in the Lard.
|| 1 1/2
|N. 85o E
||Miles on the Course to a Brook in a lard Bend
passed a small Island river bending a little to the Stard Side. Current rapid
|| 3 1/2
|S. 15o E.
||Miles on the Course to the enterance of Thy
snag'd Creek [Upper Deer Greek, two miles above Lower Deer Creek. The name is
an apparent reference to the accident which happened to Gibson the following day, July
18.] on the Stard. Side. river passing under a high rocky hill from 1 to 2
|S. 60o E.
||Miles on the Course to the enterance of a large
creek on the Lard. Side, crooked and 30 yds wide which I call Otter River a large
creek or Small river falls in nearly opposit Beaver R. much timber on both of those
streams. the water of a milky colour. passed islands. Saw a Single pelican
& a pen to catch birds.
|| 5 1/2
|S. 40o E.
||Miles to a high point on the Lard. Side opposite
a high Clift in the opposit bend, the river haveing made a bend to Std. in which there is
2 large Islands.
|N. 80o E.
||Miles on the Course to a Clift under a high pine
hill on the Lard. Side passing the enteranc of a large Creek on the Stard. Side which I
call Brattens Ck. [Bridger Creek.] and 10 islands in this Course
|S. 60o E.
||Miles to the enterance of a Small Brook [Work
Creek.] on the Stard. Side passing one large Island. an old indian fort of
logs & bark river passed at the foot of a high hill on the Larboard Side
|| 4 1/2
|N. 80o E.
||Miles to the enterance of a Small Creek [Clark's
"Weasel Creek," present Hump Creek.] on the Stard. Side, passing 2
large & 5 Small Islands, the river passing under a high pine hill for 2 miles.
|N. 60o E.
||Miles to a point of wood in the Lard. Bend,
passed 3 Islands. the bottoms are narrow and low on each Side of the river, not
exceeding 1/2 a mile in width. Encpd.
|Ms. by Land
Ms. by water
July 17, 1806
a clear morning. we took an eairly breakfast and proceeded on
Collins and Colter Skinned the 2 mountn. Sheep Saved the Skin and bones for our officers
to take to the States. the wind rose So high that Some of the canoes were near
being filled. about noon we arived at the head of the pine Islands &
rapids & halted at the Creek [Half-breed Rapids in the vicinity of Hardy
Creek] above as the wind too high to pass these rapids with Safety. Cruzatte
killed 2 [3?] big horn animels and Colter killed a deer. towards
evening the wind abated a little So we passed down the rapids with Safety. at
the foot of the rockey mountains large gangs of the Ibex or big horn anim. Seen along the
edges of Sd. Mountns. Camped about 5 miles below Sd. rapids at ta bottom in groves of