|July 22, 1806
We set out very early this morning as usual and proceeded up the river. for the
first seven miles of our travel this morning the country was broken and the land poor and
intermixed with a greater quantityof gravel than usual; the ravines were steep and
numerous and our horses feet have become extreemly soar in traveling over the gravel
we therefore traveled but slow. [Lewis continued up the west side of
Cut Bank Creek. After a few miles his course turned west, still following the creek.]
we met with a doe Elk which we wounded but did not get her. the river
is confined closely between clifts of perpendicular rocks in most parts. after the
distance of seven miles the country became more level les gravly and some bottoms to the
river but not a particle of timber nor underbush of any discription is to be seen.
we continued up the river on it's South side for 17 miles when we halted to glaize our
horses and eat; there being no wood we were compelled to make our fire with the buffaloe
dung which I found answered the purpose very well. we cooked and eat all the meat we
had except a small peice of buffaloe meat which was a little tainted. after dinner
we passed the river and took our course through a level and beautifull plain on the N.
side. the country has now become level, the river bottoms wide and the adjoining
plains but little elivated above them; the banks of the river are not usually more than
from 3 to four feet yet it dose not appear ever to overflow them. we found no
timber untill we had traveled 12 miles further when we arrived at a clump of large
cottonwood trees in a beautifull and extensive bottom of the river about 10 miles below
the foot of the rocky mountains where this river enters them; as I could see from hence
very distinctly where the river entered the mountains and the bearing of this point being
S of West I thought it unnecessary to proceed further and therefore encamped resolving to
rest ourselves and horses a couple of days at this place and take the necessary
observations. [This was the camp Lewis would name Camp Disappointment, where they
would remain until July 26. It was in along the south side of Cut Bank Creek just above
the mouth of Cut Bank John Coulee (sometimes referred to by its previous name, Trail
Coulee), about twelve miles northeast of Browning and approximately six miles north of
U.S. Highway 2.] this plain on which we are is very high; the rocky
mountains to the S.W. of us appear but low from their base up yet are partially covered
with snow nearly to their bases. there is no timber on those mountains within our view;
they are very irregular and broken in their form and seem to be composed principally of
clay with but little rock or stone. the river appears to possess at least double the
vollume of water which it had where we first arrived on it below; this no doubt proceeds
from the avapparation <of> caused by the sun and air and the absorbing of the earth
in it's passage through these open plains The course of the mountains still
continues from S.E. to N.W. the front rang appears to terminate abrubtly about
35 ms. to the N. W. of us. [Lewis was looking toward the main ridge of the
Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, MT.] I believe that the waters
of the Suskashawan apporoach the borders of this river very nearly. I now have lost
all hope of the waters of this river ever extending to N latitude 50o though I
still hope and think it more than probable that both white earth river and milk
river extend as far north as latd. 50o-- [White Earth River is Little
Muddy River, or Creek in North Dakota; See April 21, 1805. Clark explained to Biddle that
the hope was to find rivers extending to 50o North in order to gain more
territory for the United States.] we have seen but few buffaloe today
no deer and very few Antelopes; gam of every discription is extreemly wild which induces
me to beleive that the indians are now, or have been lately in this neighbourhood.
we wounded a buffaloe this evening but our horses were so much fatiegued that we were
unable to pursue it with success.--
Courses and distances July 22ed 1806.
|N. 30o W.
||ms. with the course of the river upwards.
river closely confined between low but steep and rocky Clifts. water transpent.
|S. 80o w.
||ms through the plains, the river making a
considerable bend to the wright or N W
|S. 75o W.
||ms. through the plains on the N side of the
river which here made a considerable bend to the left or South. we passed the river
to it's N. side at one mile from the commencement of this course and again recrossed it at
the extremity of the course and encamped on it's S. side.--
July 22, 1806
The wind continued to blow very hard from the N.E. and a little before day light was
moderately Cool. I Sent Sergt. Pryor and Shabono in Serch of the horses with
directions to proceed up the river as far as the 1st narrows and examine particularly for
their tracks, they returned at 3 P M and informed me that they had proceeded up the
distance I derected them to go and could See neither horses nor tracks; the Plains
imediately out from Camp is So dry and hard that the track of a horse Cannot be Seen
without close examination. I therefore derected Sergt. Pryor Shannon Shabono &
Bratten to incircle the Camp at Some distance around and find the tracks of the horses and
prosue them, they Serched for tracks all the evening without finding which Course the
horses had taken, the plains being so remarkably hard and dry as to render it impossible
to See a track of a horse passing through the hard parts of them. begin to Suspect
that they are taken by the Indians and taken over the hard plains to prevent our following
them. my Suspicions is grounded on the improbibility of the horses leaveing the
grass and rushes of the river bottoms of which they are very fond, and takeing imediately
out into the open dry plains where the grass is but Short and dry. if they had
Continued in the bottoms either up or down, their tracks Could be followed very well.
I directed Labeech who understands traking very well to Set out early in the
morning and find what rout the horses had taken if possible
July 22, 1806
a fair morning we rose eairly and turned out in different directions in
Search of our 4 horses about noon they were found at the grand falls of
Missourie [Great Falls of the Missouri River] and we tackled up the
horses and set out with 2 canoes part of the men not returnd from hunting the
horses. we proced. about 5 miles then our extletree broke down and we had to turn back
with our truck wheels leaving a man to take care of the baggage &C. we made another
extletree and Started with 2 more canoes & Camped Some of the men came in from hunting
the horses had killed three buffaloe and one goat or antelope.
July 22, 1806
We had a fine morning. Eight of us started in various directions to look for the
horses, and in a short time two of the men found them; harnessed them in the waggons and
moved on about four miles, when one of the axletrees broke; and they returned to the river
to mend it. Myself and one of the men did not return till dark, and then came to the place
where the canoes were upon the plains, with some of the men. Here a heavy shower of rain
came on with thunder and lightening; and we remained at this place all night.