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This morning we set forward at an early hour; the weather dark and cloudy, the are smokey, had a few drops of rain; we employed the chord generally to which we also gave the assistance of the pole at the riffles and rocky points; these are as numerous and many of them much worse than those we passed yesterday; arround those points the water drives with great force, and we are obliged in many instaces to steer our vessels through the appertures formed by the points of large sharp rocks which reach a few inches above the surface of the water, here sould [NB: Should] our chord give way the bough is instantly drivin outwards by the stream and the vessel thrown with her side on the rocks where she must inevitably overset or perhaps be dashed to peices; our ropes are but slender, all of them except one being made of Elk's skin and much woarn, frequently wet and exposed to the heat of the weather are weak and rotten; they have given way several times in the course of the day but happily at such places that the vessel had room to wheel free of the rocks and therefore escaped injury; with every precaution we can take it is with much labour and infinite risk that we are enabled to get around these points. found a new indian lodge pole today which had been brought down by the stream, it was woarn at one end as if draged by dogs or horses; a football also,  and several other articles were found, which have been recently brought down by the courant; these are strong evedences of Indians being on the river above us, and probably at no great distance; the football is such as I have seen among the Minetaries and therefore think it most probable that they are a band of the Minetaries of Fort de Prarie.  the river country &c continued much as yesterday untill late in the evening when we arrived at the entrance of a large Creek discharges itself on the Stard. side, is 35 Yd. wide and contains runing water; [ML: this we called Thompson's C.] [NB: after one of the party]  here the hills recede from the river on both sides, the bottoms extensive particularly on the Stard. side where the hills are comparitively low and open into three large vallies which extend for a considerable distance in a Northwardly direction; here also the river spreads to more than 3 times it's former width and is filled with a number of small and handsome Islands covered with cottonwood some timber also in the bottoms, the land again fertile. These appearances were quite reviving after the drairy country through which we had been passing. Capt. C. walked on shore in the early part of the day and killed a big horned anamal; he saw a great number of them as well as ourselves in the broken country. at 10 A. M. a few drops of rain again fell and were attended with distant thunder which is the first we have heared since we left the Mandans.— This evening we encamped on Stard. opposite to the entrance of a small [EC: Bull] Creek.  I beleive the bighorn have their young at a very early season, say early in March for they appear now to be half grown. One of the party saw a very large bear today but being some distance from the river and no timber to conceal him he did not think proper to fire on him.
a Cloudy morning Some fiew drops of rain and verry Smokey wind from the S. W. we Set out at an early hour, the Shoaley places are verry numerous and Some bad to get around we have to make use of the Cord & Poles, and our tow ropes are all except one of Elkskin, & Stretch and Sometimes brake which indanger the Perogues or Canoe, as it imedeately turns and if any rock Should chance to be below, the rapidity of the current would turn her over, She Should chance to Strike the rock we observe great Caution at those places.
I walked on Shore found the Countrey ruged and as described yesterday, I Saw great numbers of the Big horned animals, one of which I killed their fauns are nearly half grown— one of the Party Saw a verry large bear, picked up on the Shore a pole which had been made use of by the Nativs for lodge poles, & haul'd by dogs it is new and is a Certain Sign of the Indians being on the river above a foot ball and Several other articles are also found to Substantiate this oppinion—. at 1 oClock we had a few drops of rain and Some thunder whic is the first thunder we have had Sinc we Set out from Fort Mandan; at 10 miles the 〈river〉 the hills begin to widen & the river Spreds & is crouded with Islands the bottoms Contain Some Scattering Cotton wood the Islands also Contain timber— passed a Creek of running water on the Stard Side about 35 yards wide and camped imedeately opposit to a Small Creek on the Lard. Side we call Bull Creek from the Circumstance of a Buffalow Bull swiming from the opposit Side and comeing out of the river imedeately across one of the Perogues without Sinking or injureing any thing in the Perogue, and passing with great violence thro' our Camp in the night makeing 3 angles without hurting a man, altho they lay in every direction, and it was very dark
The Creek below 35 yards wide I call Thompsons Creek after a valuable member of our party— this Creek contains a Greater preportion of running water than Common.
May 28th Tuesday 1805. a cloudy morning. Some fiew drops of rain & Smokey wind from the S. W. we Set out at an eairly hour. the Shoaley places are verry numerous & Some bad to git around. we have to make use of the cords & poles, our cords are all except one made of Elk Skin & Stretch & Some time brake which indanger the Pirogues or canoe, as it immediately turns and if any rock Should chance to be below the rapidity of the water would turn hir over if Should Strike, we observe great caution at these places. Capt. Clark walked on Shore, found the country ruged and as described yesterday. he saw great nombers of the Big hornned animels, one of which he killed their faun are nearly half grown. one of the party saw a verry large bear. we picked up a pole on the Shore which has been made use of by the natives for a lodge pole & halled by dogs & it is new & a certain Sign of the Indians being on the River above a foot ball & Several other articles are also found to Substantiate this oppinion. at 1 oClock we had a fiew drops of rain & Some Thunder which is the first Thunder we have had Since we Set out, from Fort Mandans, at 10 miles the river the hills begin to widen & the river Spreads and is crouded with Islands, the bottoms contain Some Scatering cottonwood the Islands also contain timber. passed a creek  of running water on the Stard. Side about 35 yards wide, and Camped imediately opposite to a Small Creek  on Lard. Side. Came 21 miles to day.—
Tuesday 28th. We set sail early, had a fine morning, and proceeded on through this desert country untill about 4 o'clock P. M. when we came to a more pleasant part. We made twenty-one miles and encamped on the North side.
Tuesday 28th May 1805 a clear pleasant morning. we Set off and proceeded on. passed over hard riffles. the Bluffs & clifts are high [illegible] as yesterday. abt 10 oC. Capt. Clark killed a mountain Sheep & [illegible] Deer. about noon we halted to dine near Some old Indian Camps. Some thunder & Small Showers of rain which lasted about 2 hours. we then proceeded on a pleasant afternoon. towards evening the hills began to git lower passed large bottoms, partly covered with c. wood timber. passed Several Islands 7 or 8 in the course of the day, Some of them handsom groves of timber on them. we passed a nomber of large Creeks  on each Side of the river, which force the Gravvel Stone from the hills in to the river. we Came 21½ miles & Camped in a bottom of the river on the N. S. a large Creek came in on the opposite Shore. we Saw a gang of Elk in this bottom, & beaver Signs [illegible] the Shores. a large bottom on the S. Side. we found an Indians foot ball floating down the river & dog poles also.
Tuesday May 28th This morning we had clear and pleasant Weather, we set off and proceeded on our Voyage towing our Crafts. we passed some Riffles and Clifts, as those we passed by Yesterday, About 10 oClock A. M. Captain Clark killed a Mountain 〈Goat〉 Sheep or Ibex, about noon, we halted to dine, near some old Indian Camps, We had some thunder, and small showers of rain which lasted about 2 hours, We then proceeded on, and had a pleasant afternoon, towards evening the hills began to be lower, We proceeded on and passed by large bottoms partly covered with timber, and several Islands some of which had handsome Groves of timber on them, we passed a number of large Creeks, lying on each side of the River, which drove the Gravel into the River We encamped in a bottom lying on the River on the North side, opposite to the Mouth of a large Creek where we saw a Gang of Elk in the bottom, and signs of beaver on both Shores,— a large bottom of timber being on the South side of the River, here we found an Indian foot ball floating down the River, and Indian dog poles.—
We came 21½ Miles this day.—
1. Perhaps a buckskin ball used in a game played by the women of many tribes of the Great Plains. Lowie (IP), 134–35. (Return to text.)
2. The Atsinas, a small nomadic tribe of the Algonquian language family, a separated branch of the Arapahoes, at this time closely allied with the Blackfeet. They have no known connection with the Siouan-language Minitaris or Hidatsas; the confusion undoubtedly arises from both groups being called Gros Ventres, or Big Bellies, by early traders. The same sign language term, suggesting an expanded abdomen, was sometimes used for both peoples. "Atsina" is from a Blackfeet term said to mean "gut people." Later in the nineteenth century the terms "Gros Ventres of the Prairie" (Atsina) and "Gros Ventres of the Missouri" (Hidatsa) were used to distinguish them. "Fort de Prairie" was one of two North West Company posts on the Saskatchewan, both called Fort des Prairies, at which the Blackfeet and Atsinas traded. Hodge, 1:113, 508, 547–49; Flannery; Clark, 67, 193–99. (Return to text.)
3. Named after Private John B. Thompson; present Birch Creek, which meanders across the boundary of present Chouteau and Blaine counties, Montana, and meets the Missouri in Chouteau County. Atlas maps 40, 52, 60; MRC map 73. Lewis may have added the interpolation at the time or later; Biddle's words are in red. (Return to text.)
4. In Chouteau County near the present Judith Landing Recreation Area, and opposite present Dog (Bull) Creek, in Fergus County. Atlas maps 40, 52, 60; MCR map 73. (Return to text.)
5. Also given on Atlas map 40, in both captains' hands. (Return to text.)
6. Given as "½" on Atlas map 40. (Return to text.)
7. Thompson's Creek to the party (after expedition member John B. Thompson), now Birch Creek, which meets the Missouri in Chouteau County, Montana. (Return to text.)
8. The party's Bull Creek, now Dog Creek, Fergus County, Montana. (Return to text.)
9. Including the party's Thompson's Creek, after John B. Thompson, now Birch Creek, which meanders the boundary between present Chouteau and Blaine counties, Montana, and meets the Missouri in Chouteau County. (Return to text.)
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