September 9, 1805
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September 9, 1805


Set out at 7 A M. this morning and proceeded down the Flathead river leaving it on our left, the country in the valley of this river is generally a prarie and from five to 6 miles wide    the growth is almost altogether pine principally of the longleafed kind, with some spruce and a kind of furr resembleing the scotch furr. [2]    near the wartercourses we find a small proportion of the narrow leafed cottonwood [3] some redwood honeysuckle [4] and rosebushes form the scant proportion of underbrush to be seen.    at 12 we halted on a small branch which falls in to the river on the E. side, where we breakfasted on a scant proportion of meat which we had reserved from the hunt of yesterday added to three geese which one of our hunters killed this morning.    two of our hunters have arrived, one of them brought with him a redheaded woodpecker of the large kind common to the U States. [5]    this is the first of the kind I have seen since I left the Illinois.    just as we were seting out Drewyer arrived with two deer.    we continued our rout down the valley about 4 miles and crossed the river; it is hear a handsome stream about 100 yards wide and affords a considerable quantity of very clear water, the banks are low and it's bed entirely gravel.    the stream appears navigable, but from the circumstance of their being no sammon in it I believe that there must be a considerable fall in it below.    our guide could not inform us where this river discharge itself into the columbia river, he informed us that it continues it's course along the mountains to the N. as far as he knew it and that not very distant from where we then were it formed a junction with a stream nearly as large as itself [6] which took it's rise in the mountains near the Missouri to the East of us and passed through an extensive valley generally open prarie which forms an excellent pass to the Missouri.    the point of the Missouri where this Indian pass intersects it, is about 30 miles above the gates of the rocky mountain, [7] or the place where the valley of the Missouri first widens into an extensive plain after entering the rockey mountains.    the guide informed us that a man might pass to the missouri from hence by that rout in four days.    we continued our rout down the W. side of the river about 5 miles further and encamped on a large creek which falls in on the West [8]    as our guide informes that we should leave the river at this place and the weather appearing settled and fair I determined to halt the next day rest our horses and take some scelestial Observations.    we called this Creek Travellers rest.    it is about 20 yards wide a fine bould clear runing stream    the land through which we passed is but indifferent a could white gravley soil. [9]    we estimate our journey of this day at 19 M.

at the creek where we dined I took the Meridian Altd. of ☉'s U. L. with Sextant fore obstn 98° 1' 30"

Latitude deduced from this Observation 46° 41' 38.9

Point of observation No. 46

At our encampment of this evening observed time and distance of the Moon's western limb from α Aquila ★ West with Sextant.

  Time       Distance
  h    m      s    
P. M.  9    52    47   63°    33'    —"
   "     56    58     "      35    15
   "     59    41     "      36    30
  10     3    48     "      37    45
   "       6      1     "      38    30
  Time   Distance
  h    m      s    
P. M. 10     6      1   63°    38'    30
   "       7    46     "      39     45
   "       9    24     "      40     30
   "     11      2     "      41     —
   "     13    27     "      41     45

☞ this set of observations cannot be much depended on as through mistake I brought the Moons Western limb in contact in stead of her Eastern limb she having passing into her third quarter and of course her Western limb somewhat imperfect.


a fair morning    Set out early and proceeded on thro a plain as yesterday down the valley    Crossed a large [NB: called] Scattering Creek on which Cotton trees grew at 1½ miles, [10] a Small one at 10 miles, both from the right, the main river at 15 miles & Encamped on a large Creek from the left which we call Travelers rest Creek.    killed 4 deer & 4 Ducks & 3 prarie fowls.    day fair Wind N. W.   See Suplement [11]

Course Distance &c. Down Clark's river
    Septr. 6th 1805
N. 30° W.   5 miles crossing the river [EC: Ross' fork ] & a Creek at 1½ m.
& thro a vallie to the top of a mountain Covered with pine
N. 80° W.   1 ½ miles down a reveen & Steep hill Sides to the river [EC:
Ross' fork
] at an old Encampment.    a creek left
West   1 ½ miles down the Creek [EC: River], bottoms narrow.
N. 35° W   2 miles down the 〈Creek〉 River which is 25 yards wide
passed a run on each side.
    Sept. 7th Satturday 1805
N. 40° W.   3 miles down the River aforesaid
N. 80° W.   3 miles down the River to a larke [EC: large Nez Perce ] Creek
on the left.    bottoms narrow.
N. 45° W.   4 down the river to a Creek [EC: Tin Cup] on the left.    bot-
toms wider, hills on the right is bald, mountains on our left
is high and the tops Covered with Snow
North   4 miles to a [EC: Rock] Creek which runs from the Snow
toped mountains, passed one on the left at 1 mile & Sev-
eral Small runs on the right, and left, one Drean
N. 25° E.   8 miles down the River, passed a large [EC: Little Horse ]
Creek on the left at 2 miles.    the Vallie thro which we
passed about 2 miles wide, lands pore & Stoney    The foot
of the Snow toped mountains approach near the river on
the left the river 50 yards wide Shallow & Stoney.    no fish
to be Seen.    2 Deer 2 crains & 2 Phesents killed to day.
    September 8th Sunday
North 11 miles to a small run on the right Side, passed a large Creek
at 1 mile one at 4 miles & a Small one at 8 miles, thro' a
Call'd Horse Vally
N. 12° W 12 through the Said Vallie to a large Creek from the right di-
vided into 4 diffierent Channels, Scattered Creek
    September 9th Monday
N. 15° W. 15 miles Thro a open vallie to the River, leaveing the road to
our right Crossed a Small Creek from the left at 9 miles,
and the river which is 100 yards wide, & passed through a
pine bottom after crossing 〈The Creek〉 Clarks River
N. 40° W.   2 miles passing thro' a pine bottom after crossing the river to
a large road on the left of the river in an open Vallie
N. 10° W.   4 miles Through an open Valle to a large Creek from the
left. Caled Travelers rest and Encamped the 9th & 10th
    9th Septr. Contd.
North 12 Miles to the mouth of a lark fork [EC: Hellgate ] which Joins
from the right and heads up near the Missouri Some dis-
tance below the 3 forks,    this River has extinsive Vallies
and is a good rout to the Missouri which the Indians say
may be traveled in 4 days and is a good rout. The Vallie
near the mouth of this fork is about 7 or 8 miles wide
leavel & open, but little timber on this fork in Sight. See
the Courses
Moriah River 47° 29' 10 4/10" N.
Lower part of the falls is in Latd. 47°   8'   4 5/10" N.
upper part of the rapids latd. is 47°   3' 30 " N.
Forks of Jefferson 43 30 43
Travelers rest 46 48 28

Monday 9th Sept. 1805. Cloudy.    we Set out [and proceeded on down?] [page worn, some words illegible] the valley    the plains Continue crossed Several creeks    a little cotton and pine timber along the banks    the Snow continues on the Mont. each Side of this valley.    one of the hunters killed a goose and a wood pecker. Capt. Clark killed 4 pheasants or prarie hens.    we find wild or choak cherries along these branches &C—    we passed through a large bottom of rich land which is covred with handsom pitch pine timber.    this creek has got to be a Small handsome River and gentle current    we have to wade it often and find it as deep as the horses belleys.    our hunters killed three deer and several ducks this day    we Camped on the bank of a creek which runs in to the Small River about 2 miles below and bottoms of cotton timber. Smooth handsome plains on each Side of this creek, and pleanty of choke cherries. Mountains of Snow back to our left.    our course has been lately abt. N. W.—


Monday 9th.    The morning was fair, but cool; and we continued our journey down the river. The soil of the valley is poor and gravelly; and the high snow-topped mountains are still in view on our left: [13] Our course generally north a few degrees west. We halted at noon: on our way the hunters had killed 3 wild geese; so we have plenty of provisions at present. At 2 o'clock we again went forward, and crossed over the Flathead river, [14] about 100 yards wide, and which we called Clarke's river; passed through a close timbered bottom of about two miles, and again came into beautiful plains. The timber on this bottom is pitch pine. We travelled 19 miles and encamped on a large creek, which comes in from the south. Our hunters this day killed 3 deer.


Monday 9th Sept. 1805.    a cloudy cold morning, wind from the N. W.    we Set out as usal, and proceeded on down the valley.    Smooth pleasant plains, large pitch pine timber along the River.    no timber on the plains but they are covred with grass and wild hysop.    the Soil poor.    crossed Several branches on which is pine timber, also, a little cotton timber &c.    the Snow continues on the Mount. each Side of the valley.    about 11 oClock we halted at a branch to dine    one of the hunters had killed three geese and a wood pecker.    Capt. Clark killed 4 fessents or prarie hens.    we find wild or choke cherries along the branches.    we delayed about 2 hours and a half.    then proceeded on down the valley.    passed through a large bottom covred with handsom pitch pine timber, from that a pleasant plain the remainder of this day.    the afternoon pleasant, but the Snow Still continues on the Mountains as usal.    Came about [blank] Miles this day and Camped on a plain near a creek which runs in to the River about 2 mls. below.    our hunters all but one joined us    had killed 3 [15] Deer and Several ducks this day, &c.    course N. W. and North all day.—

Monday Septemr 9th    This morning was cold & the wind blew from the No. West.    We set out as usual, & proceeded on our Journey down the Valley, We passed along smooth plains, covered with high Grass & wild hysop, but the soil poor.—    There was no timber to be seen here excepting some pitch pine trees, which grew along the large Creek or river side.    We proceeded on, and crossed several branches on the sides of which grew Pitch pine & Cotton wood trees.—

The Snow still continued on the Mountains, on both sides of the Valley.    About 11 o'Clock A. M we halted at a branch to dine, where one of our hunters had killed three Geese & a wood peckar, which he brought to us.    Captain Clark went out here to hunt & killed 4 Pheasants, which he brought to us.    we found here wild or choke cherries, growing along this branch—    We delayed at this place about 2½ hours and then proceeded on down this Valley & passed through a bottom covered with handsome pitch pine timber, and the remainder of this day we passed through pleasant plains.    The Snow continuing as usual on the Mountains on both sides of us.    We came about 20 Miles this day, & encamped on a plain, near a Creek which run into the River about 2 Miles below where we were encamped.—    Our hunters all but one joined us here.    They had killed 3 Deer & a number of ducks this day which they brought to us.—    our Course this day has been from North to North West.—

1. Here begins Lewis's fragmentary Codex Fc, consisting of four pages torn from Codex P and covering September 9 and 10, 1805. See Appendix C. (back)
2. The "longleafed" pine is ponderosa pine. The spruce is Engelmann spruce, Picea engelmannii Parry. See September 12, 1805, where Clark refers to the latter as "spruce pine." The "furr" is probably Douglas fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, which is typical of lower elevations in the Rocky Mountains. The "scotch furr" used for comparison may refer to either the cultivated European fir, Abies alba Mill., or one of the balsam fir species of the eastern United States. Little (CIH), 37-W, 80-W; Bailey, 113. (back)
3. Probably the black cottonwood, Populus trichocarpa T. & G., which is the most common cottonwood species at lower elevations in Montana and Idaho. It is unclear whether Lewis was distinguishing between the two species of cottonwood which occur in the area (P. trichocarpa and P. angustifolia, the typically designated narrowleaf cottonwood), or did not observe this as a separate species. The narrowleaf cottonwood is more common at higher elevations; the black cottonwood has slightly broader leaves but is otherwise similar. Booth & Wright, 22; Little (CIH), 153-W. (back)
4. Utah honeysuckle, Lonicera utahensis Wats., or bearberry honeysuckle, L. involucrata (Rich.) Banks ex Spreng., new to science and collected on the return trip. Cutright (LCPN), 210, 212, 261 n. 19, 410; Hitchcock et al. 4:458. (back)
5. Burroughs considers this the red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus [AOU, 406], but Coues and Holmgren identify it as the pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus [AOU, 405]. Burroughs, 242; Coues (HLC), 2:590; Holmgren, 34. (back)
6. The Bitterroot meets the Clark Fork, or Hellgate, River just west of present Missoula, Missoula County, Montana. The stream continues northwest as the Clark Fork. Atlas map 69. (back)
7. In the vicinity of present Helena, Montana. The Hidatsas told them of this route, but they had not recognized its eastern approaches on the voyage up the Missouri. Appleman (LC), 171; Allen (PG), 302. (back)
8. Lewis and Clark's Travelers' Rest Creek is now Lolo Creek. The camp was where they remained until September 11, in the vicinity of modern Lolo, Missoula County, perhaps one or two miles upstream from the Bitterroot River, on the south side of the creek. Peebles (LT), 3; Space, 4; Atlas map 69. (back)
9. Although the east side of the Bitterroot Valley contains soils that are quite fertile, soils that are thin and gravelly or cobbly occur on parts of the alluvial valley bottom and on the benches east of it. Similar soils are found on alluvial fans such as the Burnt Fork fan. The white soil to which Lewis refers may be the moderately saline soils of the Burnt Fork fan, clay layers in Tertiary sediments exposed in cutbanks, or the thin wash of light-colored Tertiary clay that covers the ground in some places, especially north of Eightmile Creek. (back)
10. See the note on Scattered Creek in the previous entry. (back)
11. Probably a reference to Lewis's Codex Fc. See n. 1, above. (back)
12. This note in Clark's hand, giving certain latitudes from the Marias River to Travelers' Rest, is on the front flyleaf of Codex G. It is placed here at Travelers' Rest, the last position given. (back)
13. The Bitterroot Mountains, on the Montana-Idaho border. (back)
14. The Bitterroot River. At this time they called it the Flathead River and, as Gass notes, later renamed it Clark's River. (back)
15. The number "3" is written over "2." (back)