July 8, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 8, 1806


Set out at 6 A. M.

N 25 W. 3 ½ m. to the top of a hill from whence we saw the Shishequaw
[1] about 8 M. distant, immediately before us.    passed
〈torrant〉 Dearborne's river [2] at 3 m.    this stream comes form
the S. W. out of the mountains which are about 5 Ms. to our
left.    the bed of the river is about 100 yds. wide tho' the water
occupys only about 30 yds.    it appears to spread over it's bot-
toms at certain seasons of the year and runs a mear torrant
tearing up the trees by the roots which stand in it's bottom
〈hense the name we have given it.〉 [3]    the Shishiquaw moun-
is a high insulated conic mountain standing several miles
in advance of the Eastern range of the rocky mountains.
Country broken and mountanous to our wright.
North— 14 ½ ms. 〈leaving the〉 through an open plain to Shishequaw Creek [4]
20 yds. wide bottoms and considerable qantity of timber it
leaves the mountain to the S E and enters the 〈mountains〉
[EC?: plains].    we struck it about 10 miles below the moun-
tain which boar S. 32 W. from us.    the road continued along
the foot of the mountain to the West of north which not being
anything like our course and the country becoming tolerably
level at the commencement of this course we steered through
the plains leaving the road with a view to strike Medicine river
and hunt down it to it's mouth in order to procure the neces-
sary skins to make geer, and meat for the three men whom we
mean to leave at the falls as none of them are hunters.    we
halted and dined on Shishequaw Creek    R. Fields killed a
fine buck and a goat; Josh. Fields saw two buffaloe below us
some distance which are the first that have been seen.    we
saw a great number of deer goats and wolves as we passed
through the plains this morning but no Elk or buffaloe.    saw
some barking squirrils    much rejoiced at finding ourselves in
the plains of the Missouri which abound with game.—
N. 50 E 2 m. to the discharge of Shishequaw Creek into the Medicine
[5] through an extensive beautifull and level bottom.
N. 85° E. 8 m. to our encampment of this evening on a large island. [6]    the
bottoms continue level low and extensive plains level and not
very elivated parcularly on the N. E. side of the river.    the
land of neither the plains nor bottoms is fertile.    it is of a
light colour intermixed with a considerable proportion of
gravel [7]    the grass generally about 9 inghes high.    the hunt-
ers were unsuccessful this evening. I killed a very large and
the whitest woolf I have seen— [8]

Our horses being Scattered we were detained unill 8 A. M before we Set out.    we proceeded on down Willards Creek on the S. W. Side about 11 miles near which the Creek passes through the mountain [9]    we then Steared S. 20° E. to the West branch of Jeffersons river in Snake Indian cove about 7 miles and halded two hours to let the horses graize. [10]    after dinner we proceeded on down the forke which is here but Small    9 Miles to our encampment of 17 Augt. [11] at which place we Sunk our Canoes & buried Some articles, as before mentioned the most of the Party with me being Chewers of Tobacco become So impatient to be chewing it that they Scercely gave themselves time to take their Saddles off their horses before they were off to the deposit. I found every article Safe, except a little damp. [12] I gave to each man who used tobacco about two feet off a part of a role    took one third of the ballance myself and put up ⅔ in a box to Send down with the most of the articles which had been left at this place, by the Canoes this evening. I examined them and found then all Safe except one of the largest which had a large hole in one Side & Split in bow. The Country through which we passed to day was diversified high dry and uneaven Stoney open plains and low bottoms very boggy [13]    with high mountains on the tops and North sides of which there was Snow, great quantities of the species of hysoop [14] & shrubs common to the Missouri plains are Scattered in those Vallys and hill Sides. The road which we have traveled from travellers rest Creek to this place an excellent road. [15] and with only a few trees being cut out of the way would be an excellent waggon road    one Mountain of about 4 miles over excepted which would require a little digging    The distance is 164 Miles—. Sheilds killed an antelope    [NB: this place is the head of Jeffer river where we left our canoes] [16]

Course Distance &c. July 8th
S. 40° E. down the Creek keeping on the S W Side of the Creek } 11—
  passing Several Small branches from the mountains to
  our right
S 20° E passing through a gap at 3 miles and thro' an open }   7—
  plain on either Side of the Gap to the West branch of
  Jeffersons river
East down the Said branch of Jeffiersons river to a high }   4—
  point of land and struck the road from thc Canoes to
  the Snake indian vally on Lewisis river on which we
  passed last Summer [17]
N 45° E down the fork to the forks of Sd river at which place }   5—
  we made a Deposit & left our canoes & Encamped
    Miles 27—

Tuesday 8th July 1806.    a clear cold morning & hard frost.    we Set out eairly with our horses and proceed. on over this large extensive plains.    crossed Several large creeks    Saw elk & deers and goats or antelopes.    our course abt. South    Struck the trail of the party    at about 12 miles we come to a boiling hot Spring [18] at the edge of this plains which is large and handsom    we halted a fiew minutes at this Spring    found a peace of vinison in it well boiled which we expect the party left for us.    we eat it. I drank Some of the water found it well tasted but So hot [19] that I cannot hold my hand in a Second of time.    it fairly boils out of the ground in Sundry places &C.    we proceeded on    crossd a creek [20] near Sd. Springs and kept our course abt. South up a creek on which Saw many beaver dams &C.    about noon we dined at the head of the creek near the dividing ridge. [21]    then crossd the ridge about one mile and came on a creek running South, which we expect is a branch of jeffersons river    followed down it 10 or 12 mls. and crossed an other ridge and came in the valley & on the east fork of jeffersons river.    followed down on the trail of the party a Short distance and Camped [22] at dark on the branch of the creek.    hobbled the unruley horses and lay down to Sleep fatigued rideing upwards of 40 miles this day.    and nothing to eat this evening but the head of a goat or antelope which the party had droped on the road.—


Tuesday 8th.    The morning was pleasant with some white frost. We started early and proceeded on nearly north; saw several deer, cabre and wolves in the plains, and after going three miles and a half passed Torrent creek, [23] a large creek that runs into Medicine river. Shortly after we passed this creek we went off the path or trail, travelled straight across the plains, and in about fifteen miles struck Medicine river, [24] close above the forks where we halted for dinner; and one of our hunters killed a deer and a cabre. In the afternoon we proceeded down Medicine river nine miles; and, having come, in the whole to day twenty eight miles encamped [25] for the night; and found the musketoes very troublesome.

1. Present Haystack Butte, in Lewis and Clark County, Montana, shown clearly on fig. 4. (back)
2. Dearborn River, in Lewis and Clark County, which they named on July 18, 1805. Reaching it so far above its juntion with the Missouri, where they had first seen it, Lewis apparently did not recognize it at first and called it Torrant River. It was apparently Biddle who wrote in the substitution in dark ink. (back)
3. Perhaps Biddle's deletion. (back)
4. Elk Creek (faintly noted on fig. 4), a branch of Sun River, Lewis and Clark's Medicine River, in Lewis and Clark County. (back)
5. The meeting of Elk Creek and Sun River in Lewis and Clark County. (back)
6. On an island in Sun River, between Lewis and Clark and Cascade counties, just north of Montana Highway 21 (see fig. 4). (back)
7. The rock underlying this area is the Two Medicine Formation; it is composed primarily of alternating layers of sandstone and shale. The gravel occupies river terraces and is mostly outwash that was deposited during the later part of the Pleistocene glaciations. The sandy soil of these plains allows water to percolate downward rapidly so that only hardy, deep-rooted, drought-resistant plants can survive. (back)
8. The gray wolf, Canis lupus. (back)
9. Clark headed southeasterly down Divide Creek in Beaverhead County, Montana, to a point west of present Bannack, where the creek turns east to join Grasshopper Creek (the lower part of Lewis and Clark's Willard's Creek), which goes on east to join the Beaverhead (Jefferson River to the captains). Atlas map 67 shows the route as a rather faint dotted line; it is much clearer on Atlas maps 103, 104. (back)
10. Clark now headed southerly following roughly the present route of a local road south from Bannack through the gap that leads into the captains' Shoshone (or "Snake indian") Cove to Horse Prairie Creek (the "West branch of Jeffersons river"). Lewis had first entered the valley on August 10, 1805. Clark paused on Horse Prairie Creek a few miles east of present Grant in Beaverhead County. Atlas maps 67, 103, 104. (back)
11. He went down Horse Prairie Creek to the forks of the Beaverhead River and camped at Camp Fortunate, where the party had first stopped on August 17, 1805, on the east bank of the Beaverhead just below the forks in Beaverhead County, a site now under Clark Canyon Reservoir just above the dam. Here Clark's party remained until July 10. Atlas map 104. "Fortunate Camp" appears on Atlas map 66. (back)
12. For this cache, see Lewis's entries for August 20, 21, and 22, 1805. Although Clark says everything was safe, only one plant specimen (golden currant) remains of those which were cashed here. That includes all those collected between the Great Falls and Camp Fortunate. The dampness may have caused the rest to mildew. Cutright (LCPN), 329. (back)
13. After descending from the divide between Big Hole River and Grasshopper Creek, Clark's party traveled principally across Tertiary sedimentary deposits and passed by several areas of Tertiary volcanic rocks. The boggy bottoms were along Grasshopper Creek and Horse Prarie Creek. (back)
14. The abundant hyssop is big sagebrush. (back)
15. At this point Clark inserted his courses and distances for the day; after them he continued his text, repeating the word "road." For convenience of reading we have continued the text and placed the courses and distances at the end of the entry. (back)
16. Biddle placed his interlineation in a large blank space at the bottom of p. 59 in Codex M. (back)
17. A reference to the trail west through Shoshone (or Snake Indian) Cove over Lemhi Pass to the valley of the Lemhi River ("East Fork of Lewis R" on Atlas map 67). See entries for August 1805. (back)
19. The temperature of the water has been measured at 136° F. (back)
21. They are following Clark's route up Governor Creek and Bull Creek, roughly parallel to Montana Highway 278 in Beaverhead County, then crossed through Big Hole Pass. (back)
22. After leaving Big Hole Pass, the men reached Divide Creek and followed it a distance before getting on Grasshopper Creek, a branch of the Beaverhead (Jefferson) River, as Ordway surmised. They camped on an affluent of Grasshopper Creek, to the west and maybe south of Bannack, Beaverhead County. (back)
23. In fact, this was Dearborn River, Lewis and Clark County, Montana, although they did not recognize it at first, thinking it a tributary of Sun River, their Medicine River. (back)
24. They traveled a little east of north until they struck Elk Creek, a branch of Sun River. (back)
25. On an island in Sun River, between Lewis and Clark and Cascade counties, Montana, just north of Montana Highway 21. (back)