July 10, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 10, 1806


Set out early and continued down the S W bank of the river—

N 75 E 24 m. to our encampment in a grove of cottonwood timber. [1]
the latter part of this course for 7 miles there is no timber in
the river bottom, the other parts of the river possesses bot-
toms of the wide leafed cottonwood. [2]    much the greater part
of the bottom is untimbered.    the bottoms are wide and level
the high praries or plains are also beautiful level and smooth.
great quantities of prickly pear of two kinds on the plains. [3]
the ground is renderd so miry by the rain which fell yesterday
that it is excessively fatiegueing to the horses to travel.    we
came 10 miles and halted for dinner    the wind blowing down
the river in the fore part of the day was unfavourable to the
hunters    they saw several gangs of Elk but they having the
wind of them ran off.    in the evening the wind set from
the West and we fell in with a few elk of which R. Fields and
myself killed 3 one of which swam the river and fell on the
opposite so we therefore lost it's skin    I sent the packhorses
on with Sergt. Gass directing them to halt and encamp at the
first timber which proved to be about 7 ms. I retained frazier
to assist in skining the Elk.    we wer about this time joined by
drewer.    a large brown bear swam the river near where we
were and drewyer shot and killed it.    by the time we butch-
ered thes 2 elk and bar it was nearly dark    we loaded our
horses with the best of the meat and pursud the party and
found them encamped as they had been directed in the first
timber.    we did not reach them until 9 P. M.    they informed
us that they had seen a very large bear in the plains which had
pursued Sergt. Gass and Thomson some distance but their
horses enabled them to keep out of it's reach.    they were af-
fraid to fire on the bear least their horses should throw them
as they were unaccustomed to the gun.    we killed five deer 3
Elk and a bear today    saw vast herds of buffaloe in the eve-
ning below us on the river.    〈he〉 we hered them bellowing
about us all night.    vast assemblages of wolves.    saw a large
herd of Elk making down the river.    passed a considerable
rapid in medicine river after dark.    the river about a hun-
dred yards wide is deep and in many parts rappid and today
has been much crouded with islands.    from our encamp-
ment down we know the river and there is no rapids and
scarcely any courant.    goosberries [4] are very abundant of the
common red kind and are begining to ripen.    no currants on
this river.    both species of the prickly pears just in blume.—
Courses and Computed Distances from the Enterance of
Travellers rest Creek into Clarks River to the Falls of Missouri
North     7 Miles to the crossing of Clarks river, vally wide    the top of
the hills covered with long leafed pine bottoms pine & Cotton
wood    passed a Small branch at 3 miles on W. Side and at
1 m. further a Small Creek on the E. Side.    at 5 miles Clarks
is joined by an Easterly fork 120 yards wide.
N 75° E.     7 miles through a handsom leavel plain to the point where the
East fork enters the mountains, or where the hills close it in
on both Sides.    passed a large Creek 15 yd. wide at 〈5?〉
6 miles also one at 3 miles.
    (July 4)
S 75° E.     3 miles allong the North Side of the river, the bottoms widen.
a prarie.
N. 45° E.     1 M. passing a small branch at the extremity of this course—.
S. 45° E     1 M. to the forks of the East fork of Clarks river    a handsom
wide plain below on the South Side.
〈East     8 Miles to the enterance of warners Creek 35 yards wide through
a high extensive plain〉
East     8 Miles on a Buffalow road up Co-kah-lah-ishkit river through
a timbered Country    mountains high rocky and but little bot-
tom land    pore.
    July 5th
N. 75° E     3 ½ Miles    passed a Stout Creek on N. Side at 2 ½ miles    another
just above.
N. 25° E   12 Miles    passed a Small creek at 1 mile on the S. Side on which
there is a handsome and extencive vally and plain for 10 or 12
miles also another Creek 12 yds wide at ½ a mile on the N.
Side, and another 8 yds wide on the N. Side at 5 miles.    and
one ½ mile Short of the extremity of the course    arrived at a
high prarie on the S. Side from one to 3 miles in width, ex-
tending up the river.    great number of wild horses on Clarks
about the place Capt. L. crossed it.    we saw several
East     6 Miles to the entrance of Warners Creek 35 yards wide
through a high extencive prarie on the N. Side.    hills low
and timbered with the long leafed pine, larch and Some
fir.    the road passes at some distance to the left of the river
and these courses is with the river.
N. 22° W.     4 Miles to a high insulated Knob just above the enterance of a
Creek 8 yards wide which discharges itself into Werners Creek.
N. 75° E     2 ½ Miles to the river passing through a handsom plain on Wer-
ners Creek
   crossing that Creek at one mile and leaveing a
high prarie hill to the right seperateing the plain from the
river. Saw 2 swan in this butifull Creek.
East     3 Miles to the enterance of a large Creek 20 yards wide called
Seamons Creak, passed a creek at 1 mile 8 yds wide, (this
course is with the river) the road passing through a high ex-
tencive prarie, a vast number of little hillocks and Sink holes.
at the head of those 2 Creeks is high broken mountains Stand-
ing at the distance of 10 m. forming a kind of cove Generaly
of open untimbered Country.
    July 6th
East   14 Miles to this point at which the river leaves the extencive
plains and enters the mountains    these plains is called the
prarie of the Knobs, passed the North fork of Cokahlar,ishket
river at 7 miles, it is 45 yards wide deep & rapid.    passed a
large crooked pond at 4 miles further. Great number of bur-
rowing Squirels of the Species common to the Columbian
plains.    the main branch is 50 yards wide and turbid
the other Streams are clear, these plains continue their course S.
75° E and are wide where the river leaves them.    up this vally
and Creek a road passes to the Missouri.
N. 60° E.     1 ½ miles up the river.    bottoms narrow and and country thickly
timered. Cottom wood and pine grow intermxed in the river
bottoms    passed Several old indian encampments.
N. 80° E.     2 miles to two nearly equal forks of the river    here the road
forks also one leading up each river.    passed a Creek on N.
side 12 yd. wide.
N. 75° E.     8 Miles over a Steep high bald toped hill for 2 miles thence 3 m.
through a thick woods along the hill Side.    bottoms nar-
row.    crossed a large Creek in a butifull plain    much beaver
    July 7th
N. 75° E.     6 M. through a leavel butifull plain on the N. side of the river
much timber in the bottoms, hills also timbered with pitch
pine    crossed a branch of the Creek 8 yds. wide at ¼ M. also
passed a creek 15 yds. wide at ¼ further.
North     6 ms.    passed the main Creek at 1 Ms. and kept up it on the
right hand Side through a handsom plain.    the main Stream
[EC: Lander's fork] bore N W. & W as far as I could See it, a
right hand fork falls into this creek at 1 me. above the Com-
mcmt. of this course.
N. 15° E     8 Ms. over two ridges    one again Strikeing the right hand fork
at 4 ms. then Continuing up it on the left hand Side.    much
apperance of beaver maney dams.    bottoms not wide and
covered with willow and grass.
N. 10° E     3 ms. up the Same Creek on the E. Side through a handsom
narrow plain.
N. 45° E.     2 Ms. passing the dividing ridge between the waters of the Co-
from those of the Missouri at ¼ of a mile.    from this
gap which is low and an easy asent, the road decends and con-
tinues down a creek.
  (106 ¾)  
N. 20° W.     7 Ms. over Several hills and hollows along the foot of the moun-
tain, passed 5 small riverlets [EC: tributaries of Dearborn R ]
running to the right.
    July 8th 1806.
N. 25° W.     3 ms. to the top of a hill from whince we saw the Shishequaw
about 8 ms. distant imediately before us, passed
torrent river at 3 ms.    this Stream comes from the S. W. out
of the mountains which are about 5 miles to our left    the
bead of the river is 100 yds. wide tho' the water only occu-
pies about 30 yds.    it runs a mear torrent taring the trees up
by the roots which Stand in it's bottoms, we discover this
to be Dearborns River. [6] "The Shishequaw Mountain is a high
insulated conic mountain Standing Several miles in advance
of the Eastern range of the rocky Mountains" near trhe
Meadecine River.
North     14 ½ Miles through an open plain to Sishequaw Creek 20 yards
wide about 10 ms. below the mtn. which bears S. 32° W. from
us, haveing left the road to our left which keeps near the mts.
N. 50° E     2 Ms. to the 〈mouth〉 discharge of Sishequaw Creek into
Medecine River through an extencive leavel and butifull
  (28 ¼)  
N. 85° E     8 Ms. down the Medecine river to a large Island.    the bottoms
are extensive low and leavel.    the lands of neither the Plain
or bottom are fertile    it is of a light colour intermixed with
a considerable portion of gravel.    the grass Generaly about
9 inches high.
    July 9th
N. 80° E.     4 Ms. through a handsom leavel wide bottom in which there is a
considerable quantity of the narrow leafed Cotton wood tim-
ber. The river is generally about 80 yds wide rapid it's bed
is loose Gravel and pebbles    its banks low but sildom over-
flow.    water clear.
S. 85° E.     4 ms. down on the S W. Side of Medecine river through wide
and leavel bottoms    Some timber—.
    July 10th
N. 75° E.   24 Miles down the river.    7 ms. of the latter part of the course
no timber.    passed a rapid bottom wide and extensive    a
greater number of small islands in the river.
S. 75° E     8 miles to the Missouri at the White Bear Islands at the head of
the portage above the falls, passed through the plains.    at
which place Capt. Lewis continued untill the 15th July 1806
and left 6 men and proceeded towards the head of Marias
with the other 3 men as before mentioned—

The most derect and best Course from the dividing ridge which divides the waters of the Columbia from those of the Missouri at the Gap where Capt Lewis crossed it is to leave a Short range of mountains which pass the missouri at the Pine Island rapid to the right passing at it's base and through the plains pass fort mountain to the White bear Isds or medecine river, a fine road and about 45 miles, reducing the distance from Clarks river to 145 miles—    one other road passed from the enterance of Dearborns River over to a South branch of the Cohahlarishkit river [EC: viâ Cadotte's Pass?    or Still further South?] and down that river to the main fork and down on the N. Side of the main fork to Clarks river &c.—


last night was very cold and this morning everything was white with frost and the grass Stiff frozend. I had Some water exposed in a bason in which the ice was ¾ of an inch thick this morning. I had all the Canoes put into the water and every article which was intended to be Sent down put on board, and the horses collected and packed with what fiew articles I intend takeing with me to the River Rochejhone, and after brackfast we all Set out at the Same time [7] & proceeded on Down Jeffersons river on the East Side through Sarviss [NB: Service] Vally and rattle snake mountain [8] and into that butifull and extensive Vally open and fertile which we Call the beaver head Vally which is the Indian name    in their language Har na Hap pap Chah. [9]    from the No. [10] of those animals in it & a pt. of land resembling the head of one    this Vally extends from the rattle Snake Mountain down Jeffersons river as low as fraziers Creek [11] above the big horn mountain and is from 12 [NB: 10] to 30 [NB: 15] miles in width and [blank] [NB: about 50] miles on a direct line in length and Jeffersons river in passing through this Vally reives McNeals Creek, [12] Track Creek, [13] Phalanthrophy river, Wisdom river, [14] Fields river [15] and Fraziers Creek each throw in a considerable quantity of water and have innoumerable beaver and otter on them; the bushes in their low bottoms are the resort for great numbers of Deer, and in the higher parts of the Vally we see Antelopes scattered feeding. I saw also on the Sides of the rock in rattle snake mountain 15 big horn animals, those animals feed on the grass which grow on the Sides of the mountn. and in the narrow bottoms on the Water courses near the Steep Sides of the mountains on which they can make their escape from the pursute of wolves Bear &c.    at Meridian I halted to let the horses Graze having Come 15 Miles    I ordered the [NB: canoes] to land. Sergt. Ordway informed me that the party with him had Come on very well, and he thought the Canoes could go as farst as the horses &c. as the river now become wider and not So Sholl, I determined to put all the baggage &c. which I intend takeing with me to the river Rochejhone in the canoes and proceed on down with them myself to the 3 forks or Madisons & galletens rivers.    leaveing the horses to be taken down by Sergt. Pryor and 6 of the men of the party to accompany me to the river Rochejhone and directed Sergt. Pryor to proceed on moderately and if possible encamp with us every night.    after dinner had my baggage put on board and Set out, and proceeded on tolerable well to the head of the 3000 Mile Island on which we had encamped on the [NB: 11th] of Augt last. [16]    the Canoes passed Six of my encampments assending, [17] opposit this island I encamped on the East side. [18]    the Musquetors were troublesom all day and untill one hour after Sunset when it became Cool and they disappeared.    in passing down in the Course of this day we saw great numbers of beaver lying on the Shores in the Sun.    wild young Gees and ducks are common in this river.    we killed two young gees this evening. I saw several large rattle Snakes in passing the rattle Snake Mountain    they were fierce. [19]


Thursday 10th July 1806.    a Severe hard frost & Ice.    chilley and cold this morning.    one canoe which we thot of no account cut up for paddles and fire wood.    then put the 6 canoes in the water, and put our baggage in them.    at the same time Capt. Clarks party got up their horses and packed up    took breakfast and all Set out by land & water about one time. I proceeded on by water.    the party by land holds way with us.    we came fast with the canoes too. Collins killed a goose about noon    we halted to dine    Capt. Clark & party halted to dine at the Same place as they hold way with us. Capt. Clark and Several of his party came in the canoes as it would be easier for the horses untill we git to the 3 forks of the Missourie where they are to part from us.    the rest of Capt. Clarks party took on the horses &C    we proceeded on verry well & fast.    in the evening we Camped [20] near the 3000 mile Island, having made 97 miles this day by water. Saw considerable of Small game and a great pleanty of beaver Sign.—


Thursday 10th.    At dark last evening the weather cleared up, and was cold all night. This morning was clear and cold, and all the mountains in sight were covered with snow, which fell yesterday and last night. At 8 o'clock we started down the river, and in the course of the day our hunters [21] killed five deer, two elk and a bear. The road was very muddy after the rain. The country on both sides is composed of beautiful plains; the river about 80 yards wide and tolerably straight, with some cotton wood timber on its banks; and plenty of game of different kinds ranging through the plains. Having made 24 miles we encamped [22] for the night. [23]

1. The camp was on the south side of Sun River, in Cascade County, Montana, some four to five miles northwest of the city of Great Falls (see fig. 4). (back)
2. Plains cottonwood. (back)
3. Two species of prickly pear occur in the area; brittle prickly pear, Opuntia fragilis (Nutt.) Haw., and plains prickly pear, O. polyacantha Haw. Dorn, 97; Hitchcock et al., 3:458–59. (back)
4. Bristly, or redshoot, gooseberry, Ribes setosum Lindl., is the most likely, but whitestem gooseberry, R. inerme Rydb., is also a possibility. Dorn, 148–49; Hitchcock et al., 3:83, 74–75. (back)
5. This is Clark's summary in Codex N, pp. 144–48 (reading backwards) of Lewis's route from Travelers' Rest to Sun River, July 3–10, 1806. It is placed here by date. Clark must have received this information after the men reunited in August 1806. (back)
6. The final words, beginning with "we discover," appear to have been substituted for some erased material. The material within quotes comes from Lewis's entry of July 8. (back)
7. Ordway indicates that he was in charge of the canoe party, while Clark led the group with the horses on land. (back)
8. They were setting off northeast down the Beaverhead River, in Beaverhead County, Montana. For "Sarvice berry Vallie" and the Rattlesnake Cliffs, shown on Atlas map 66, see August 10, 1805. (back)
9. The valley of the Beaverhead and upper Jefferson rivers in Beaverhead and Madison counties, Montana. For the Beaverhead Rock, which Clark passed the next day on this downriver trip, see entries for August 8, 9, and 10, 1805. Atlas map 66. Rees, 5, gives the name Clark was trying to spell as Hane-pompy-hah, "Beaverhead valley." (back)
10. Biddle added an "o" in red to Clark's "N." (back)
11. Present South Boulder River, reaching the Jefferson in Madison County; see August 1, 1805. Atlas map 65. (back)
12. Present Blacktail Deer Creek, reaching the Beaverhead River in Beaverhead County, near Dillon; see August 10 and 13, 1805. Atlas map 66. (back)
13. Present Rattlesnake Creek in Beaverhead County, reaeching the Beaverhead a few miles above Dillon; see August 14, 1805. It is "Track run" on Atlas map 66. (back)
14. Modern Ruby (Philanthropy) and Big Hole (Wisdom) rivers meet the Beaverhead River near Twin Bridges, Madison County, to form Jefferson River. See entries for August 5 and 6, 1805. Atlas maps 65, 66. (back)
16. Biddle has added "11th" to Clark's apaprent blank space. He seems to be mistaken; the island on which the party camped on August 11, 1805, according to Atlas map 66, was that labeled "Otter Isd." "3000 mile Island" is some three to four miles farther down the Beaverhead River, in Beaverhead County some ten miles northeast of Dillon. (back)
17. Clark's camps of August 11–16, 1805. Atlas map 66. (back)
18. On the east bank of the Jefferson River, in Beaverhead County, opposite Three Thousand Mile Island; see a previous note in this entry. Atlas map 66. (back)
19. Immediately after this, at the very bottom of p. 62 of Codex M, Clark has the word "Course." However, there are no courses and distances for this day, in which he covered familiar ground. (back)
20. On the east bank of the Jefferson River, Beaverhead County, Montana; the island is about ten miles northeast of Dillon, Beaverhead County. (back)
21. Lewis says that he and Frazer killed the elk. (back)
22. On the south side of Sun River, Cascade County, Montana, some four or five miles northwest of the city of Great Falls. Gass makes no mention of an incident in which he and Thompson were chased by a grizzly bear this day, as narrated by Lewis. (back)
23. McKeehan's note: "It will not be a subject of surprise that snow should fall here in the middle of summer, when the elevation of this part of the country, which divides the eastern from the western waters, is taken into view. Every person will be able to comprehend, that no small degree of elevation, above its mouth, will be sufficient to give so rapid a course to the Missouri for upwards of 3000 miles, even supposing there were no great falls or cataracts." (back)