July 16, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 16, 1806


I dispatched a man early this morning to drive up the horses as usual, he returned at 8 A. M. with one of them only.    allarmed at this occurrence I dispatched one of my best hands on horseback in surch of them he returned at 10 A. M. with them and I immediately set out.    sent Drewyer and R. Fields with the horses to the lower side of Medecine river, and proceeded myself with all our baggage and J. Fields down the missouri to the mouth of Medecine river in our canoe of buffaloe skins. we were compelled to swim the horses above the whitebear island and again across medicine river as the Missouri is of great width below the mouth of that river.    having arrived safely below Medicine river we immediately sadled our horses and proceeded down the river to the handsom fall [1] of 47 feet where I halted about 2 hours and took a haisty sketch of these falls; in the mean time we had some meat cooked and took dinner after which we proceeded to the grand falls [2] where we arrived at sunset.    on our way we saw two very large bear on the opposite side of the river.    as we arrived in sight of the little wood below the falls we saw two other bear enter it; this being the only wood in the neighbourhood we were compelled of course to contend with the bear for possession, and therefore left our horses in a place of security and entered the wood which we surched in vain for the bear, they had fled.    here we encamped and the evening having the appearance of rain made our beds and slept under a shelving rock.    these falls have abated much of their grandure since I first arrived at them in June 1805, the water being much lower at preset than it was at that moment, however they are still a sublimely grand object. I determined to take a second drawing of it in the morning.    we saw a few buffaloe as we passed today, the immence hirds which were about this place on our arrival have principally passed the river and directed their course downwards.    we see a number of goats or antilopes always in passing through the plains of the Missouri above the Mandans.    at this season they are thinly scattered over the plains but seem universally distributed in every part; they appear very inquisitive usually to learn what we are as we pass, and frequently accompany us at no great distance for miles, frequently halting and giving a loud whistle through their nostrils, they are a very pretty animal and astonishingly fleet and active.    we spent this evening free from the torture of the Musquetoes.    there are a great number of geese which usually raise their young above these falls about the entrance of Medicine river    we saw them in large flocks of several hundred as we passed today. I saw both yesterday and today the Cookkoo [3] or as it is sometimes called the rain craw.    this bird is not met with west of the Rocky Mountains nor within them.—

N 80° E 9 miles to a bluff in a bend right    the general course of the
river very Straight    passed a 〈great number of〉 Several
Islands    the most of them covered with Cottonwood and
Willer    The Trees too Small for Canoes.    passed a large
Creek from the right which I call [blank] Creek [4] (11 ms)
N. 10° W. 1 miles to a bend on the right side    (1)
N. 50° E 1 ½ Miles to a 〈bluff〉 Clift of rocks in a bend on the right Side— (2 M)
N. 10° E 2 ½ Miles to a bend on the left opsd. a large Island    main Channel
on the right    Dined on the Isld.    killd a fat Buffalow & saw 2
w[hite] Bear.    a gange of Elk 200 & a gang of Antelopes wild
gees &c &c.    (4 Ms)
N. 46° E [5] 4 ½ miles to a N W bend of the river at which place there is a very
inconsiderable rapid under a low Clift of rocks on the N W
Side, passed a branch at 2 miles and one on the S E. Side of
the river at 3 miles.    river making a genl. bend to the S. E.—
W[ater] 7 〈6 ½〉
N. 60° E 4 miles to Some high trees in a bend to the S E Side    passed a
drean N. W. Side    high land on the S. E. Side a Short dis-
tance from the river.    the first 2 ms of this cours a low Bluff
on the N W. Side.    by water 6 m
North 2 ½ Miles to the bend under a low bluff on N W. Side    Buffalow
Crossing just above    passed 2 dreans on N W Side    an ex-
tensive low bottom on the S E. Side 3 or 400 B or Elk in it    (4)
N: 40° E 1 Mile to the enterance of a small Creak on the N W Side    be-
low which I incamped opposit to a Small Island by water 1
mile only    Labiech killed an Elk. L. brought me a Small fish
8 ins long formed like a trout.    the mouth placed like a
Sturgion with a red Streak down each side from the gills to
the tail

I gave Labeech promission to proceed on early 〈in〉 this morning a head and kill a fat Elk or Buffalow.    our horses haveing rambled to a long distance down the river detained us much later than Common.    we did not Set out untill 9 A M.    we had not proceeded on far before I saw a buffalow & Sent Shannon to kill it    this buffalow provd. to be a very fat Bull    I had most of the flesh brought on an a part of the Skin to make mockersons [NB: remarkable sort of bag round foot] for Some of our lame horses.    proceeded on down the river without finding any trees Sufficiently large for a Canoe about 10 miles and halted having passed over to an Island on which there was good food for our horses to let them graze & dine. I have not Seen Labeech as yet. Saw a large gangue of about 200 Elk and nearly as many Antilope    also two white or Grey Bear in the plains, one of them I Chased on horse back about 2 miles to the rugid part of the plain where I was compelled to give up the Chase    two of the horses was So lame owing to their feet being worn quit Smooth and to the quick, the hind feet was much the worst    I had Mockersons made of green Buffalow Skin and put on their feet which Seams to releve them very much in passing over the Stoney plains.    after dinner I proceeded on    Soon after I had set Out Labeech joined us with part of a fat Elk which he had killed. I passed over a Stoney point at which place the river runs Close to the high land on the N W. side    crossed a small Creek and Encamped on the river a little below its' Enterance. [6] Saw emence heards of Elk feeding on the oposit side of the river. I saw a great number of young gees in the river.    one of the men brought me a fish of a species I am unacquainted; it was 8 inches long formed like a trout.    it's mouth was placed like that of the Sturgeon    a red streak passed down each Side from the gills to the tail. [7] The rocks which the high lands are faced with and which may also be seen in perpendicular Straters in the high plains, is a dark freestone.    the greater part of this rock is of an excellent grit for Grindstones hard and sharp. [8]    observe the Silkgrass [9] Sunflower [10] & Wild indigo [11] all in blume.    but fiew other flowers are to be seen in those plains. The river and Creek bottoms abound in Cotton wood trees, tho' none of them Sufficiently large for Canoes.    and the current of the Rochejhone is too rapid [NB: & not willing] to depend on Skinn canoes. [NB: which are not so easy managed & we did not know the river] no other alternetive for me but to proceed on down untill I can find a tree Sufficently large &c. to make a Canoe.—

Courses Computed distance by Land and Water Down the River Rochejhone from the Rocky Mountain in Latd. 45° 22' 30" North and Longtd. [blank] W. July 15 & 16th 1806 [12]

Miles by
North 2 miles on a direct Course from the gap of the }   3 ½
mountain to a fiew Cotton trees under the bank
and on the west or Larboard Side of the river &
on a Small Chanel. I marked my name withe red
paint and the day of the month & year also the
distance & course of the portage on one of the
Cotton trees.    wide bottom on the Lard Side, the
high Slopeing Prarie on the Stard Side
North 1 Mile to a cluster of trees in a Gully.    passed }   2 ½
some tall timber laterly killed by fire in the
low bottom.    the high bottom appear to have been
over flown
N. 15° E. 4 Miles to a deep bend of the river to the West }   7
passed two Small runs and a large Island on which
I Saw Some trees nearly large enough for Small
canoes.    main chanel on the East of the island.
passed 11 Islands in this Course, the two lower of
them large the others Small
N. 30° E. 2 Miles to the enterance of Shield— River of 35 yds. }   3
wide deep & a boald Current with a great
perpotion of timber on its borders. this river is
from the N W. much beaver sign.    a high rugid
rocky hill buts the river imediately below a very
good buffalow road passing from the head of this
river through a gap of the Mts. to the Missouri
N. 50° E 3 Miles passing a high rocky hill on the Lard. Side, }   5
[EC: Camp to the enterance of a Small Creek on the Lard.
July 15] Side    passd. Several Small islands.    an extensive
low bottom on the Stard. Side in which there is
great nos. of Elk feeding.
N. 80° E. 9 Miles to a Bluff in a Stard. bend.    the general
} 11
[EC: July course of the river very Streight passing Several
16th] islands, Most of them Covered with Cotton trees
and willow.    passed Stinking Cabin Creek 20 yards
wide bold current from which falls in on the Stard
Side. Timber up this Cree as far as I could see
N. 10° W. 1 Mile on the Course to a bend on the Stard. side   1
N. 50° E. 1 ½ Miles to a Clift of rocks in a bend to the Stard. }   2
side passing Some Small Islands
N 10° E. 2 ½ Miles on the Course to a Stard. Bend opsd. a large }   4
island.    main Chanel on the Stard. Side
N. 46° E. 4 ½ Miles on the Course to a Lard Bend of the river at }   7
which place there is Some rocks in the middle of
the river near a low Clift of rocks on the Lard.
Side passing a branch at 2 miles, and one of the
Stard. Side at 3 miles.    river having a Genl. bend
to the S. E.
N. 60° E. 4 Miles on the Course to Some high trees in a Std. }   6 ½
bend.    passing under a low bluff on the Lard. side
for 2 ms. the high lands on the opposit Side Sepe-
rated from the river by a narrow low bottom
passed several small islands.
N. 2 ½ Miles on the Course to a low bluff in a Lard. bend }   4
below a great Crossing place of the buffalo. passed
two Brooks on the Lard side.    an extensive low
bottom on the Stard. side in which I saw great
numbers of Elk feeding.
N. 40° E 1 Mile on the Course to the enterane of a Small }   1 ½
creek on the Lard. Side below which I encamped
below a Small Island in a Small bottom in which
there was good grass
Miles 38 by land Miles by water 58

Wednesday 16th July 1806.    a fair morning.    we took an eairly breakfast and proceeded on verry well.    the wind rose a head and blew so high about noon that obledged us to lay too near the gates of the rockey Mountains [13]    Collins killed a large beaver    we gathered a little pitch for our canoes &C    about 3 P. M. the wind abated a little and we proced. on thro the gates of the mn    Saw large gangs of Mountain Sheep and Elk    Collins killed a faun Elk and two Mountain Sheep.    we proceeded on below ordways river [14] and Camped on a Sand beach. Same Side.—


Wednesday 16th.    There was a fine morning. We collected our horses, of which Capt. Lewis took six, and left four to haul the canoes and baggage over the portage; and then started to go up Maria's river with only three hunters. [15] We [16] continued here to repair our waggons or truckles to transport the baggage and canoes on when the men with them should arrive.— [17] The musquitoes are still very troublesome.

When Capt. Lewis left us, he gave orders that we should wait at the mouth of Maria's river to the 1st of Sept., at which time, should he not arrive, we were to proceed on and join Capt. Clarke at the mouth of the Yellow-stone river, and then to return home: but informed us, that should his life and health be preserved, he would meet us at the mouth of Maria's river on the 5th of August.

2. Lewis camped here, on the north side of the Missouri River at the Great Falls, in Cascade County, Montana. Atlas maps 42, 54, 61. (back)
3. Either the yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus [AOU, 387], or the black-billed cuckoo, C. erythropthalmus [AOU, 388]. Holmgren, 29. The range of the former does extend well beyond the Rockies to the west. (back)
4. "Stinking Cabin Creek" in the codex entry courses and distances; perhaps present Mission Creek, about a mile below Clark's campsite of July 15 on the opposite side of the Yellowstone River, or Locke Creek, some three miles below Mission Creek, both in Park County, Montana. Atlas maps 107, 114. Clark is using a name supplied by the Mandans and Hidatsas (see Fort Mandan Miscellany). The "Stinking Cabin Creek" of the table therein would appear to be Boulder River in Sweet Grass County, Montana, one of the "Rivers Across" of July 18, 1806, below, or Shoshone River, Park and Greybull counties, Wyoming. Clark may well have misidentified the stream in the present instance, since the Indians at Fort Mandan obviously did not tell him of every affluent of the Yellowstone. (back)
5. The number "60" appears above this course, but cannot be matched to any mileage total. (back)
6. The camp was in Sweet Grass County, Montana, on the north side of the Yellowstone just below the mouth of Little Timber Creek; the stream is "Small Creek" on Atlas map 107, and "Grape Creek Small" on Atlas map 114. (back)
7. Perhaps the mountain sucker, Catostomus platyrhynchus; if so, the first description. Burroughs, 264–65; Cutright (LCPN), 426. (back)
8. The dark freestone is sandstone of the Livingston Formation and the Eagle Sandstone. Dips up to 70° occur along some of the anticlines and synclines, but no perpendicular strata have been mapped in this area. Many near-vertical igneous dikes, however, cut the surface several miles north of the river, but would not have been easily seen from Clark's route. (back)
9. This is undoubtedly hemp dogbane, as noted under Lewis's entry of July 20, 1806. It is not a coincidence that Lewis also mentions silkgrass and sunflowers together in bottomland habitats. (back)
10. See Lewis's entry of July 20, 1806. (back)
11. This can be neither the false indigo, Amorpha, nor the wild false indigo, Baptesia, since neither are known from the area. The term wild indigo probably refers to a plant with pinnately compound leaves typical of true indigo, Indigoifera. It is probably a species of milkvetch, Astragalus, or of locoweed, Oxytropis, possibly purple locoweed, O. lambertii Pursh. Dorn, 134, 143. (back)
12. Clark's courses and distances from the East Gallatin River down the Yellowstone; the "Rocky Mountain" here is more specifically the Bridger Range. (back)
13. The Gates of the Mountains is a stretch of about five and three-quarter miles, roughly midway between Holter and Hauser dams in Lewis and Clark County, Montana. The party passed here on the outbound journey on July 19, 1805. (back)
14. Little Prickly Pear Creek, Lewis and Clark County; it is one of the few physical features Ordway mentions on his detached trip. (back)
15. Drouillard and the Field brothers went with Lewis. See Lewis's entries of July 16–28 for his account of this trip. (back)
16. With Gass were Werner, Frazer, Thompson, McNeal, and Goodrich. (back)
17. The party Clark was expected to send down from the Three Forks of the Missouri with the canoes that had been cached on the upper Beaverhead River in August 1805. (back)