July 21, 1806
93.71% Complete
Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

July 21, 1806


We set out at sunrise and proceeded a short distance up the North side of the river; we found the ravines which made in on this side were so steep and numerous that we passed [EC?: crossed] the river in doing which the pack horse which carried my instruments missed the ford and wet the instruments.    this accident detained us about half an hor. I took the Instruments out wiped them and dryed their cases, they sustained no naterial injury.    we continued on the S. side of the river about 3 [EC?: 3] miles when we again passed over to the N. side and took our course through the plains at some distance from the river.    we saw a large herd of Elk this morning.    the buffaloe still become more scarce.    at 2 P. M. we struck a northern branch of Marias river [1] about 30 yds. wide at the distance of about 8 miles from it's entrance.    this stream is closely confined between clifts of freestone rocks [2] the bottom narrow below us and above the rocks confine it on each side; some little timber below but not any above; the water of this stream is nearly clear.    from the appearance of this rock and the apparent hight of the bed of the streem I am induced to beleive that there are falls in these rivers somewhere about their junction.    being convinced that this stream came from the mountains I determined to pursue it as it will lead me to the most nothern point to which the waters of Maria's river extend which I now fear will not be as far north as I wished and expected.    after dinner we set out up the North branch keeping on it's S. side; we pursued it untill dark and not finding any timber halted and made a fire of the dung of the buffaloe.    we lay on the south side in a narrow bottom under a Clift. [3]    our provision is nearly out, we wounded a buffaloe this evening but could not get him.

Courses and distances July 21st 1806.
S. 80° W. 15 ms. with the river upward.    it forks at the extremity of this
course and the main or Southern branch bears S. 75 W. about
30 ms. to the mountains
N. 40° W.   6 m. up the North branch.    30 yd. wide confined closly be-
tween clifts of rocks, shallow rapid and not navigable
N. 25° W.   7 m. still with the N. fork upwards.    we struck the river at 2
miles from the eommencement of this course, passed it and
continued on it's South side.    hills broken.    land poor.
Miles 28

This morning I was informed that Half of our horses were absent. Sent out Shannon Bratten, and Shabono to hunt them. Shabono went up the river Shanon down and Bratten in the bottom near Camp, Shabono and Bratten returned at 10 A M and informed me that they Saw no Signs of the horses. Shannon proceeded on down the river about 14 miles and did not return untill late in the evening, he was equally unsuckcessfull. Shannon informed me that he Saw a remarkable large Lodge [5] about 12 miles below, covered with bushes and the top Deckorated with Skins &c and had the appearance of haveing been built about 2 years. I Sent out two men on hors back to kill a fat Cow which they did and returned in 3 hours    the men work very diligiently on the Canoes    one of them nearly finished ready to put in the water. Gibsons wound is beginning to heal. I am in great hope that it will get well in time for him to accompany Sgt. Pryor with the horses to the Mandans. This evening late a very black Cloud from the S. E. accompanied with Thunder and lightning with hard winds which Shifted about and was worm and disagreeable. I am apprehensive that the indians have Stolen our horses, and probably those who had made the Smoke a fiew days passed towards the S. W. I deturmined to have the ballance of the horses guarded and for that purpose sent out 3 men, on their approach near the horses were So alarmed that they ran away and entered the woods and the men returned—    a Great number of Geese which raise their young on this river    passed down frequently Since my arival at this place.    we appear to be in the beginning of the buffalow Country.    the plains are butifull and leavel but the Soil is but thin Stoney [6] and in maney parts of the plains & bottoms there are great quantity of prickly pears. Saw Several herds of buffalow Since I arived at this Camp also antilops, wolves, pigions, Dovs, Hawks, ravins, Crows, larks, Sparrows, Eagles & bank martins [7] &c. &c. The wolves which are the constant attendants of the Buffalow are in great numbers on the Scerts of those large gangues which are to be Seen in every direction in those praries


Monday 21st July 1806.    a fair warm morning.    the Musquetoes troubled us all last night.    one man went out at day light for the horses, but could not find them.    then Several more men went out and hunted for them all day & could not find any of them    we got two canoes Started & considerable baggage ourselves & Camped    concluded to delay tomorrow for our horses before we give them out.    the Musquetoes and Small flyes verry troublesome    we made fires of buffaloe dry dung to make Smoaks &c.


Monday 21st.    A plesant morning. One of the men went out for the horses; and the rest of us put two canoes on the waggons, and moved them forward by hand some distance, when the man returned without finding the horses. Two more than went out look for them, and at noon came back without finding them. In the afternoon, some more men went out to look for them, who at night returned also without seeing any thing of them; and we lay where the canoes were all night. [8]

1. Cut Bank Creek, the northern fork of Marias River, Two Medicine River being the south fork; the two meet on the Pondera-Glacier county line in Montana. (back)
2. The glacial relocation of the Marias River and its tributaries caused each to downcut a new valley. Near the junction of the Marias River and Cut Bank Creek, the formations are the Telegraph Creek Formation and the Virgelle Sandstone; from about six miles south of their evening camp, the Two Medicine Formation borders Cut Bank Creek. These formations contain abundant, erosion-resistant sandstone layers. The streams, thus, cut narrow, trench-like valleys. (back)
3. Lewis camped on the west side of Cut Bank Creek, in Glacier County, a mile or so southwest of the present town of Cut Bank. (back)
4. An asterisk is placed in the margin to the right of this dateline; its purpose is unknown. (back)
5. Probably a Crow sun-dance lodge, where the traditional sun-dance was performed. Clark's party was now well within the Crow homeland; the lodge was probably a few miles southwest of present Billings, Yellowstone County, Montana. See Clark's desecription below July 24, 1806. Voget, 93–101, 106–7, 112–13. (back)
6. Semiarid climate, steep slopes, and wind combine to retard soil formation. The stones are Yellowstone River terrace gravel. (back)
7. Probably the bank swallow, Riparia riparia [AOU, 616]. Holmgren, 32. (back)
8. Neither Gass nor Ordway gives enough information to locate their camps along the Great Falls portage route with any confidence. They were in Cascade County, Montana, south or southeast of the city of Great Falls. (back)