August 3, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

August 3, 1806


I arrose early this morning and had the perogue and canoes loaded and set out at half after 6 A. M.    we soon passed the canoe of Colter and Collins who were on shore hunting, the men hailed them but received no answer we proceeded, and shortly after overtook J. and R. Fields who had killed 25 deer since they left us yesterday; deer are very abundant in the timbered bottoms of the river and extreemly gentle.    we did not halt today to cook and dine as usual having directed that in future the party should cook as much meat in the evening after encamping as would be sufficient to serve them the next day; by this means we forward our journey at least 12 or 15 miles Pr. day.    we saw but few buffaloe in the course of this day, tho' a greater number of Elk, deer, wolves, some bear, beaver, geese a few ducks, the party coloured covus, [1] one Callamet Eagle, [2] a number of bald Eagles, [3] red headed woodpeckers &c.    we encamped this evening on N. E. side of the river 2 ms. above our encampment of the 12th of May 1805. [4]    soon after we encamp Drewyer killed a fat doe.    the Fieldses arrived at dark with the flesh of two fine bucks, besides which they had killed two does since we passed them making in all 29 deer since yesterday morning. Collins and Colter did not overtake us this evening.

West ¼ along the Std. Bluff
North 1 ¾ to the Lowr pat of the Std. Bluff. Comincment of a large tim-
bered bottom Std.    Passed an Island
N. 20° W. 3 ½ m. to a Lard point    passed a Sand bar on Lard. and one be-
low the Std. pont. Bottoms of wood extince
N. 40° W. 2 miles to a Stard. point    passed a Deep bend to the Stard.
an extincve Sand bar from the Lard
N. W. Point 1 ½ miles to the Piont at the junction of the Missouri    an extence
Sand bar opposit on the Std sd

last night the Musquetors was so troublesom that no one of the party Slept half the night.    for my part I did not Sleep one hour.    those tormenting insects found their way into My beare and tormented me the whole night.    they are not less noumerous or troublesome this morning.    at 2 miles passed the enterance of Jo Field's Creek [6] 35 yds wide imediately above a high bluff which is falling into the river very fast.    on the Side of this bluff I saw Some of the Mountain Bighorn animals. I assended the hill below the Bluff.    the Musquetors were So noumerous that I could not Shute with any Certainty and therefore Soon returned to the Canoes. I had not proceeded far before I saw a large gangue of ewes & yearlins & fawns or lambs of the bighorn, and at a distance alone I saw a ram.    landed and Sent Labeech to kill the ram, which he did kill and brought him on board.    this ram is not near as large as maney I have Seen.    however he is Sufficiently large for a Sample    I directed Bratten to Skin him with his head horns & feet to the Skin and Save all the bone. I have now the Skin & bone of a Ram a Ewe [7] & a yearlin ram of those big Horn animals.    at 8. A. M. I arived at the Junction of the Rochejhone with the Missouri, and formed my Camp imediately in the point between the two river at which place the party had all encamped the 26th of April—1805. [8]    at landing I observed Several Elk feeding on the young willows in the point among which was a large Buck Elk which I shot & had his flesh dryed in the Sun for a Store down the river.    had the Canoes unloaded and every article exposed to dry & Sun. Maney of our things were wet, and nearly all the Store of meat which had been killed above Spoiled. I ordered it to be thrown into the river. Several Skins are also Spoiled which is a loss, as they are our principal dependance for Clothes to last us to our homes &c.

Course distance & Remarks Augt. 3rd 1806.
West along the Stard. Bluff to a point opposit to a low ex- } ¼
  tencive timbered bottom on the Lard Side
North to the lower part of the Stard. Bluff at the Commence- } 1 ¾
  ment of a large timbered bottom.    passed an island
N. 20° W. to a Lard point    passed a large bar on the Lard Side, } 3 ½
  and one below the Stard. point bottoms on each Side
  extenciv & covered with wood
N. 58° W. to the junction of the Rochejhone with the Missouri, } 2 ½
  passed a Stard. point at 1½ miles above which there is
  a deep bend to the Std. and an extenciv Sand bar from
  the above Lard. point.    also an extencive Sand bar be-
  low the Stard. point
    Miles 8

The distance from the Rocky Mountains at which place I struck the River Rochejhone to its enterance into the Missouri 837 Miles 636 Miles of this distance I decended in 2 Small Canoes lashed together in which I had the following Persons. John Shields, George Gibson, William Bratten, W. Labeech, Toust. Shabono his wife & child & my man York. The Rochejhone or Yellow Stone river is large and navagable with but fiew obstructions quite into the rocky mountains.    and probably 〈to head〉 near it's source. The Country through which it passes from those Mounts. to its junction is Generaly fertile rich open plains the upper portion of which is roleing and the high hills and hill Sides are partially covered with pine and Stoney. The middle portion or from the enterance of Clarks Fork as low as the Buffalow Shoals the high lands Contain Some Scattering pine on the Lard. Side.    on the Stard. or S. E. Side is Some hills thickly Supplied with pine. The lower portion of the river but fiew pines are to be Seen the Country opens into extencive plains river widens and Contains more islands and bars; of corse gravel sand and Mud. The Current of this river may be estimated at 4 Miles and ½ pr. hour from the Rocky Mts. as low as Clarks Fork, at 3½ Miles pr. hour from thence as low as the Bighorn, at 3— Miles pr. hour from thence as low as the Tongue river, at 2¾ Miles pr. hour from thence as low as Wolf rapid and at 2½ miles pr. hour from thence to its enterance into the Missouri

The Colour of the Water differs from that of the Missouri it being of a yellowish brown, [9] whilst that of the Missouri is of a deep drab Colour containing a greater portion of mud than the 〈MissouriRochejhone. [10] This delighfull river from indian information has it's extreem sources with the North river in the Rocky mountains on the confines of New Mexico. [11]    it also most probably has it's westerly sources connected with [NB: those of] the Multnomah and those the main Southerly branch of Lewis's river while it's Easterly branches head with those of Clark's R. [12] the bighorn and River Platte and may be said to water the middle portion of the Rocky Mountains from N W to S. E. for several hundred miles.    the indians inform us, that a good road passes up this river to it's extreem source from whence it is buta short distance to the Spanish settlements. [13] there is also a considerable fall on this river within the mountains [NB: no] but at what distance from it's source we never could learn [14] like all other branches of the Missouri which penetrate the Rocky Mountains all that portion of it lying within those mountains abound in fine beaver and Otter, it's streams also which issuing from the rocky mountain and discharging themselves above Clark's fork inclusive also furnish an abundance of beaver and Otter and possess considerable portions of small timber in their vallies.    to an establishment on this river at clarks Fork the Shoshones both within and West of the Rocky Mountains would willingly resort for the purposes of trade as they would in a great measure be relived from the fear of being attacked by their enimies the blackfoot Indians and Minnetares of fort de Prarie, which would most probably happen were they to visit any establishment which could be conveniently formed on the Missouri. [15] I have no doubt but the same regard to personal safety would also induce many numerous nations inhabiting the Columbia and Lewis's river West of the mountains to visit this establishment in preference to that at the entrance of Maria's river, particularly during the first years of those Western establishments.    the Crow Indians, Paunch Indians Castahanah's and others East of the mountains and south of this place would also visit this establishment; it may therefore be looked to as one of the most important establishments of the western fur trade.    at the entrance of Clark's fork there is a sufficiency of timber to support an establishment, an advantage that no position possesses from thence to the Rocky Mountains. The banks of the yellowstone river a bold not very high yet are not subject to be overflown, except for a few miles immediately below where the river issues from the mountain. the bed of this river is almost entirely composed of loose pebble, nor is it's bed interrupted by chains of rock except in one place and that even furnishes no considerable obstruction to it's navigation.    as you decend with the river from the mountain the pebble becomes smaller and the quantity of mud increased untill you reah Tongue river where the pebble ceases and the sand then increases and predominates near it's mouth. [16] this river can be navigated to greater advantage in perogues than any other craft yet it possesses suficient debth of water for battauxs [17] even to the mountains; nor is there any of those moving sand bars so formidable to the navigation of many parts of the Missouri. The Bighorn R and Clark's fork may be navigated a considerable distance in perogues and canoes. Tongue river is also navigable for canoes a considerable distance.


Sunday 3rd August 1806.    a fair morning.    we loaded the canoes and procd. on    Soon came to the Camp of the two Fields    they had killed 24 deer.    we procd. on verry well    Saw buffaloe in a bundance [18] and Some white bear.    we Camped [19] on N. S.    having made 73 miles this day.


Sunday 3rd.    We had a fine morning, and at 6 o'clock got under way and proceeded on. Having gone ten miles we came up with the hunters, who had killed twenty four deer. We went on very rapidly and saw great gangs of elk feeding on the shores, but few buffaloe. [20] At sunset we encamped having gone 73 miles.

1. The black-billed magpie, Pica pica [AOU, 475]. (back)
2. Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos [AOU, 349]. (back)
3. Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus [AOU, 352]. (back)
4. On the north side of the Missouri in Valley County, Montana, below the mouth of Cattle Creek, as Lewis notes about two miles above the camp of May 12, 1805. The site is now inundated by Fort Peck Reservoir. Atlas map 38; MRC map 66. (back)
5. With this entry the draft courses and distances for the Yellowstone journey end. From here Clark was traversing familiar territory. The last two courses are not repeated in the codex entry but are replaced by a single course that is somewhat different than either of these. (back)
7. Perhaps it was Biddle who placed brackets around and underlined the words "a Ewe," all in red ink. (back)
8. The camp was in McKenzie County, as Clark notes, at the campsite of April 26, 1805. Atlas maps 35, 48, 56. (back)
9. The color of the water in the rivers is derived largely from the formations through which they pass. The many yellow-colored rocks of the Fort Union Formation give some of their color to the water of the Yellowstone River. (back)
10. The Missouri River passes through more varied formations than the Yellowstone and passes through a long stretch of shale of the Colorado Group, Claggett Shale, and Bearpaw Shale after it emerges into the plains. These shale formations, being more easily eroded, impart more mud and dark color to the Missouri than is found in the Yellowstone. From here the remainder of the description of the Yellowstone under this date is in Lewis's hand, obviously inserted by him after the reunion of the two captains on August 12, 1806. Since there is no break in the writing nor any added pages, Clark must have written up this journal, at least from August 4 on, after the reunion. This would mean that more than a week's worth of entries would have had to have been added and there are no known draft entries from this period. (back)
11. The North River is the Rio Grande del Norte, whose sources in Colorado are hundreds of miles southeast of those of the Yellowstone and the Snake (the southerly branch of Lewis's River) in northwest Wyoming. The Willamette (Multnomah) heads in western Oregon. Biddle took extra notes on the Yellowstone's sources in conversation with Clark after the expedition. Biddle Notes [ca. April 1810], Jackson (LLC), 2:521–22. (back)
12. Clarks Fork Yellowstone River; see July 24, 1806. It was probably Biddle who inserted bracketse in red ink from "the Multnomah" to "branch of." (back)
13. The Spanish settlement in New Mexico, a good deal farther from the sources of the Yellowstone than Lewis seems to have imagined. (back)
14. The Falls of the Yellowstone are within present Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming, south of where Clark's party struck the river. It was probably Biddle who inserted brackets in red in from "there is" to "learn." If he was denying the existence of the falls he was misinformed. (back)
15. A Missouri Fur Company party led by Manuel Lisa built Fort Raymond at the Yellowstone-Bighorn confluence in 1807, the first of various posts on the Yellowstone dealing with the Crows and the mountain tribes. The Missouri Fur Company's attempt to establish a post at the Three Forks in 1810 was defeated by the intense hostility of the Blackfeet (see July 28, 1805), who indeed feared that such a post would furnish guns and ammunition to the mountain tribes. When the American Fur Company finally established Fort McKenzie on the Missouri near the mouth of the Marias in 1831, it was for the purpose of trading with the Blackfeet themselves. Oglesby, 54–59, 93–115; Ewers (BRNP), 50–52, 60; Chittenden, 1:141–44, 333–36. (back)
16. The Yellowstone River has a much steeper gradient than the Missouri and is thus able to transport cobbles and gravel farther downstream. Also, unlike the Missouri River, glaciers did not force the Yellowstone River from its course between its present junction with the Missouri and the mountains. Therefore the Yellowstone River in this stretch has had a longer period of time to grade its bed and remove falls and major rapids along its course. (back)
17. The French bateau refers to various wooden boats, generally larger and heavier than canoes, used by Anglo-Americans and Canadians for river travel. They might be propelled by oars, poles, or sails. The name was used especially for a keelless, flat-bottomed, plank craft with ends tapered to points, which was more mobile and lighter than a pirogue. Forty feet seems to have been a common length. Criswell, 11; Baldwin (KA), 42; McDermott (GMVF), 20. (back)
18. Contrary to Lewis and Gass, who report seeing few buffalo this day. (back)
19. In Valley County, Montana, below the mouth of Cattle Creek and, as Lewis notes, about two miles above the camp of May 12, 1805. Again, the site is inundated by Fort Peck Reservoir. (back)
20. Lewis agrees with Gass, but Ordway reports seeing buffalo in abundance. (back)