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Transcriber's Note: The detailed map of the territory explored by Maj. Raynolds can be found at the David Rumsey Map Collection along with a plethora of other maps. Through the kind permission of Mr. Rumsey, I have been allowed to link directly to the copywrited image he and his associates have created by the restoral of the original map drawn by F. V. Hayden. You will find their work was superlative. This link will open a separate browser window which will allow the reader to follow along with the expedition's progress. When using the map viewer, it will be necessary to "zoom in" several times but, after doing so, you will be able to see the dotted line with dates indicating the expedition's route and camp sites. To open the map directly, please click on the following link (you may have to stop any "pop-up" blocker software you have running to see the resulting window):

Map of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers

Journal of Captain W. F. Raynolds, United States army, Corps of Engineers.


My escort, a detachment of 30 men, 2d United States dragoons, under First Lieutenant John Mullins, reported to me at noon of May 8.   The next day was spent in making the final arrangements for starting, and on Thursday, May 10, after nearly seven mouths in winter quarters, we again turned our faces to the westward, and resumed our march.   After the usual annoying and unexpected delays at the last, we completed the packing by about 10 1/2 a. m., and left the valley of Deer creek by the same route by which it was entered last fall.

The natural difficulties resulting from unbroken animals, and badly-adjusted packs had to be overcome, but still our progress was better than we had reason to expect, and we reached the Platte, beyond the Little Muddy, by 2 1/2 o'clock p. m., having travelled 11 3/8 miles.   The parties living at the Little Muddy claimed to own the insignificant bridge across it, and charged me $10 toll for the transit of the party, a sum which I paid with the reflection that this was indubitable proof of the gratifying fact that we were still within the limits of civilization.

A few drops of rain fell during the afternoon, and a high wind has been blowing all day.

Friday, May 11.—Our route to-day led up the Platte road to the bridge, which we crossed, paying $50 toll for the whole train.  The march was performed much more smoothly than yesterday, there being far less trouble with animals and packs, but it will still require several days to bring everything to perfect working order.

After leaving the bridge we passed over the Sand Hills—a continuation of the same range that is crossed on the route from Deer creek to Powder river—and, descending these, we made our camp on the Platte, having advanced a little over 16 miles, and accomplishing this distance in five and a half hours.   The grass is as yet very scarce, and we have begun our summer's march quite as early as was practicable.

The mail overtook us while en route, and the postmaster at Deer Creek had kindly forwarded our letters by the carrier, thus giving us the last news we shall have from home until we reach Fort Randall.

Saturday, May 12.—We continued up the Platte road to the Red Buttes, where we encamped after a march of 13 miles.   This road has been so often described that repetition is unnecessary, but I may say that it would be considerably improved if it should continue further up the south side, and cross some five miles above the Mormon crossing, as some of the bills now passed over are abrupt and difficult, and they could thus be avoided.

The wind was very high from the southwest all day, making travelling [sic] disagreeable, and towards night the weather became very chilly, threatening a storm.

After getting into camp the escort horses, from some unknown cause, became "stampeded," and tore off over the hills at full speed.   Men started at once in pursuit, and returned about 11 o'clock p.m., bringing nineteen with them, twelve being yet missing.

Sunday, May 13.—Awaking this morning I found the ground white, and a snow storm still in progress.   The fall continued till about 11 o'clock, and though it thawed constantly, yet at that hour the ground was covered to the depth of four or five inches, the sun came out in the afternoon, however, and at dark there was but little snow left in the valley.

According to custom, we passed the day in camp.  This course, however, was not only dictated by inclination, but also by necessity, as the remainder of the stampeded horses were not captured till noon.  They had gone about fifteen miles before they were overtaken, and returned decidedly the worse for the trip.   It was a great misfortune to have them so completely exhausted at this early stage of the journey, and the horse belonging to the officer commanding the escort, Lieutenant John Mullins, was hardly able to get back to camp.   Lieutenant Mullins at once bought two Indian ponies to meet the emergency.

Our camp is about half a mile up a small stream that flows into the Platte below Red Buttes.@The water is brackish, and wood and grass are very scarce.

Monday, May 14.—A cold, disagreeable morning prevented an early start, and when we were ready to pack up, three horses were missing.   Whether they had been stolen or had strayed off after better pasturage we were unable to determine, but they could not be found.   Upon leaving camp, my division and that of Lieutenant Maynadier separated.   The latter will follow the Platte road
to above Independence Rock; thence pass northward to the Popo-Agie and down that stream to its junction with Wind Row [sic], while I shall diverge to the north of the road and join him on Wind river.

My division left camp in advance about half an hour, and we abandoned the Platte road at the point at which it forks to pass on either side of the Red Buttes.   By turning to the west of a large butte that stands on the north side of the road, we passed once more out into the plains.   Our route led over level ground in the main, but we met occasionally our old tormentors, the gullies, though in these cases so small as not to cause any serious delay.   We passed over barren plains with here and there small quantities of grass, but no water, until we reached the stream down which we traveled in October last, and upon this we encamped after a march of 13 ¼ miles.   Our hunter was out all day, but returned without finding any game.

Tuesday, May 15.—We left camp this morning at 8 o'clock.   The day has been cloudy, but with very little wind, and has therefore been far more pleasant for travelling than yesterday.

We followed up our trail of last fall for about fourteen miles, or to near our camp of Sunday, October 9.@The stream we are on is not as full now as then, and in many places its bed is perfectly dry.   We pushed on in a nearly direct line, diverging to the southward of our last year's route, and, crossing a rolling divide, encamped upon another branch of the same creek.   No fuel whatever could be found excepting sage, which answers very well for cooking.   Grass still continues scarce.

During the march some Indians were noticed a mile or two to the left of our route, and after getting into camp three of them visited us, and proved to be Arapahoes, who report buffalo not far in advance.   Numerous tracks and "signs" show that they have been here recently.

The Indians stated that they had plenty of meat, and were now going to a good place to eat it—a fair specimen of the providence of the whole race.   If the wants of the day are supplied they have no further care.

We also learned from them that a small "war party" of Shoshones had left camp on Wind river and started for the Platte to steal horses from the whites.    Stealing horses means making war in the Indian phraseology, the killing of men being considered as only an incidental occurrence.

The country traversed to-day is the same barren desert that we have been in since leaving the Platte—very little grass, no wood, and scarcely any water.   I cannot conceive how it will ever be made inhabitable for the white man, and the whole country from the Big Horn mountains to the Platte is of this same character.   We observed successfully at night. Our hunter brought in some game this evening in the shape of the carcass of an antelope.

Wednesday, May 16.—-We left camp at 7 ½ o'clock a. m., the day being clear but chilly.   Last night was the coldest experienced since leaving winter quarters, and at 6 a. m. the thermometer stood at 26° Fahrenheit.   The weather moderated rapidly, however.

Our course was nearly magnetic west, passing over a succession of spurs from the Rattlesnake hills, which rendered the road very difficult.   In the first six miles we crossed three deep gullies, which necessitated considerable work, while a fourth forced us to make a wide detour to the right before we could reach its opposite bank.   Then resuming our westerly course over a gently rolling country, we encamped upon another branch of the stream that empties into the Platte at Red Buttes, having travelled 13.6 miles, requiring seven and a half hours of hard labor.

The country is becoming rather uneven, but not more inviting.   Most of the hills crossed to-day are washed as bare as clay banks.   We are now near the western edge of the valley of Poison Spring creek, and we know that the drainage of this stream covers an area of about 800 square miles, and yet it is dry at its mouth in the middle of May.

Dr. Hayden, who was south of our route near the Rattlesnake hills to-day, reports seeing a herd of Buffalo and some Indians watching them and waiting for the arrival of their village.

The wind is from the northeast this evening, and the weather is chilly, but the sky has kept clear and I have observed for time and latitude.

Thursday, May 17.—About three miles from camp this morning we passed the divide between the Platte and Wind rivers, which is an undulating prairie, rendering it difficult to exactly locate the summit.   Our course thence bore rather more to the northward to avoid a washed land district, which would have retarded our progress.   The country passed over was a gently rolling plateau, with no obstructions save the sage, which embarrassed the heavy wagons of the escort.

After travelling 20 ½ miles we encamped upon the banks of a clear running brook, into which men and animals rushed in haste to quench their thirst.   The water proved so bitter and salt, however, that they turned away in disgust; but as there was no other resource we pitched our tents near a small patch of grass that had escaped the fires that have recently swept through this region.   The surface of the ground in many places near our camp is covered with a white saline deposit, causing the standing water to be entirely unfit for use, and rendering even that in the stream exceedingly disagreeable.

Some of the bills crossed to-day were covered with a tolerable fair growth of bunch grass, but the greater part were barren in the extreme.  Our last nights camp was near pools of water occasioned by the rain or melting snow, and which could not be depended on for a permanent supply, and in our day's march of over twenty miles not a drop was found, nor was a stick of wood visible large enough to make a picket pin.   Our fuel had been grease wood (a species of sage} and buffalo chips.

Friday, May 18.—Our route this morning led down the valley of Bad Water creek for some five miles.   This road was an easy, gentle slope, though the soil was sticky, and in places wet.   After leaving the immediate valley we passed four miles farther over a gently rolling prairie, hoping to reach camp at an early hour, but hills of loose sand were encountered, which extended to the bank of the creek on the south, while on the north deep gullies crossed the valley at short intervals.  Choosing the least of two evils, we plodded wearily through the sand, the labor tasking severely all the animals, the wagon teams making progress with the greatest difficulty.   Fortunately, the creek was close at hand, and we could thus encamp at any moment, and this we did at 2 o'clock, after a march of 13 ½ mile's.

In the sand hills numerous bands of antelope were feeding, and our hunter killed five, while other members of the party brought down three, thus providing us with a bountiful supply of fresh meat.   The water in the creek is [sic] less salt at our present camp than at last night's, though it is still far from palatable.   The old bunch grass on the sand hills is tolerably good, and our animals prefer it to the new that is springing up in the valleys.   A better supply of grass will soon be indispensable, for our animals are already showing the effects of short rations, though we have been out but a week.   The fine American horses of the escort are suffering most, and it is evident that for hard service they are far surpassed by the tough Indian ponies.

Saturday, May 19.—Our route to-day still continued down the valley of Bad Water creek, which we were obliged to follow closely, as the hills upon each side were either of loose sand or cut up in deep ravines.   The water in the creek diminished in quantity as we approached the mouth, and some eight or ten miles from camp disappeared entirely, the bed consisting of hard dry sand, which we crossed repeatedly.   The travelling was poor all day, the road leading alternately through almost impassable sand and then high sage, but no hills intervened and our progress was moderately rapid.

After advancing some ten miles I ascended a bluff on the south side of the creek to look for the Big Horn river.   I found the hill cut into deep ravines, and it was with the greatest difficulty that I picked my way to the summit.   From that point I could see the timber along the river banks which we would be obliged to reach to find water,

About fifteen miles from our last night's camp Bad Water creek circled off to the southward, and crossing the bend by a gradual slope, the valley of Wind river came in full view only five or six miles distant.   Turning to the southward we found some difficulty in again passing through the valley of Bad Water creek, as it was here a mere marsh; but once over we went on rapidly to the river, descending to the stream over a barren clay slope, the bluffs consisting of washed lands, with ragged rock projecting at or near the summit.    Some of the slopes were covered with a scanty growth of grass.

The upper range of the Big Horn mountains has been on our right for the past two days, and when we left the valley of Bad Water creek the upper cañon of Big Horn river was plainly in sight, some twelve or fifteen miles distant.

Wind river, or more properly the Big Horn, for the junction of Wind river with the Popo-Agie should be considered as forming the Big Horn, is here a bold, rapid stream, somewhat swollen, doubtless, by the melting snow at this time.   It is cut up by islands into numerous channels, but just below our camp, where it is united in a single stream, its width is eighty yards.   Its depth is four or five feet, and it has a current of three and a half or four miles per hour.   The water is now muddy, and the river presents all the characteristics of the Missouri upon a small scale.   Our camp is in a fine grove of young cottonwoods, the first trees seen, except on the remote hills, since leaving the Platte, now distant one hundred miles.

The altitude of our present camp above the sea level is ascertained by barometric measurements to be 4,991 feet.   When leaving the Big Horn below the lower cañon on September 9 of last year the altitude of the river was recorded as 3,471, and it is thus shown that during its passage through the mountains the river falls 1,520 feet.   The distance between the location of the measurements thus compared is a little less than 200 miles.

Sunday, May 20.—We spent the day in camp as usual.   Our animals show evident symptoms of breaking down, and rest has become absolutely indispensable to them.   The weather has been chilly and disagreeable, making a fire necessary, and proving that much snow still remains in the mountains.

Monday, May 21.—We started up the river this morning for the mouth of the Popo-Agie, the point of meeting agreed upon with Lieutenant Maynadier.   Our route lay along the river bottom, the soil of which is barren sand deposited by the river, while sage is about the only vegetation.

Five or six miles from camp we passed the dry bed of a stream which seems to head in the ridge crossed three days since.   Several low swales were also crossed, and one of them, consisting of many acres, was covered with a white, saline deposit, so light and dry that the passing train raised a cloud of most disagreeable dust.

A succession of low spurs marred the latter part of our route, being but a slight improvement upon the "washed lands."  Just below the mouth of the Popo-Agie we encountered one that necessitated a wide detour, and from it we descended to the banks of this river just above the forks, and crossing, pitched our tents in a fine grove of cottonwoods amid tolerable pasturage.

The Popo-Agie at this point is about 60 yards wide, three feet deep, and has a current of about four miles per hour.  Both it and Wind river, which here is about the same size, are doubtless now considerably swollen.

I rode up the Popo-Agie some five miles towards evening, hoping to meet Lieutenant Maynadier, at whose non-arrival here before me I am greatly disappointed, but I could see no indications of his presence in the vicinity.

Tuesday, May 22.—We passed the day in camp, awaiting the arrival of Lieutenant Maynadier, and spent the time in readjusting packs and pack saddles and making preparations to abandon all wheels as soon as it may become necessary.

I sent a small topographical party up the stream to gain information, hoping also that they might meet the other detachment, but returned without tidings from them.  Our hunter was entirely unsuccessful in his search for game to-day.

Here I desire to state a fact of some importance with reference to the nomenclature of the Big Horn and its branches.  The river which last summer we descended under the name of the Big Horn is formed by the junction of the Popo-Agie and the Wind river at this point, and should properly be called the Big Horn below the site of our present camp.  By the trappers, however, it is always spoken of as the Wind river until it enters the cañon some 30 miles below here.  There is no good reason for this arbitrary distinction, whereby the same stream passes into the mountains under one name and emerges with another, and it is necessary that these facts should be known to avoid confusion.

Wednesday, May 23.—We spent the day in camp, still waiting for Lieutenant Maynadier and party, who came up about 5 p. m., having travelled about 25 miles further than ourselves, a fact which accounts for their late arrival.

One of the party caught to-day in Wind river a mountain trout weighing about two and a half pounds and of the variety so common in the Rocky mountains, the spots being darker than those on trout found in the eastern portion of the continent.

I spent the evening with Lieutenant Maynadier, making arrangements for our future explorations.  We are to separate again at this camp.  My own division will ascend Wind river, and from its head cross to the Three Forks of the Missouri.  Lieutenant Maynadier is to descend the Big Horn to the point at which we left it in September, and thence proceed westward along the base of the mountains, crossing the Yellowstone and reaching the Three Forks by Clark's route—the understanding being that we shall meet at the Three Forks on the last day of June.

I deem it important that we should effect a junction by this date at the furthest for the following reasons: On the 18th of July will occur the total eclipse of the sun, which is attracting such attention in all scientific circles.  My orders from the department require that, if possible, I should visit the line of the total eclipse in British America, (permission having been obtained for this purpose from the authorities of those provinces,) and take such observations as may be possible.  I propose, therefore, on reaching the Three Forks and meeting Lieutenant Maynadier, to leave the expedition,
and with three or four attendants to push on ahead myself to the north, obtaining new horses at Fort Benton, and advancing into the wilderness beyond the international boundary, reaching the eastern base of the mountains north of latitude 52°, just within the line of total eclipse.

The distance from the Three Forks I shall be compelled to traverse will be about 500 miles, and if the two parties shall meet on June 30th, as agreed,  I shall have 17 days in which to reach the desired point.  As this will require only an average day's march of about 29 miles, I hope to be successful.  It will be indispensable, however, that there shall be no delay at the Three Forks.

Thursday, May 24.—After a halt of a day or two it is always difficult to leave camp promptly, on account of the number of loose ends to pick up, and accordingly we did not this morning get started before 9 o'clock.  Our route lay up the valley of the Wind river, keeping upon the south side of the stream, and for the first three or four miles we passed through fine grass.  The valley is a mile or more in width, and the immediate banks of the stream for 300 or 400 yards are covered with a thick growth of cottonwood.  Between this grove and the bluffs the valley contains little besides sage, which is the largest yet seen, many of the bushes being seven feet high, and four or five inches in diameter at the ground.

The valley becomes narrower as we ascend, and the bluffs are so high as to shut out the view of the distant mountains.  About ten miles from camp the stream impinges upon the bluffs on the south side, compelling us either to cross or climb the hills.  The latter was preferred, and we found a succession of gullies that made the road quite difficult, and after journeying about five miles among the hills we descended again to the river and encamped upon a small plat [sic-flat?], accessible only by the route by which we entered it or by crossing the river.  The distance travelled to-day was 15 ¼ miles, and over a road that would have been very difficult for wagons.

Friday, May 25.—Ice formed in our buckets last night, showing that the season in this valley does not keep pace with the almanac. Some of our party spent most of the night around the camp fires, being unable to sleep on account of the cold.  These chilly nights and warm days are not proving healthful, and three or four are affected with severe colds, attended with ague and fever.  Nothing serious has yet manifested itself, however.

A warm sun was shining when we left camp, and crossing the river at once we continued on our course towards the mountains.

The valley still possesses the same general features as in yesterday's march.  A bluff on our right promised such an excellent prospect from its summit that it was ascended to obtain an idea of the neighboring topography.  The barometer showed the elevation to be about 500 feet above the river level.

As we ascend the river we find the mountains upon either hand closing in upon our course.  Upon our right are visible the dark peaks of the Big Horn range, relieved by here and there a snow-capped summit, but occasionally sinking to a very low altitude. One of these latter points Bridger calls " Gray Bull pass," and asserts that through it there is an excellent road into the Big Horn valley.

To the left lies the snowy ridge of the Wind River mountains, sharp granite crags projecting along its summit.  The valley in which we are travelling between these chains of lofty hills naturally contains scenery of much grandeur.  The soil, however, is very barren, the surface being parched and dry, and the progress of our train raises clouds of the most disagreeable dust.  The geological features of the country are becoming more and more marked, the tertiary formation prevailing here and extending to the base of the mountains.

In its general appearance the plain is not unlike the sand beach of New Jersey, save that it lacks the freshness and greenness of verdure.  The vegetation is very poor, and we were greatly troubled to find a spot for a camp that would afford sufficient pasturage for our animals.  On the location ultimately chosen the old grass (there being little or no new visible) was as hard and dry as in midsummer.  The day has been very cool, a strong wind blowing from the snow-capped mountains surrounding us, and most of the party have worn their overcoats during the march.

Some elk have been seen in the valley, and half a dozen antelope also crossed the plain to-day, but our hunter is on the sick list, and we are without fresh meat in camp.

Saturday, May 26.—We continued our route up the river, keeping on the north bank for some three miles, and then crossing to the south.  Soon after leaving camp a bear was discovered on the opposite side of the stream, which Bridger's accuracy with the rifle promptly killed, and some of the men brought the carcass into camp.  The guide had been previously complaining of illness, and was reluctant to leave camp in the morning, but the sight of game produced a sudden and remarkable convalescence.  Our hunter was also fortunate enough to bring down an elk early in the morning, and thus our day's march was made with the pleasant prospect before us of fresh meat for dinner.

The river at the point at which we crossed it was divided by islands into three channels, but one of which (the last) was sufficiently deep to render care necessary in fording.

About nine miles from camp we crossed the Lake fork, a bold, dashing mountain torrent, which I estimate to contribute from one-fourth to one-third the water of the whole stream.  Just above our point of crossing it fell from 15 to 20 feet in a few rods, forming beautiful rapids.  My topographer and artist visited the lakes some three or four miles up the stream, and describe them as beautiful mountain ponds, distant from each other about one-fourth of a mile.

Before reaching Lake fork, a bold spur jutted out to the river bank, over which we were compelled to pass.  It was covered with large granite boulders, and had only a narrow path leading to the summit.  It was the first serious difficulty that the single pair of wheels we use for the odometer encountered, and the aid of the men was found necessary in taking them over the spur to keep them upright.  Above this point we came upon a well beaten trail extending a mile or two, and enabling us to make rapid progress for that distance.

I had estimated the Lake fork as nearly one-third as large as the main stream, but we found the crossing above its junction far more difficult than before, as the river was about three feet deep and so rapid as to make firm footing almost impossible.  I felt decidedly relieved when all had safely reached the north bank.

Our route lay now on a wide open bottom, of which the vegetation was "salt" grass, while the surface of the ground was covered with "alkali."  We again passed some very large sage bushes before reaching a fine spring, near which we encamped amid a tolerable supply of grass.  The river is only a few rods distant, and this evening some of the men have caught quite a number of mountain trout, and as our hunter shot a deer just before reaching camp, we are now living upon the fat of the land, our bill of fare comprising elk, bear, venison, and brook trout.

Sunday, May 27.—We passed the day quietly in camp.  The morning was cloudy and threatened rain, and about 2 p. m. it commenced falling and has not slackened up to this time.  The escort have no tents, and, should the weather become cold, they will suffer severely.

Monday, May 28.—The rain of last night continued until after daylight this morning, but by the time breakfast was over there appeared some prospects of a clear day and the order to move was given.  As the clouds lifted, the mountains were revealed covered with snow nearly to the valley, presenting an appearance aesthetically magnificent, but practically foreboding, as but little time will elapse before we shall be compelled to cross them.

Everything in camp was wet, increasing the weight of our loads and requiring more time than usual for the preparations for the start, but at 8 o'clock we were in motion. After travelling some two miles we crossed the river to the south side, and for ten or twelve miles the road presented no difficulties, the valley being quite wide, with a branch meandering through it for several miles before uniting with the river.  Another stream about 11 miles from camp proved to be a bold mountain torrent flowing over large boulders, which rendered crossing very difficult.  A short distance beyond this the trail we have been pursuing crossed the river, but on attempting to follow it we found the fording so difficult that we concluded in preference to pick our way among the hills on the south side.

The large boulders on the hillside made the travelling so bad that I ultimately gave orders to leave our odometer wheels behind, and after a march of over 18 miles our tents were again pitched for the night.  As I was very anxious not to give up our odometer measurements, I sent back for the wheels after getting into camp, and they were brought in just before dark.

We are now fairly among the mountains, and the bluffs that come out to the river are almost impassable.   On the south side the formation is drift, and the large boulders that lie scattered in all directions constitute the greatest obstacle to travelling.  On the north side the country is cut into deep ravines and the "washed" or " bad land" formation is predominant.  Red rocks, similar to the "red buttes" of the Platte, occur just above our present camp, and all the bluffs on the north side present the peculiar coloring in belts seen on Powder river, except that the black (lignite) is wanting.

We have ascended rapidly to-day and our camp is about 400 feet higher than that of last night.  Cedars were first found in our course to-day and the barometer indicates an elevation of 6,100 feet above the sea level.

After reaching camp rain again commenced and is now falling quite rapidly.  If, as I fear, this is snow on the mountains, it will undoubtedly seriously embarrass our journey among them.

Tuesday, May 29.—We left camp at 7 ½ a. m. and crossed the river after travelling about a mile.  The current was very rapid and we found the water about four feet deep.  The recent rains have swollen the stream, so that it is now far more difficult to ford than it was nearer its mouth.  It was only by stationing men in the water to keep the animals headed up stream that we led them across in safety.

After travelling between one and two miles further the train was again taken to the south side of the stream, these two crossings being made to avoid a bold red bluff on the south bank, the foot of which is washed by the river.  Between four and five miles from camp we passed the forks of Wind river, the north branch at this time being much the smaller of the two.  Our route bore up the south fork, which had to be crossed twice before reaching what Bridger called Otter creek, where we encamped after a march of only 13 miles.

The last portion of our journey lay over a narrow foot slope of high drift ridges coming down from the mountains, the opposite or northern bank of the stream being bold, cut bluffs of "washed lands" with the usual horizontal strata of varied colors, in this special locality a pinkish red predominating.

The grass at our present camp is the best found since leaving winter quarters, and this fact induced me to make the day's march unusually short.

Wednesday, May 30.—Passing over the hills from our last night's camp, (on Otter creek,) we reached the valley of Wind river after travelling about a mile.  We made four crossings during the day's march, this being necessary to follow the most feasible road.

Toward the close of the day we crossed a high spur, from the summit of which we obtained a fine view of the valley.  To our front and upon the right the mountains towered above us to the height of from 3,000 to 5,000 feet in the shape of bold, craggy peaks of basaltic formation, their summits crowned with glistening snow.  Upon our left smooth ridges clad with pine rose to nearly equal height, while behind us lay the various-hued bluffs, amid whose singular and picturesque vistas we had for days been journeying.  Through the valley, in the centre, the stream could be seen placidly winding its way, a subduing element in the grandeur of a scene whose glories pen cannot adequately describe and only the brush of a Bierstadt or a Stanley could portray on canvass.

About the middle of our day's march we passed the last of the "washed lands."  Above that point large boulders cover all the surface of the hills, those upon the north being balsaltic and on the south granite.

Our camp is on the south fork of the stream about two miles above the Upper forks, and at the base of the mountains.  From this point we propose crossing the dividing line to the waters of the Pacific.  It was my original desire to go from the head of Wind river to the head of the Yellowstone, keeping on the Atlantic slope, thence down the Yellowstone, passing the lake and across by the Gallatin to the Three Forks of the Missouri.

Bridger said at the outset that this would be impossible, and that it would be necessary to pass over to the head-waters of the Columbia, and back again to the Yellowstone.   I had not previously believed that crossing the main crest twice would be more easily accomplished than the transit over what was in effect only a spur, but the view from our present camp settled the question, adversely to my opinion at once.  Directly across our route lies a basaltic ridge, rising not less than 5,000 feet above us, its walls apparently vertical with no visible pass nor even cañon.

On the opposite side of this are the head-waters of the Yellowstone.  Bridger remarked triumphantly and forcibly to me upon reaching this spot, "I told you you could not go through.  A bird can't fly over that without taking a supply of grub along."  I had no reply to offer, and mentally conceded the accuracy of the information of "the old man of the mountains."

After dinner Dr. Hayden and myself rode out to the basaltic ridge, being anxious to examine it more minutely.  Passing down the stream about a mile we effected a crossing, but not without getting both our horses mired and ourselves drenched, the results of over-confidence, as we had become so accustomed to hard bottom that we plunged into the stream without a thought of finding mud, and with difficulty avoided serious consequences from our mistake.

On reaching the North fork we found it impossible to effect a crossing, though the stream was only a few rods wide, until we had travelled up it for not less than six miles.  Here we found the faint traces of an old lodge trail, which led us to a point at which the bottom was firm enough to enable our horses to obtain a passable footing.   The North fork, for 10 or 12 miles above the upper forks, flows through a marsh about a mile in width, which at no very distant day has been a lake, and in this marsh and the hills immediately surrounding the stream seems to rise.

After the last crossing we rode rapidly over the hills, passing some of the finest grass yet seen, and finding snow upon all sides.  Upon setting out we had selected a perpendicular crag that we determined to reach, and at length we arrived at a point from which we supposed we should be able to do so without further trouble.  The cliff was not more than a mile off, but between us and it we found a deep ravine filled with a thick growth of scrubby pines, which was impenetrable at such a late hour in the day.  We were, therefore, compelled to retrace our steps without effecting our object.  I felt well paid, however, for the afternoon's work, as we obtained a fine view of the crest of the mountains entirely around the head of Wind river, forming a natural amphitheatre which cannot be excelled.

Throughout our entire ride we saw abundance of buffalo "signs," showing that they had been here recently, and tending to confirm a statement I have frequently heard that the Snake Indians keep the buffaloes penned up in the mountain valleys, and kill them as their necessities require.  Our camping ground for the night is evidently one much used, as the remains of numerous lodges and hundreds of lodge poles cover the ground, and it is evident that a camp at this point would effectually "pen" anything not winged that should chance to be in the valley above it.

Game is certainly abundant in the valley, and during our return ride we came upon an immense animal feeding amid the long grass at a distance of but 250 or 300 yards.  We supposed it to be a buffalo, but upon its seeing us and rising we discovered that it was an enormous bear, whose equal for size I have never seen.  As we were armed only with revolvers we did not molest it, nor did it seem in the least disconcerted by our presence.  Antelopes are also numerous, and we saw many bands of at least 40 or 50.  From the marshes close by immense flocks of ducks and geese were constantly rising.

We reached camp at dark, and just before a drenching shower, after a brisk ride of over 20 miles.  The regular day's march had been 14 ½ miles.

Thursday, May 31.—We started at 7 o'clock, elated at the prospect of making our next halt upon the Pacific slope of the mountains.  Bridger said that our camping ground for the night would be upon the waters of the Columbia, and within five miles of Green river, which could be easily reached.  I therefore filled my canteen from Wind river, with the design of carrying the water to the other side, then procuring some from Green river, and with that of the Columbia making tea from the mingled waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and the Pacific—a fancy that the sequel will show was not gratified.

Our route bore up the point of a spur that reached the valley at our camp, and in some localities the road was rather steep, but on the whole our progress was good, and we advanced nearly three miles and ascended about 1,000 feet in the first hour.  Then following the ridge, we had a gradual ascent and a tolerably good road for three or four miles among stunted pines, reaching at last a large windfall, which it was necessary to pass directly through, a programme involving much labor and the liberal use of the axe.

We then commenced another rapid ascent and soon found ourselves in the snow.  By making our horses take the lead by turns we forced our way through, and finally stood upon the last ridge on the Atlantic side of the dividing crest.  A narrow but deep valley separated us from the summit, the snow in it being too deep for an attempt even at crossing.

Turning to the left to avoid this ravine, and picking our way through thick stunted pines, we soon found ourselves floundering in the snow.  Bridger, for the first time, lost heart and declared that it would be impossible to go further.  To return involved retracing our steps fully half way to the Popo-Agie, then turning north into the valley of the Big Horn, and perhaps following the route of Lieutenant Maynadier, to the Three Forks of the Missouri—a course plainly inadmissible until every other hope had failed.

I therefore determined to reconnoitre myself, and if possible find some escape from our dilemma.  Dismounting, I pushed ahead through the snow, which was melting rapidly, and rendered travel both difficult and perilous.  At times the crust would sustain my weight, while at others it would break and let me sink, generally up to the middle, and sometimes in deep drifts up to my shoulders.  In some instances I was able to extricate myself only by rolling and stamping, and in many places I was compelled to crawl upon my face over the treacherous surface of the drifts.  After great labor I found myself alone on the summit of the Rocky mountains with the train out of sight.

An investigation of the topography of the surrounding mountains convinced me that if the party could reach this point the main difficulties of the passage would have been surmounted, and I therefore started to return and pilot them through.  Following my own tracks for nearly a mile I came upon them, and found that they had followed me slowly.

My attendant, who was leading my horse, stated that he should think they had advanced two or three miles since I left them, making the distance I had pushed forward alone some three or four miles.  I found myself very much exhausted, and my clothes saturated with snow-water, but I succeeded in guiding the party through and at last reaching the summit of the crest.  The descent upon the south side was gradual, but very difficult, the snow being deep, while at the few points at which it was gone the ground was a perfect quagmire, and it was not until we had advanced some six miles from the summit that we found a scanty supply of grass upon which we could encamp in the midst of pines and snow.

The day's march was by far the most laborious we have had since leaving Fort Pierre; and wet and exhausted as I was, all the romance of my continental tea-party had departed, and though the valley of Green river was in plain sight I had not the energy to either visit or send to it. I

Our last night's camp was at an elevation of 7,400 feet above the sea.  The summit of this pass is very nearly 10,000 feet, and our camp to-night is 9,250 feet, so that the whole day has been spent in an atmosphere so rarified that any exertion has been most exhausting.

The weather has been a mixture of smiles and tears.  Two or three flurries of snow passed over us attended with thunder, while at times the sun shone out brightly, renewing our life and vigor.

To the left of our route and some 10 miles from it rises a bold conical peak, 3,000 or 4,000 feet above us.  That peak I regard as the topographical centre of the continent, the waters from its sides flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, and the Pacific ocean.  I named it Union peak, and the pass Union pass.

Friday, June 1.—I was anxious to give our poor animals all the opportunity to graze that was possible, and did not, therefore, leave camp until nearly nine o'clock.  We are now on waters flowing to the westward and into a branch of Lewis fork, which Bridger says is known to the trappers as Gros Ventre fork, the Gros Ventre Indians having been commonly in the habit of passing by this valley in their annual trips across the mountains.

The ground was frozen when we started, just hard enough not to bear our horses, and the poor beasts breaking through the crust into the mud, had as difficult travelling as could be well imagined.  About a mile from camp we crossed a little rivulet not more than 18 inches wide, flowing between perpendicular banks four or five feet high.  We endeavored to make the animals jump across, but four of them got in and had to be lifted out.

The valley soon became quite narrow, and the stream commenced a rapid descent over a rocky bed.  Winding our way down the hill-sides over the rocks or through the mud, some four miles, we reached a bold clay bank 75 or 100 feet high, the foot of which was washed by the stream.  A narrow bridle-path led over it, along which our pack-animals passed in safety, but the odometer wheels could not be kept upright even with the aid of ropes, but rolled over, carrying the mules with them, bringing up, at last, at the water's edge, where we left them for the time.

At the end of only a six-miles' march, we encamped upon a small tributary of Gros Ventre fork, having descended about six hundred feet, carrying us below the greater part of the snow and into pasturage that was much better than at our previous camp, though by no means good, the new grass not having yet started.  Two or three snow-storms passed over us during the day, although the sun was shining at the time.

After getting into camp, the odometer wheels were sent after, and brought in by making a long detour on the south aide of the stream.

My guide seems more at a loss than I have ever seen him, and after reaching camp he rode in advance to reconnoitre, and returned saying, "it would be necessary to make a short march to-morrow," which I do not regret, as our animals are greatly broken down.

Saturday, June 2.—The ground was covered with snow this morning.  The sun shone out brightly when the herd was brought up, but, by the time we were prepared to start, snow was again falling rapidly.  Crossing the stream, which is here about forty feet wide and two and a half deep, we continued down Gros Ventre fork, our course being north of west.  The road was better than any before found on this side of the mountains, but the rapidly falling and melting snow caused mud that retarded us somewhat.

After a march of but three miles, Bridger advised a halt, as he did not know of another good camping ground within accessible distance.  The grass is improving in quality, and I hope the rest of the Sabbath will be of essential benefit to our broken-down animals.  Our object now is to keep as near to the dividing crest as possible and recross, as soon as we shall be able, to the headwaters of the Yellowstone.

The animal life of this region differs essentially from that on the Atlantic slope.  Even in Wind River valley many birds new to us were seen, and Dr. Hayden and his assistants have been very busy collecting specimens of all kinds.  Three or four squirrels previously unknown to us, double that number of birds, and a large and new species of rabbit have been obtained.  Yesterday, Bridger shot a "mule deer," and the day before our hunter killed one on the eastern side of the crest of the mountains, a locality out of their usual geographical limit.

Sunday, June 3.—We passed the day quietly in camp.  The sky has been cloudy, and we have been visited by occasional showers.

Monday, June 4. —Our course to-day has borne nearly northwest, and we are no longer following the course of the stream, but crossing the ridges separating its different branches.  The road was found to be almost impassable.  The snow had scarcely gone, while the ground was perfectly saturated with water.  The depth of the mud, and the exhausted condition of the animals, made marching almost impossible.

A spirit of insubordination and discontent was also manifest among the men, showing itself openly in their apparent determination to abandon all further efforts to bring along the odometer wheels, which they permitted to turn over five times in about half a mile.  It was with the greatest difficulty that I succeeded in enforcing discipline and inducing the men to continue the faithful discharge of their duties.  A long march was plainly out of the question, the spirit of the party, the condition of the beasts, the state of the roads, and the scarcity of grass, all forbidding it.  We halted therefore for the night after advancing but eight miles.

Tuesday, June 5.—We left camp at 7 ½ a. m., starting off rapidly to the northwest across the spurs running down to Gros Ventre fork.  The hill-slopes were not as steep as those passed over yesterday, and had it not been for the mud the road would have been good.  As it was, the animals labored hard, sinking over the fetlock at every step.  A month later in the season, however, there would probably be no especial difficulty encountered in travelling here, the late rains being chiefly responsible for our troubles.  Crossing one or two inconsiderable streams, at about 10 miles from our morning's camp we reached the valley of what was supposed to be another branch of Lewis river, but which subsequently proved to be a northern fork of the Gros Ventre.  Here the mud became far more impassable than before, while our labors were greatly augmented by occasional banks of snow through which we were compelled to force a way.

After travelling some two miles in this valley, further progress in it became impracticable, and an attempt was then made to push on along the side of the mountain.  There, however, among the pines the snow was found in impassable banks, while the open ground between presented even more obstruction than the snow itself, the soil being loose, spongy and saturated with moisture, so that the animals were constantly and helplessly mired.
I counted at one time 25 mules plunged deep in the mud, and totally unable to extricate themselves.  To go on was clearly impossible, and as we were now above grass, to remain here was equally out of the question.  The only course left, therefore, was to return, and we retraced our steps for about two miles, and pitched our tents at a point where our animals could pick up a scanty subsistence.

After getting into camp Bridger ascended the summit of a high hill to obtain an idea of the country, and returned after dark with far from a favorable report.  Nothing but snow was visible, and although he seems familiar with the locality, it is evident that he is in doubt as to what it is best that we should next attempt.  As I am exceedingly anxious to reach the upper valley of the Yellowstone, after a full discussion of the question in all its bearings with him to-night, it has been determined to make tomorrow a thorough examination of the mountains and pick out some path by which we may, if possible, find our way across them, and accomplish our purpose.

Wednesday, June 6.—Leaving the party in camp, I started with Bridger this morning, in accordance with our last night's arrangement, to ascertain if it was possible by some means to cross the mountain range before us.  Following up the stream we soon reached the limits of our yesterday's labors, and seeing a westerly fork which apparently headed in a low "pass" that looked promising, we determined to explore it.

Before reaching this fork we experienced great trouble in picking our way around snow-drifts and through mud.  After leaving the main stream the ground rose rapidly and the hillsides were covered with a dense growth of stunted pines, under which we found snow in abundance.  Some of the banks were not so deep as to prevent our horses from plunging through them, but others had to be trodden down before we could effect a passage.  The labor was of course excessive, but by perseverance the summit was at length reached.

Bridger immediately declared that we were on the wrong route and that our morning's labor had been wholly useless.  This was evident by the course of the ravine upon the other side of the ridge, which tended so far to the southward as to show that the drainage was still towards the Pacific, and that we had expended our efforts in climbing a spur.  We therefore returned to the valley and ascended the main stream, which carried us further to the eastward, and at first looked much less promising than the other.

After forcing our way through the snow-banks along the banks of the stream for about a mile, we reached a point where, for three-quarters of a mile above, the valley was comparatively wide, being bordered by steep cliffs, cut in deep gorges, filled with snow.  The neighboring hillsides were clad with snow, and the level valley was covered to a uniform depth of from eighteen inches to two feet, without the slightest appearance of ever having been crossed by man or beast.

Bridger at once seemed to recognize the locality, saying, "This is the pass."  Our own exhaustion, however, as well as that of our horses, was too great for any further attempts to-day, and we therefore returned to camp, determined to make another and final effort to reach the summit to-morrow.

Thursday, June 7.—I started this morning with a party of nine, all told, to make the last attempt to find a solution of the difficult problem imposed upon us.  My companions were the guide, Bridger, Dr. Hayden, (naturalist,) Mr. Hutton, (topographer,) Mr. Schonborn, (artist,) and four men.  One of the mules, however, fell into the stream soon after starting and was nearly lost, and we were compelled to send it back to camp, with its rider.

The rest of the party pushed on in our tracks of yesterday, without special trouble, till we reached the valley discovered at the close of our labors of the previous day.  Here we encountered great obstacles.  The deep snow in the numerous gorges rendered progress along the hillsides impossible, and compelled us to keep close to the stream in the valley, the descent into which was accomplished with much trouble.  Our route here was crossed by side gullies from two to four feet in depth, entirely invisible beneath the uniform surface of the snow, and into which we tumbled, and out of which we floundered in a style at once rediculous [sic] and exhausting.  We partially remedied this, at last, by probing the depth of the snow ahead by rods, and by this simple expedient saved ourselves much labor and annoyance.  We ultimately reached the upper end of the valley, and by a steep climb over the snow scaled the last ascent and stood again upon the dividing crest of the Rocky mountains.

It did not require long to decide that further progress was impracticable.  From the southward we had already passed over ten or fifteen miles of snow, but then we know that there was a limit to it easily reached.  To the north, or the direction in which our route from this point would lie, the view seemed almost boundless, and nothing was in sight but pines and snow.  To bring the party to where we stood was next to impracticable, but this I had determined to attempt, if there were any hopes of getting through the snow on the Yellowstone side of the mountains.  My fondly cherished schemes of this nature were all dissipated, however, by the prospect before us, as a venture into that country would result in the certain loss of our animals, if not of the whole party.

I therefore very reluctantly decided to abandon the plan to which I had so steadily clung, and to seek for a route to the Three Forks of the Missouri, by going further to the west and passing down the valley of the Madison.  After taking in our fill of the disheartening view we returned to camp, to commence the execution of our new project on the morrow.   The hunter to-day was sufficiently fortunate to kill two deer, which form a desirable addition to our rather empty larder.  Occasional showers have fallen during the day, but the night is clear and cold.

Friday, June 8.—To-day the train resumed its march, this time in pursuit of a different route from that which had before imposed upon us such serious hardships.  The herd was scattered far over the surrounding country, as a result of the scarcity of grass, and an early start was therefore impossible.  We were compelled at first to retrace our steps for about three miles, passing down one of the branches of the Gros Ventre fork to its mouth, and finding the road so very muddy that our progress was necessarily slow.

On reaching the fork, we took to the hills bordering the valley of the stream, and notwithstanding the pines and the ravines, were enabled to greatly accelerate the speed of our march.  After advancing several miles we crossed, with considerable labor, a steep spur and came down into the valley of a stream (which I deem to be the one whose sources we visited yesterday) near the Indian trail from Green river, and encamped close by its junction with the Gros Ventre, in fine pasturage.  The crossing of the spur was of course useless, as it turned out, and resulted from a mistake of Bridger's.  These little errors in matters of detail, upon his part, are not remarkable, as it is 15 years since he last visited this region, and they fade into insignificance compared with his accurate general knowledge of the country.

The length of our march was 12 miles, and it was accomplished amid weather of remarkable variableness.  About noon we were visited by a storm of mingled rain, snow and hail, accompanied with vivid lightning and heavy peals of thunder, and coming from the mountains behind us, which were shrouded in the densest clouds, while ahead the sun continued to shine brightly and its rays were brilliantly reflected from the snow-clad peaks before us, unveiled by any apparent vapors.

The change in the appearance of the country traversed to-day has been marked.   From the barrenness of the mountain summits we have passed into a region of fertility and richness.  The evergreens have disappeared, and we are now among cottonwoods.  The willows are far larger in size; grass has become abundant, while flowers surrounded us upon every side.  The alteration in these characteristics has been perceptible in each step of our march to day, and has afforded substantial gratification, as well as pleasure, to the eye of taste.  The soil at this spot is unquestionably excellent, and its productive capacity is unimpaired by the lack of warmth on account of its elevation.

Saturday, June 9.—An early start was effected this morning, with the view to a long day's march.  On scaling the hill lying between our camp and the main stream, a prospect of much beauty was unfolded before us.  The verdure-clad valley of the Gros Ventre was bounded upon either hand with mountains, whose sides were covered with dark evergreens and whose summits were capped with snow.  Far off, a barrier apparently stretched across the valley in the form of a ragged cliff of brilliant red, above whose centre shone with even greater brilliancy the snow-covered peaks of the Great Teton, dazzling in the clear atmosphere, with the reflected rays of the newly-risen sun.  The magnificence of this view elicited universal admiration, and the accompanying sketch fails to do justice to the theme, the artist confessing his inability to represent the gorgeous coloring.

From the summit of the spur we entered the valley and journeyed rapidly down it for five miles, when it became necessary to either cross to the opposite bank or again resort to the hills.  The rapidity of the current in the stream dictated the latter course, and we passed over two steep ridges, deriving material aid from several convenient ravines.  At this point in our march, one of our dragoon horses slipped and was badly snagged, the wound bleeding profusely.  By using cotton the blood was stanched and the gash then sewed up, but the animal was too much exhausted to proceed further, and we abandoned it temporarily.

We reached the river bank again at the foot of the high red bluff, over whose summit we had seen the peaks of the Teton in the morning.  We passed around it, along a narrow foot-path close to the waters edge and at the bottom of a lofty precipice.  Here another accident occurred.  Three of the pack-mules escaped from their drivers, and pushed up so high among the rocks that the men refused to follow them.  Two returned in safety, of their own accord, but the third lost its footing and fell down a vertical descent of over 50 feet, rolling into the river and swimming to the opposite shore.

Part of the pack came off at the foot of the precipice and was picked up, but the remainder was carried across, containing two bundles of bedding.  I immediately ordered the party to encamp, and one of the men succeeded in crossing the stream despite the rapid current.  He found the mule dead, but the pack unharmed save by water.  The rapidity of the current rendered some expedient necessary to bring the latter across, and a stone was thrown over with a twine attached, by which a rope was drawn to that bank and made fast to the pack.  The latter was then turned adrift and swung around to our side of the stream.  The man swam the current without apparent difficulty on his return.

We found also, on counting up at night, that one of our pack-horses was missing, thus adding another to the mishaps of the day.  The distance travelled has been 15 miles, and our course has borne westward.

Our camp is well located, and the river here is thirty yards wide, four feet deep, and has a current of five or six miles an hour.

Sunday, June 10.—We passed the day in camp, the rest being most welcome to all.   Both the injured dragoon-horse and the missing pack-horse were brought in at noon, and I am in hopes the former will be soon able to again do duty.  The day has been changeable, sunshine, rain and snow, alternating, and at evening the sky was clear, but clouded up before I could complete the observations I had commenced.

Monday, June 11.—We continued down Gros Ventre fork to-day, and, as we are upon the regular Indian trail, found excellent travelling.  For the first seven miles the road was rather hilly, crossing a succession of spurs running down to the rivers edge, but as we climbed the last we saw before us a wide, level valley, known as Jackson's Hole.  It extends up the river apparently to the main chain of mountains, and is bounded on the west by the Teton range, along whose foot the Snake river flows, and on the east by the spurs just crossed by us.  Its probable area is 100 square miles, and its surface was covered with luxuriant vegetation, the prevalent green being agreeably relieved by the bright yellow of a small variety of sun-flower that was singularly abundant.  Through this valley we rode rapidly, crossing Gros Ventre fork in its midst, and pushed down Snake river in search of a ford, Bridger declaring that we could find none above.

At the junction of the fork and the main stream we were forced to cross a bold butte, and after this we encamped upon (he river bank, our day's march having been 25 ½ miles, the extraordinary distance being explained by the excellence of the road and the weather.

While en route, Mr. Hutton reported that he had discovered a band of Indians watching us from the hills, and that when approached they fled rapidly.  This fact led me to conclude that they were Blackfeet, to whom we are supposed to be indebted for previous hostile visits.  I have no special fears from their neighborhood, as they will probably be greatly alarmed at the fact of their discovery, but as measures of precaution I ordered the train to close up, and have this evening doubled the guard.

After encamping, general search was made for a ford, but without success.  The Snake is here divided into innumerable channels, and its current has the rapidity of a torrent.  We discovered a band of Indians upon the opposite bank, and a party visited our camp, swimming their horses across the stream.  They proved to be Snakes, and confirmed our suspicions that the others seen to-day upon this side of the river were Blackfeet.  Our visitors were totally inoffensive in appearance and action, and after begging a few plugs of tobacco and gratifying their curiosity, returned.

Tuesday, June 12.—We moved camp this morning down the river for 2 ½ miles to the Indian crossing, hoping that it might prove available for our purposes.  Lance Corporal Lovett started to inspect the ford, and I asked him to go as far as he could, and report to me.  Lance Corporal Bradley followed him, and within twenty minutes Lovett came back with the startling news that Bradley was drowned.  All hands started for the rescue, but the thickness of the underbrush and swiftness of the current rendered any serviceable effort impossible, and, as it was ascertained he had been swept away at the swiftest part of the current, all hope was abandoned.  I sent men below to find the body, and also offered the Indians a reward for its recovery, but thus far all has been in vain.  The calamity is deplorable, but it is one of those sad accidents for which blame attaches to no one.

All attempts to find a ford have proved futile, but we have picked out a point, at which it is hoped that we may succeed in making use of a raft.  A party under charge of Mr. Hutton was, therefore, detailed to construct one, and completed it late in the afternoon.  We shall try the experiment with it to-morrow.

I spent most of the day with a single attendant exploring the river above Gros Ventre fork in search of a feasible crossing.  I drove up its bottom for some eight miles, finding it to be some forty feet lower than the plain we had traversed and composed of a black, vegetable mould, through which it would be impossible for the train to pass at this stage of the water, aside from the trouble they would subsequently encounter from the miry bottom of the stream.  After a ride of thirty miles, I returned to camp without accomplishing anything.  The river has now been examined for a distance of 25 miles along its bank without the discovery of any kind of a ford.

We have been again visited to-day with heavy showers.

Wednesday, June 13.—For the purpose of being near the spot at which the raft was to be tested, I this morning moved camp half a mile further down stream, halting the train in the edge of the timber.  We launched the raft and attempted to guide it by a rope to the shore, the current being too rapid to turn it adrift, but it even then behaved so badly that it was promptly pronounced a complete failure.

Before this, however, I had resolved to try Bridger's ingenuity, and had ordered him, with such men as could be spared, to construct a boat.  After the raft fiasco I found that he had made good progress, and I immediately put all hands at work upon this undertaking, the framework was of course easily constructed, but our great difficulty was to devise a covering, there being no skins in our possession, and our gutta-percha blankets, which were purchased in New York, being almost worthless. We were compelled to make use of them, however, protecting them by a lodge-skin of Bridger's, and to render them more completely impervious to water I had large quantities of resin gathered from the pine in the vicinity, and thickly coated them with this substance.  By night a very respectable boat was completed, rude in appearance, but promising to be serviceable.  Its length was 12 ½ and its beam 3 ½ feet, and it was remarkable for the fact that it was constructed entirely without nails or spikes, the framework being bound together with leather thongs and the covering fastened on by this common device of the traders of this section.

At the point at which we shall to-morrow attempt to cross there are three channels about 100 yards in width.  Through two of these a loaded horse can swim without difficulty, but in the third the current is far too deep and swift.  Between these channels we shall have to carry our packs by hand.

To-day, for the first time since coming among the mountains, we have not been visited by rain.

Thursday, June 14.—We launched our boat at 9 a. m. and were compelled to carry it for nearly a mile over sloughs and islands to a suitable point of starting.  It was then manned by four of our best swimmers and laden with a few goods, and thus succeeded in safely crossing the first channel.  A point was then selected at which the other two channels could be crossed simultaneously, but the crew of four were compelled to carry the boat and goods again for nearly half a mile.  They succeeded at last in reaching the other bank, and then carried the boat to a point above at which they could avoid the three channels and thus make the return trip at one crossing.  It was 5 o'clock, however, before they reached our side of the river again, and we were thus compelled to suspend further labor for the day, save preparations for an early start to-morrow.  The boat requires a crew of three men to manage her, and it will thus be necessary to load her lightly and make many trips.  I regret the delay, but it is unavoidable, and the fact that the river is apparently rising this evening is additionally discouraging.

Friday, June 15.—We this morning commenced systematic labor in crossing the river.  One detachment carried the goods from camp nearly a mile through marshes and among small channels to the point at which they were loaded in the boat.  In crossing, the frail craft would reach the opposite shore fully one quarter of a mile, by actual measurement, below.  She would then be carried by another party 700 paces up the stream and again launched, reaching our shore 200 paces below the point of original departure, and being carried up that distance by another detachment and reloaded for the next trip.

After these arrangements had been perfected and placed in working order, the round trip consumed but three-quarters of an hour, and we made 17 during the day.  As the current was so swift we were compelled to carry over everything in the boat, and the result is that many goods still remain upon the east shore this evening, as well as 15 of the party.  I hope to-morrow to complete the
work.  We have made several ineffectual attempts to-day to swim the herd across, but the moment they reach the swift current they put back, and thus far our efforts have been in vain, no one daring to venture to lead them.  This evening they are in charge of the sergeant of the guard.

Saturday, June 16.—We resumed operations this morning by getting the herd across the river.   They were driven to the three channels at which the boat first crossed, and Lance Corporal Lovett volunteered to lead them.   They were divided into two bands, and after great trouble were finally induced to follow him.  All at last reached the west bank in safety, although some swam or drifted fully a mile down stream.  After this the boat resumed her trips, notwithstanding the fact that the crew were so sore and sun burnt from their yesterday's exposure and efforts as to be almost incapacitated for further labor.

Ten trips were made, and all persons and effects ferried across save the odometer wheels, which I have decided to abandon, as the attempt to bring them across would be manifestly attended by too great risk.  Everything is greatly scattered and disordered and repacking will be a serious task, necessarily consuming much time.  The river at the point at which we have crossed it is 100 yards in width.  The boat has drifted in each trip one-quarter of a mile down stream, and yet, notwithstanding an eddy in the middle which has been improved by paddling up and across stream, the time consumed in each passage has been but two minutes.  From these facts I estimate the rapidity of the current here to be at least 10 miles per hour.

Sunday, June 17.—After our arduous week's work the rest of to-day has been most grateful.  The only work done was the gathering together of the packs and a few such preparations for the journey to-morrow.  Mr. Alexander, my foreman, attempted to bring the odometer wheels across on a raft, but failed, and was compelled to abandon them in the middle of the stream.

We were visited by Indians to-day, among whom was Cut-Nose, whom Bridger declares to be the hereditary chief of the Snakes.  I made him a small present, and from the others the men purchased some capital trout.

The day has been warm and mosquitoes very annoying.  Last night, however, there was a heavy frost, and yesterday a slight snow-storm, and the weather is thus well spiced with variety.

Our camp is now on the right or west bank of Lewis or Snake river and about 10 miles southeast of the highest of the Tetons, the most noted landmarks in this region.  They are basaltic peaks, rising not less than 5,000 feet above the level plain of Jackson's Hole, and are visible from a great distance in all directions.  Our route out of this valley will be to the westward and across the mountain chain of which they form a part, and which forms the western boundary of the valley we are now in.

Monday, June 18.—The straying of some of the herd prevented an early start, but by 8 o'clock we were in motion, marching due westward towards the mountains and crossing a fine stream about one and one-half mile from camp.  In ascending the Teton range we took advantage of the valley of a mountain stream flowing down its side, following a narrow bridle-path, skirting the foot of a precipice upon one hand and the bank of the dashing brook upon the other.  Towards the last the slope became quite steep, but the road was far from bad for a pack-train.  We passed across the summit of the range without difficulty, but upon coming to the western slope found our descent seriously obstructed by immense snow-banks, completely blocking up the Indian trail which we were following.

We had previously seen a number of these, but had succeeded in avoiding them.  It seemed to be indispensable that we should do so in this case, and we therefore climbed a spur some 200 feet higher, passed over it and picked out a path along the mountain side until we had descended below the snow region.  At some points the difficulties encountered were very great, and at one time in the descent the safety of those ahead was seriously endangered by rolling stones loosened by those in the rear.  This pass is probably a capital one when not obstructed by snow, but it was with the greatest difficulty that we found our
way through.  Its summit is seven miles distant from the river and 1,900 feet above it.  On the west side we descended 1,000 feet, vertical measurement, in a distance of less than two miles.  On the summit I noticed a pine tree bearing this inscription : "J.M., July 7th, 1832; and July II, 1833."

After passing over the steepest part of the descent we entered the valley of a small stream, much more gradual in its downward slope, and after a further advance of about eight miles encamped upon its banks on the edge of Pierre's Hole, the length of the day's march being by estimate 18 miles.  Among the pine through which we passed today I noticed some splendid trees fully four feet in diameter.  The larger part, however, are about of telegraph-pole size.

Tuesday, June 19.—Our course to-day has borne nearly due north, passing down through Pierre's Hole, which almost deserves the extravagant praise bestowed upon it by Bridger, who declares it to be the finest valley in the world.   It is between 20 and 24 miles in length, and seven or eight in width ; its gently undulating surface being covered with vegetation of the greatest luxuriance, and carpeted with innumerable flowers of brilliant hue and the richest variety.  It is bounded upon all sides by snow-capped peaks, while through its centre flows a fine stream fed by many branches finding their sources in the neighboring mountains.

The latter, whose banks are uniformly muddy, have retarded our progress somewhat, but we have advanced very rapidly, and encamped at 10'o'clock, after a march of between 17 and 18 miles.  The Tetons have shown off finely upon our right to-day, and in front and to the left of our course a lofty, snow-clad peak is visible, which Bridger declares to be at the head of the middle fork of the Jefferson.  We are seeking the head of the Madison, and at present there are no obstacles in sight threatening to intercept our route.  Notwithstanding the beauty and fertility of the valley we have seen no game, squirrels being the largest animals that have crossed our path, while of birds only a few curlew and others of the smaller varieties have been visible.  These circumstances are to be regretted, as with our limited stock of provisions a constant supply of fresh meat is very desirable.

Wednesday, June 20.—This morning we left the charming valley of Pierre's Hole, and continued our march northward over an open, rolling country, the hills varying from 100 to 200 feet in altitude, and occasionally sloping steeply to the banks of small streams, now greatly swollen and difficult to cross for this reason.  A marked peculiarity of these hills is the decaying trunks of aspens scattered about, showing that at no remote day they were covered with this tree.

The soil is uniformly good, and a fine growth of grass prevails everywhere.  About 10 o'clock we passed a fine stream and an excellent camping ground, but as I was anxious to get ahead as rapidly as possible, I decided not to halt, but to push on for an hour or two longer.  On ascending the next hill we found a thick growth of pines and aspens, with dead timber lying in all directions.

Bridger and myself pushed our way carefully in advance among these obstructions, passed over the ridge, and thence down by a steep descent into the valley of a large stream, which Bridger declared to be Henry's fork, confessing that he had entirely mistaken his locality, and that he was greatly surprised at finding this formidable river here.

As it constituted an insuperable barrier to our immediate progress, I ordered the train to return to the camping ground passed early in the afternoon and halt there for the night.  With the guide I commenced a thorough examination of the stream; we found it apparently too deep to ford, flowing between high banks and with a swift current.   We went down its valley and attempted to find fords at a number of points, but unsuccessfully.   I at last left Bridger to continue explorations, and crossed over the hills to camp and ordered the men to immediately commence the construction of another boat.

By night its framework was finished and ready to be carried to the river bank early in the morning.  Bridger returned and reported having found an excellent place for crossing the stream by boat, with a good camping ground upon both banks.  The pack-master and one of the men whom I had sent up stream in search of a ford came back after an unsuccessful trip.

The day has been chilly, rendering overcoats not only comfortable but necessary, and this afternoon a hail-storm, accompanied by a squall that blew down our tents, visited us and left the atmosphere even colder than before.

Thursday, June 21.—We made a very early start this morning and reached the river bank at 7 a. m , after a march of three miles.  We commenced putting the boat together and had half completed the work, when one of the men whom I had sent below returned with the announcement that he had found a ford that was practicable for our larger animals.   We immediately availed ourselves of this discovery, and by making two trips with our more powerful beasts, carried everything across and encamped upon the opposite bank, the day being far advanced and Bridger desiring to reconnoitre the country ahead.  After a long absence he returned and stated that some thick pines would constitute the only serious obstacle to our progress that need be immediately dreaded.  As the herd is in excellent condition, and the roads promise well, I still hope to fulfil [sic] my engagement with Lieutenant Maynadier and reach the Three Forks of the Missouri by the last of the month.

Friday, June 22.—We left the bank of Henry's fork this morning, passing directly over the hills, our course being about north-northwest.  The country traversed differs but little from that through which we passed day before yesterday, save that the aspens and pines have increased in thickness and threaten to become impenetrable.  The fallen timber also forms a serious obstacle, and I greatly feared (though in this I was agreeably disappointed) that we should lose some of our animals by snagging.  The services of a pioneer party, to both clear and "blaze" the way, were needed throughout the entire march.

Early in the day we passed a large stream which Bridger declared to be Spring fork.  Some distance further on we reached a second, about 40 yards in width, which he hesitatingly pronounced to be Lake fork, and up the valley of the latter we determined to go, preferring this course to further continuing among the timber.  After about three miles advance, however, we came to the "spring," showing that Bridger had been mistaken, and that this was Spring fork.  The “spring" is the largest I have ever heard of, and furnishes two-thirds of the volume of water in the stream, bursting forth from the hillside and reaching the main channel by a beautiful waterfall of over 30 feet in height.  This feature of the country is not easily to be forgotten, and is famous all through this region.

We continued up a small branch of this fork for two or three miles above the spring, when the valley becoming too narrow we left it and entered an open marshy spot among the pines, upon which we encamped, as it afforded sufficient grass (though of a poor quality) for our animals.  The mosquitoes have been very troublesome during the day, but the night was so cold that not only did their persecutions cease, but ice formed in our buckets to the thickness of a quarter of an inch.

This afternoon our hunter killed a large bear, giving us thus our first taste of fresh meat for nearly a week.  The camas plant also abounds in this vicinity, and it has been today gathered and cooked, adding the vegetable element to our bill of fare.  The camas is a bulbous plant that bears a beautiful blue flower.  Its bulbs, which alone are edible, are from a half to a single inch in diameter, resemble onions save in their peculiar flavor, and apparently contain a large proportion of glutinous matter.

A fine comet is this evening visible in the heavens.

Saturday, June 23.—We started this morning with the determination of pushing ahead until we should emerge from the woods that now surround us.  We have been journeying between the Spring and Lake forks of Henry's river, and found our road obstructed by stunted pines, fallen and decaying trees, a series of low marshes, and occasionally by sharp basaltic rocks.  Our progress was thus necessarily slow and laborious, save when we were enabled to assist ourselves by a deserted Indian trail which was occasionally available.

After much of this hard travelling we at length reached an open prairie of firm basaltic gravel, over which we marched rapidly for more than an hour, passing through one or two marshes caused by small tributaries of the river and populated by myriads of mosquitoes that annoyed us immeasurably.  From this we were compelled to again enter the pines, but soon succeeded in finding the trail, and by following it ultimately reached the bank of Lake fork itself.  We found this stream to be here 100 yards wide, three feet deep, and with a current of two miles per hour.  We crossed it without difficulty and encamped in a clear space upon its right bank, some ten feet above the water.

Game has been abundant to-day, and we have seen two large herds of elk.  The hunter has also killed two deer and an antelope.  Bridger says that we are now through the timber, and that there is nothing to further delay our progress to the Three Forks.  Our latitude to-night is 44° 30', a distance of about 25 miles from the point at which the divide is placed on the maps.

Sunday, June 24.—We have passed the day quietly in camp, holding the usual service.  The morning was warm and pleasant, but it has rained all the afternoon, and this evening the temperature is much cooler.

Monday, June 25.—We started this morning in a northeasterly direction for the Madison, our route running through a strip of woods of about a mile in width, and then emerging into an open and almost level prairie, in which is located Henry's lake.  At first we found the travelling quite marshy, but soon reached firm ground and advanced with unusual rapidity.  The prairie was beautiful with its luxuriant growth of young grass, and bands of antelope were scattered about us on all sides, three or four being killed in the course of the march.

About ten miles from camp we re-crossed Lake fork, which is here a rapid stream, 25 yards wide and three feet deep, flowing between muddy banks, and then passed to the east of Henry's lake, being obliged to keep some distance from its immediate banks on account of their swampy nature, and thus skirting the foot of the mountain sides.  The lake is from three to four miles in length, and after leaving its head we commenced ascending the gradual slope of the neighboring pass over the Rocky mountains.  As we approached its summit I put spurs to my horse and galloped ahead over the boundary line and into Nebraska.

The pass is only four miles from, and 200 feet above the lake, and so level that it is difficult to locate the exact point at which the waters divide.  It is about a mile in width, with the sides sloping gently to the centre.  The barometer stood at 23.65 inches, indicating a height of 6,350 feet above the sea level, or 1,500 feet lower than the summit of the South pass.  The approaches upon either side are remarkable, being of about a uniform ascent of 50 feet to the mile, and thus affording unequalled facilities for either wagon road or railroad purposes.  I named it Low pass, and deem it to be one of the most remarkable and important features of the topography of the Rocky mountains.

After passing over the mountain we marched about ten miles and reached the banks of the Madison below the cañon.  We found this river to be here about 80 yards in width, flowing very rapidly over a bed of huge boulders, and presenting insuperable obstacles to our crossing it at this point; we accordingly encamped after an unusually long march.  During the day I find that by observations we have made a northing of 20'.  We have seen one band of buffalo among the hills, and hope to soon be surrounded again by this species of game.  Appearances now favor our reaching the Three Forks by the last of the week, and if Lieutenant Maynadier is prompt, I shall start for the Eclipse on Monday next. -

After crossing Lake fork. Mr. Hutton, Dr. Hayden, and two attendants turned to the east and visited the pass over the mountains, leading into the Burnt Hole valley.  They found the summit distant only about five miles from our route, and report the pass as in all respects equal to that through which the train had gone.  From it they could see a second pass upon the other side of the valley, which Bridger states to lead to the Gallatin.  He also says that between that point and the Yellowstone there are no mountains to be crossed ; and if this is true, these passes unquestionably offer the best route for a continental railroad.  From them to the westward, there is an easy road over Camas Prairie and thence down to Lewis fork.

We narrowly avoided a serious casualty to-day, the carbine of one of the escort being accidentally discharged while lying across his saddle; the contents fortunately missed any of the party, but seriously wounded one of the dragoon horses.  I am in hopes, however, of being able to save the animal's life.

Tuesday, June 26.—One of the men this morning accidentally shot himself while wiping out a loaded gun; a part of the iron ramrod struck him near the left nipple, passed through the fleshy part of the breast, hit and glanced off from the shoulder-bone, and emerged a little below the point of the right shoulder.  It was at first feared that the wound was mortal, and I ordered back the herd which was at the time being driven up for the start.  A careful surgical examination, however, revealed the fact that it was only a flesh wound, and after it had been dressed I gave the order for the march.  A litter was at first prepared for the injured man, but a travais being recommended, that was ultimately tried.

By 10 o'clock we were under motion passing down the valley of the Madison, which is at this point from one to two miles wide, and consisting of three distinctly defined terraces, nearly level but with precipitous sides.  Occasionally these run together, rendering some steep climbing necessary, but aside from this the travelling was excellent.  After a march of about six miles it was found that the wounded man was growing worse, and a halt was ordered for the day.  I have had a horse litter prepared for him for to-morrow, and trust that this will prove a relief.

Wednesday, June 27. – We encamped last night at the junction of the Madison and Rosse's fork, and this morning were compelled to retrace our steps for a short distance to reach the Indian trail that led to a ford through the latter stream.  We crossed it after descending steep banks, and then passed on down the Madison.  For ten miles the terrace formation continued, necessitating the occasional passage up and down of steep slopes, but at this distance the trail we were following ran along the precipitous side of a hill some 300 feet in height; it thence passed down to a narrow bottom and around the base of a huge bluff, whose frowning crags overhung a narrow path along the edge of the river.  After this it again ascended to the summit of the hill, where we found ourselves upon a broad and level plain, over which we travelled rapidly, being in one or two instances compelled to descend to the river bank and again scale the hillside.  Towards the latter part of the day it was difficult to find a good camping ground, and it was only after a march of 25 miles that we were able to obtain a suitable location.  Even here only driftwood and a few willows furnished us a scanty supply of fuel.  Our injured man has fared finely to-day, and the horse litter has answered its purpose perfectly.  Three antelopes have been shot during the march, and we are thus abundantly provided with fresh meat; our other supplies are giving out, however.  Some small snow banks have been seen, affording evidence of the great depth of the fall in this region last winter.

The face of the country has changed greatly, and is rapidly assuming the appearance of the Missouri near Fort Pierre and below.  The rugged mountains are receding, and their places are being taken by rounded and barren hills.  The valley is also almost destitute of wood, and the grass is becoming brown and scarce.  The banks of the numerous small streams emptying into the river are skirted with a narrow figure of willows, alders, and aspens, and the valley thus presents the appearance of a farm divided into lots by hedges.  It is needless to add that the prospect is far less inviting.

Thursday, June 28.—We continued our course down the Madison, following the river bottom for the first six miles, and crossing in our route a large number of sloughs and miry streams.  For most of the distance the river was fringed by a low and narrow growth of cottonwoods and willows.  At one point a couple of buffaloes were discovered on the opposite bank, which became alarmed at our appearance, dashed headlong down stream, crossed it ahead of the train, and climbed the hill just in time to meet our hunter, who killed one, thus providing us with the first buffalo meat of the season.

After leaving the bottom we followed the first plateau, finding the travelling somewhat improved.  Our route diverged slightly from the course of the river which here bears off to the right, entering a cañon through a range of broken hills crossing the valley.  We pushed on to this transverse range and encamped at the foot of its slopes on the banks of a stream taking its rise in the mountains and emptying into the Madison at a distance of about four miles.  The ground in its immediate vicinity was marshy, but the location of our camp on the hillside is perfectly dry.  The distance of the day's march was 18 miles.

This range of hills makes the valley down which we have been travelling a "hole," resembling, but larger than, Pierre's or Jackson's holes already passed.  It has steadily widened as we have descended the river, and at last night's camp its breadth was at least 15 miles.  The surrounding mountains are rugged, and in many instances covered with snow.  They slope steeply to the plateau upon which we have been advancing, and thence descend by irregular steps to the river bank.  All the terraces of which the valley is constituted are now covered with a luxuriant growth of bunch grass, affording at this season pasturage of the finest quality and great extent.  Antelopes have been visible in large numbers upon all sides.

Friday, June 29.—To-day we have climbed the hills that last night intercepted our path.  The summit of the first ridge was reached by a long and easy slope of about five miles.  We then descended into an interlying valley forming the bed of a small stream, and after a not very difficult march of 10 or 12 miles, scaled the summit of a second ridge from which we obtained our first view of the three forks of the Missouri.  A march of five miles further brought us to the edge of the level plain in which the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin effect their junction, and as there was no available camping ground to be found we pushed on until, at 5 p. m., we reached the Madison again, having travelled the very unusual distance during the day of 35 miles.  We then encamped, finding but little timber in our vicinity, although considerable is seen on the banks of the Jefferson, and some on those of the Madison, chiefly on the sides next [to] the bluffs.

The valley at this point is wide and inclined to marshiness.  The Madison flows in a winding channel, badly cut up by islands and sloughs, and as the barometer indicates a fall of 1,000 feet since we left it last night it must be a continuous rapid through the cañon, or a succession of cascades.  Bridger, however, denies the existence of any perpendicular fall, and I am inclined to regret not having explored it throughout its entire length, if it had been possible.

There are no signs of the arrival of Lieutenant Maynadier, and I fear that he will not reach here in time to enable me to undertake my northern trip to visit the line of the total eclipse on the 18th proximo.  Rain and thick clouds presented observations at night.

Saturday, June 30.—Our energies have been to-day devoted to preparations for crossing the rivers.  Early in the morning a small party was sent up the Jefferson in search of a ford while, with Dr. Hayden, I rode over to the same stream and thence down to its point of union with the Madison in pursuit of a better camping ground, and a feasible point of crossing.  Meanwhile the others of the expedition were employed in the manufacture of another boat, which it was evident we should need to communicate with Lieutenant Maynadier, if for no other purpose.  I found an excellent camping ground 400 yards above the junction of the two rivers on a narrow neck, only 37 paces in width, while those exploring the Jefferson reported that they had discovered a ford practicable for the animals but not for the packs.

I therefore determined to move camp to the selected spot, complete there the boat of which I found the frame nearly constructed, by it convey the goods and supplies across, and send the animals around by the ford.  A severe rain storm delayed us somewhat, but after it was over we moved camp and consumed the rest of the day in finishing the boat.

Observations for latitude locate us at 45° 55', some distance north of Lewis and Clark's calculations, but corresponding with the position of the Three Forks in Lieutenant Warren's map.

The valley of the Three Forks has been most accurately depicted by Lewis and Clark.  I ascended to-day a hill in the vicinity of our morning's camp, and compared the details of their journal with the scene before me.  Their description was verified in every respect, even to the point they specified as suitable for a fortification.  With their judgment in this respect, however, I must differ, as the location is commanded by higher hills and any work thereon could be easily carried by a suitably armed force.  If, however, it should be only intended to defend the cañon, which the Missouri enters just below, it would perfectly meet that requirement.

Sunday, July 1.—The day has been passed quietly in camp.  One of the men this morning swam the Jefferson and reported that we were encamped upon simply one channel of the river, a large island intervening, and two others equally formidable will have also to be crossed before we shall reach the opposite bank.  This fact, together with the non-arrival of Lieutenant Maynadier, has decided me to cross the Madison and Gallatin, instead of the Jefferson, and go down to Fort Benton by the east bank of the Missouri.  If the other detachment shall not arrive before we have completed our crossing we can advance towards the Yellowstone until we meet them, and thence push to Fort Benton.  By this course we shall save them the trouble of crossing to the Three Forks, and will also explore a country less familiar than that to the west of the Missouri.  We observed this evening lunar distances for longitude, but the moon was so low that they were not very valuable.

The day has been warm and the musquitoes [sic] exceedingly troublesome.

Monday, July 2.—In accordance with my new plan adopted yesterday, all hands were set at work upon the boat this morning, that it might be immediately completed for the crossing of the Madison and Gallatin.  Both these rivers were crossed by swimming by the same man that crossed the Jefferson, and on his return he reported that we should probably be able to ford the Gallatin.  At 2 p. m. the boat was launched, and worked admirably, so that by 7 ½ p. m. all our goods and the entire party had been safely landed upon the eastern bank of the Madison.  The animals swam the current without difficulty, following one of the horses led by the boat.

Tuesday, July 3.—The ford of the Gallatin being pronounced practicable upon further examination this morning, we started at 9 ½ a. m. and crossed it at a point at which it was separated into two channels.  In the first of these the water was four feet deep and the current very rapid.  The second was not even three feet in depth.  The crossing was effected without much trouble, and we emerged about half a mile above the mouth of the Gallatin.  We at once scaled the bluff and started up the river, heading almost due east.

After a march of about three miles we came upon the hunter of Lieutenant Maynadier's party, who reported the main body to be but five or six miles distant and coming towards us.  We rode on and met them as they were commencing to cross the Gallatin to the bank which we had left.  This was stopped immediately, and both parties encamped on the north bank upon a small plateau at the foot of a high bluff, at a distance of 6 ¼ miles from the Three Forks.

Lieutenant Maynadier reports that he experienced great difficulty in crossing some of the streams in his route; that he was compelled to abandon all his wagons and carts, and that at the Stinking Fork of the Big Horn he lost a large number of his instruments and many of his notes by the sweeping away by the current of the wagon in which they were carried.

I regret this exceedingly, as it will render it almost impossible for us to hereafter make such observations as will be necessary to fix our positions.  The report of Lieutenant Maynadier accompanies this.

Observations for longitude by lunar distance were attempted again this evening, but also proved unsatisfactory for the reason that the moon was so low, though nearly on the meridian.

Wednesday, July 4.—The day was spent in camp by the entire expedition, the lack of means limiting our demonstrative ebullitions of patriotism to the burning of a little extra gunpowder.  Our labors were confined to preparations for another division of the party, as from this point I shall go northward to Fort Benton, while Lieutenant Maynadier will push down the Yellowstone to Fort Union.  The contemplated trip to the remote north into the line of the total eclipse, (north of latitude 52°,) on the 18th instant, I am reluctantly compelled to abandon.

There now remain but 13 days in which I could travel, while the distance is 500 miles.  It would thus require average journeys of 38 miles per diem, which, considering the nature of the unexplored wilderness through which we should be compelled to pass, is manifestly impossible.  Had Lieutenant Maynadier succeeded in rejoining me by the last of June, I should have attempted to comply with the request of the department, but unforeseen obstacles have delayed him four days beyond the appointed time, and as I did not feel justified in leaving the party until assured of his safety, this plan must be from necessity relinquished.

On leaving Deer creek (winter quarters) I had simply procured a three-months' supply of short rations; one pound of flour and six ounces of bacon, with coffee and sugar, per diem for each man.  A considerable percentage of this had wasted by the sifting of the flour through the sacks and the trying of the bacon under the sun's rays during the marches.  Game has therefore been indispensable to the subsistence of the expedition, and the question of supplies is thus attended with serious embarrassments.

During the day I have taken a careful account of the stock on hand, and after issuing to my own party a short allowance for fifteen days for the trip to Fort Benton, the balance has been turned over to Lieutenant Maynadier, who thinks that with the buffalo he will surely find on the Yellowstone, he is thus sufficiently provided for his journey to Fort Union.  I hope to find further supplies for my party at Fort Benton, but if not we shall be compelled to rely upon game on the trip from that post to Fort Union.

Lieutenant Mullins will accompany me, and my present intention is, after leaving Fort Benton, to continue our explorations by both land and river parties, putting Lieutenant Mullins in command of the former, with instructions to follow the divide between the Missouri and the Yellowstone, while with the latter I shall descend the Missouri itself.  The early evening was marked by a beautiful aurora borealis, followed by thick clouds, which prevented observations.

Thursday, July 5.—We left camp this morning before Lieutenant Maynadier, advancing a little distance up the Gallatin, but bearing off to the left over the hills in a northeasterly course.  On reaching the summit of the first ridge the beautiful valley of the Three Forks was spread out before us.  The Jefferson could be seen in the western distance, while the Madison was visible to the cañon, and we could trace the course of the Gallatin apparently almost to its sources.  In the lofty mountains upon the east the marked depression of Clark's Pass was especially noticeable, and through its vista could be discerned the distant peaks of the ranges beyond the Yellowstone.  The landscape was also rendered additionally charming by the serenity of the weather and the freshness of the vegetation.

Our route bore over a series of spurs, with the dry beds of streams tending towards the Gallatin interlying; and we continued to rapidly ascend, the hills being destitute of timber, and out-cropping lime rock constituting their main feature.  After a march of 15 miles we reached the summit of the divide between the Little Green (which Bridger describes as emptying into the Missouri about 30 miles below the Three Forks) and the Gallatin.  We descended into the valley of a tributary of the former, and five miles further on came to that stream itself, ascended it for some two miles, and then encamped after a march (estimated) of 22 miles.

The Little Green is a beautiful mountain brook, 20 feet in width and 18 inches in depth, flowing through a narrow valley bounded by high and steep bluffs, whose surface is covered with fresh grass, jagged rocks, and occasional pines.  The course of the stream is nearly south, heading towards a lofty spur, through a cañon in which it passes, but after this it must turn to the northward if Bridger is correct in his location of the point at which it enters into the Missouri.

The day has been the first of the season that has been disagreeably warm and oppressive throughout.

Friday, July 6.—Our course continued up the Little Green river this morning, the forks of which we reached after a march of about a mile.  Crossing a high table-land lying between the two streams that form the river, we continued up the more northerly one for some nine miles, (he narrowness of the valley compelling us to repeatedly cross the fork.  After reaching this point we were compelled to climb the steep sides of a lofty spur through which the stream passed in a cañon.  Its height was from 800 to 1,000 feet, and we found both its ascent and descent to be very difficult; in the latter case the travelling being obstructed by a succession of rugged ravines, the sides of the gorges covered with pine and large ledges of outcropping rock.  We found, however, a narrow footpath that, with some trouble, we followed to the valley again, and up this we advanced for another mile.  The stream then bore off to the right, whereupon we abandoned it, and crossing over a second spur came out upon the open prairie, with the head of Smith's river in sight, and the Belt mountains filling the northern horizon.  We crossed two small tributaries of the Little Green river, and encamped upon the second amid a grove of willows and aspens, which have furnished our night's supply of fuel.  The distance accomplished in the march has been 14 miles, but the travelling has been as bad as any this season except the descent of the Tetons and our march through the pines on Henry's river.

Clouds were gathering threateningly as we halted, and by the time our tents were up the rain was falling in torrents, continuing till after nightfall and followed by a slight drizzle.  The weather has been raw and chilly, and thus in disagreeable contrast with yesterday's warmth.

Saturday, July 7.—The direction of our march this morning was still northward over a high rolling prairie, crossed by several small tributaries of the Little Green.  No timber was seen upon the banks of any of these—a fact which proves the fortunate wisdom of our selection of a camp last evening.
Upon the open prairie our view was unusually extensive.  Through a gap at our left the mountains west of the Missouri were plainly visible.  In the southeast could be seen the snow-covered peaks of the broken range in which the Muscleshell [sic] and Twenty-five Yards rivers take their rise, while the course of the former could be traced for miles along the eastern horizon.  Far in the south we could dimly see the mountains beyond the Yellowstone, while stretching directly from east to west ahead of us were the pine-covered ridges of the Belt mountains, a poorly defined gap marking the location of the cañon of Smith's river.

A march of about 10 miles over a series of prairie hills brought us to the summit of the divide, from which we looked down upon Smith's river.  This stream was flowing through a wide, open valley, and its banks were wholly destitute of timber.

I determined to follow down its valley to the plains of the Missouri, and we therefore changed our course to the north-northwest, and headed towards the cañon in the Belt mountains.  After a march of 10 miles we reached the banks of the river, and found it to be from 30 to 40 feet in width and 18 inches in depth, flowing over a gravelly bottom.  The valley was, however, so marshy that we were frequently compelled to cross the stream, and generally keep at a considerable distance from its immediate banks.

After a march of five miles we crossed a small spur through which the river cañons, and finding there some half a dozen dry cottonwoods that would answer for fuel we encamped upon a level, gravelly plateau, 30 feet above the water.  The grass along our route has been both excellent and abundant, and would at this season furnish grazing for enormous numbers of cattle.  Antelope and deer are the only game found, however, save a bear which was this morning started by the train and shot by Lieutenant Mullins.

The surrounding hills are covered with scattered pines and cedars, and other evergreens grow down to the very edges of the valley.  The summits of the more lofty of the adjacent mountains are still covered with snow.  An Indian trail was crossed directly after entering the valley this afternoon, and it was plainly that of a large band with lodges, and also fresh.  The probable destination of the savages was Fort Benton.

Observations at night were decidedly marred by obscuring clouds.

Sunday, July 8.—The day was passed in camp, with religious services at the usual hour.  The weather has been delightfully cool, and we have also enjoyed a relief from the persecutions of the mosquitoes.  Some fine trout were caught in the river by members of the party, aiding us in eking out our scanty stock of provisions.  I now hope to reach Fort Benton by the last of the present week, and there obtain fresh supplies.

Monday, July 9.—We still continued down Smith's river, heading to the northwest.  The stream soon turned off in a bend to the left, and we passed over an open prairie, reaching the valley again after a march of ten miles.  A spur of the mountains was then crossed, and we came to a branch of the stream, beyond which the river itself bore off to the west towards a cañon in the hills.  We selected a route more to the northward and passed over a series of high prairie hills, reaching another branch of the river upon which we encamped after a march of 20 miles.  Throughout the day we followed the Indian trail that we found yesterday, and supposed that it would lead us directly to Fort Benton.  Bridger reconnoitered ahead this afternoon for some miles, however, and reports that it shortly strikes off towards the Muscleshell [sic] or returns up Smith's river.  From this point we shall therefore be compelled to pick our own way out of the Belt mountains, but fortunately they do not present any very serious obstacles, being little more than prairie hills, occasionally covered with pines and out-cropping rocks.  The only obstructions that are to be dreaded are the cañons that we may possibly encounter.
The grass through which we have passed to-day has been unequalled in luxuriance and richness, surpassing the fertile meadows of eastern farms.  Its stalks average fully 18 inches in height, and branch at the top after the fashion of oats.  Our animals are thriving freely upon the glorious pasturage.  Some changes in the features of the country are noticeable, the rocks being now metamorphic, while yellow pine has for the first time made its appearance.  A cold rain annoyed us during the latter portion of our march, but the afternoon as been beautiful and clear.

Tuesday, July 10.—Our route led this morning nearly due west for the first five miles, passing over high grassy hills, and then turned sharply to the northwest to avoid some rugged, rocky mountains that threatened serious obstructions to travelling.  A large number of deep gullies embarrassed our progress now, and to this difficulty was soon superadded thick pines and fallen timber.  After the severest toil, greatly exhausting our animals, we reached a clear space upon the summit of a high ridge, and found the continuance of our journey in its present direction forbidden by a series of ravines that were plainly impracticable.  We therefore turned again to the west, and descending into the valley of Smith's river, which was about 1,000 feet below us and distant about two miles.  The slope was gradual, however, and travelling again unattended with such severe labor, and upon reaching the valley we found an old Indian trail, marked at one point by two large heaps of stones.  This was of course a favorable indication of a good road before us, and following this road we pushed on the river's edge, crossed the stream, and entered a small and beautiful prairie.  The left bank was at this point formed by a bold and perpendicular limestone bluff, 300 feet in height, colored in places the most brilliant red, and forming a romantic and striking contrast with the dark hues of the surrounding evergreens.

These features of the landscape and the fertility of the natural meadow through which we were passing, rendered the spot charmingly delightful in all respects.  The trail served our purposes well, being old but easily followed, and we advanced rapidly down the river crossing its bed three times, and keeping mainly in the narrow prairie upon its west side, the bold formation of the opposite bank continuing.  After a march of three miles in this fashion, we found that the river turned to the right and passed through a narrow cañon, and we followed the trail in a narrow ravine up a rugged and steep ascent to the summit of the high spur, which occasioned the cañon.   We found that on reaching this point we had left the pine region, and before us lay only high prairie hills, over which we passed rapidly, and encamped six miles further on, upon a small tributary of Smith's river.  The stream enters the hills a short distance from this location, and the pines in the gorge furnish the only fuel in the vicinity.

The timber passed through to-day has been chiefly yellow pine and spruce.  The rock has been mainly limestone, although one specimen was picked up, which was supposed to be cinnabar, the first ore yet found.  Strawberry vines, with ripe fruit, have abounded along the line of our march.  The trail that has aided us so greatly merits brief mention.  It is plainly old and abandoned, but must formerly have been a great thoroughfare.  It was originally very skilfully [sic] located, and in some spots has been artificially improved at the cost of considerable labor.  It still affords excellent travelling, save in a few spots in which it has been impaired by natural causes, operating through a considerable period of time.

Wednesday, July 11th.—On leaving camp this morning we climbed to the summit of the high grass-covered hill before us, the ascent being about 1.000 feet, and on reaching its ridge were rewarded with a prospect of great magnificence.  The rugged range of the Belt mountains through which we had just passed filled the horizon behind us.  In the remote distance upon our left could be dimly seen the glistening snow upon the loftier peaks of the Rocky mountains, while upon the right the view was limited by the ridges along Highwood creek.  Before us lay the valley of the Missouri, its varied features enhanced by the clear atmosphere of a summers' morning.  The absolute solitude of the scene added to the striking effect its unaided grandeur would have produced.

We effected a descent from the ridge by a convenient valley and drove rapidly towards Smith's river, which we reached after a march of nearly 10 miles, finding it to be here about 50 yards in width and 2 ½ feet in depth.  After crossing we descended its valley for half a mile, but finding the ground marshy, we at length, after two more crossings, ascended the hills upon its left bank and pushed to the north.  We passed over a number of streams that afforded abundance of water, but could nowhere find sufficient timber to meet the requirements of a camping ground.  After a march in all of [a] full 30 miles, the Missouri came in sight upon our left, and turning sharply we marched five miles further, encamping upon its right bank under a high bluff, about three miles above the upper terminus of Lewis and Clark's portage.  The valley of Smith's river, of which such frequent mention has been made in my journal for the past few days, is one of the finest upon the continent.  It is very narrow, being barely half a mile in width, but the bottom and the adjacent hill-sides are covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, while the immediate banks of the river are fringed with considerable timber.  At night I was successful in obtaining observations.

Thursday, July 12.—As we were now but a short distance from the great falls of the Missouri, I determined to visit them, and, having ordered the train to push over the hills and encamp on Willow creek, I started down the river bank accompanied by Lieutenant Mullins, Dr. Hayden, Mr. Schonborn, and two attendants.  The river above the falls flows placidly between grassy hills, rising gently as they recede, and its surface is occasionally broken by wooded islands of much romantic beauty.  At the distance of three miles from camp we came to the mouth of Flattery run and White Bear island, the upper terminus of the Portage.  Three miles further on, our route still continuing amid exquisite scenery, we reached a spot upon the bank opposite the mouth of Sun or Medicine river.  This stream is about one-half the width of the Missouri at the point of junction, and flows through a wide and beautiful valley.  By the aid of our classes we endeavored to see the Indian agency or mission station upon its banks, but although 10 or 15 miles of country were visible, nothing that could be identified as the buildings in question could be seen.  Just below this point the falls begin, and we commenced their descent.  In 1804-'5-'6, Lewis and Clark, in their extraordinary journey across the continent, passed up by these falls, being the first whites by whom they were ever visited.  Their description is remarkable for its vividness and accuracy, and as I passed down I compared it point by point with the scene before me, verifying it in every essential respect.  I can do no better than to republish here extracts from their journal. Under date of Thursday, June 13, 1805, their diary thus describes the ascent of the river.

Finding that the river here bore considerably to the south, and fearful of passing the falls before reaching the Rocky mountains, they now changed their course to the south, and leaving those insulated hills to the right proceeded across the plain   In this direction Captain Lewis had gone about two miles when his ears were saluted with the agreeable sound of a fall of water, and as he advanced a spray which seemed driven by the high southwest wind arose above the plain like a column of smoke and vanished in an instant.  Towards this point he directed his steps, and the noise increasing as he approached, soon became too tremendous to be mistaken for anything but the great falls of the Missouri   Having travelled seven miles after first hearing the sound, he reached the falls about 12 o'clock.  The hills as he approached were difficult of access and 200 feet high.  Down these he hurried with impatience, and seating himself on some rocks under the centre of the falls, enjoyed the sublime spectacle of this stupendous object, which since the creation had been lavishing its magnificence upon the desert, unknown to civilization. * * The river immediately at its cascade is 300 yards wide, and is pressed in by a perpendicular cliff on the left, which rises to about 100 feet and extends up the stream for a mile: on the right the bluff is also perpendicular for 300 yards above the falls.   For 90 or a 100 yards from the left cliff, the water falls in one smooth even sheet, over a precipice of at least 80 feet.  The remaining part of the river precipitates itself with a more rapid current, but being received as it falls by the irregular and somewhat projecting rocks below, forms a splended [sic] prospect of perfectly white foam 200 yards in length and 80 in perpendicular elevation.

[Transcriber's Note: The following has been broken up into paragraphs to improve its readability]

This spray is dissipated into a thousand shapes, sometimes flying up in columns of 15 or 20 feet, which are then oppressed by larger masses of the white foam, on all which the sun impresses the brightest colors of the rainbow.  As it rises from the fall it beats with fury against a ledge of rocks which extends across the river at 150 yards from the precipice.  From the perpendicular cliff on the north to the distance of 120 yards the rocks rise only a few feet above the water, and when the river is high the stream finds a channel across them 40 yards wide, and near the higher parts of the ledge, which then rise about 20 feet and terminate abruptly within 80 or 90 yards of the southern side.  Between them and the perpendicular cliff on the south the whole body of water runs with great swiftness.  A few small cedars grow near this ridge of rocks, which serves as a barrier to defend a small plain of about three acres, shaded with cottonwood, at the lower extremity of which is a grove of the same tree, where are several Indian cabins of sticks ; below the point of them the river is divided by a large rock, several feet above the surface of the water, and extending down the stream for 20 yards.  At the distance of 300 yards from the same ridge is a second abutment of solid perpendicular rock, about 60 feet high, projecting at right angles from the small plain on the north for 134 yards into the river.  After leaving this, the Missouri again spreads itself to its usual distance of 300 yards, though with more than its ordinary rapidity.

Captain Lewis directed his course southwest, up the river.   After passing one continued rapid, and three small cascades each three or four feet high, he reached, at the distance of five miles, a second fall.  The river is about 400 yards wide, and for the distance of 300 throws itself over to the depth of 19 feet, and so irregularly that he gave it the name of the Crooked falls.   From the southern shore it extends obliquely upwards about 150 yards, and then forms an acute angle downwards nearly to the commencement of four small islands close to the northern side.  From the perpendicular pitch to these islands, a distance of more than 100 yards, the water glides down a sloping rock with a velocity almost equal to that of its fall.  Above this fall the river bends suddenly to the northward.  While viewing this place Captain Lewis heard a loud roar above him, and crossing the point of a hill for a few hundred yards he saw one of the most beautiful objects in nature.  The whole Missouri is suddenly stopped by one shelving rock, which, without a single niche, and with an edge as straight and regular as if formed by art, stretches itself from one side of the river to the other for at least a quarter of a mile.  Over this it precipitates itself in an even uninterrupted sheet to the perpendicular depth of 50 feet, whence, dashing against the rocky bottom, it rushes rapidly down, leaving behind it a spray of the purest foam across the river.  The scene which it presented was indeed singularly beautiful, since without any of the wild irregular sublimity of the lower falls it combined all the regular elegances which the fancy of a painter would select to form a beautiful waterfall.

The eye had scarcely been regaled with this charming prospect, when, at a distance of half a mile, Captain Lewis observed another of a similar kind.  To this he immediately hastened, and found a cascade stretching across the whole river for a quarter of a mile, with a descent of 14 feet, though the perpendicular pitch was only six feet.  This, too, in any other neighborhood, would have been an object of great magnificence, but after what he had just seen it became of secondary interest.  His curiosity being, however, awakened, he determined to go on, even should night overtake him, to the head of the falls.  He therefore pursued the southwest course of the river, which was one constant succession of rapids and small cascades, at every one of which the bluffs grew lower or the bed of the river became more on a level with the plains.  At the distance of two and a half miles he arrived at another cataract of 26 feet.  The river is here 600 yards wide, but the descent is not immediately perpendicular, though the river falls generally with a regular and smooth sheet; for about one-third of the descent a rock protrudes to a small distance, receives the water in its passage, and gives it a curve.  On the south side is a beautiful plain a few feet above the level of the falls. On the north the country is more broken, and there is a hill not far from the river.

Just below the falls is a little island in the middle of (he river well covered with timber.  Here, on a cottonwood tree, an eagle had fixed its nest, and seemed the undisputed mistress of the spot, to contest whose dominion neither man nor beast would venture across the gulfs that surround it, and which is further secured by the mist rising from the falls.  This solitary bird could not escape the observation of the Indians, who made the eagle's nest a part of their description of the falls, which now proves to be correct in almost every particular except that they did not do justice to their height.  Just above this is a cascade of about five feet, beyond which, as far as could be discerned, the velocity of the water seemed to abate.  Captain Lewis now ascended the hill which was behind him and saw from its top a delightful plain, extending from the river to the base of the Snow mountains to the south and southwest.  Along this wide, level country the Missouri pursued its winding course, filled with water to its even and grassy banks, while about four miles above it was joined by a large river, flowing from the northwest through a valley three miles in width, and distinguished by the timber which adorns its shores. * * * * This river is no doubt that which the Indians call Medicine river, which they mentioned as emptying into the Missouri just above the falls.

After thus pushing up the river, Captain Clarke took the courses and distances of the several rapids and cascades, and the journal of the expedition repeats the description, commencing above the falls and following the same route that I did, as follows:

From the draft and survey of Captain Clarke we had now a clear and collected view of the falls, cascades, and rapids of the Missouri.

This river is 300 yards wide at the point where it receives the waters of Medicine river, which is 137 yards in width.  The united current continues 328 poles to a small rapid on the north side, from which it gradually widens to 1,400 yards, and at the distance of 548 poles reaches the head of the rapids, narrowing as it approaches them.  Here the hills on the north, which had withdrawn from the bank, closely border the river, which, for the space 320 poles, makes its way over the rocks with a descent of 30 feet; in this course the current is contracted to 580 yards, and, after throwing itself over a small pitch of five feet, forms a beautiful cascade of 26 feet 5 inches; this does not, however, fall immediately perpendicular, being stopped by a part of the rock which projects at about one-third of the distance.  After descending this fall, and passing the Cottonwood island, on which the eagle has fixed its nest, the river goes on for 532 poles over rapids and little falls, the estimated descent of which is 13 feet 6 inches, till it is joined by a large fountain boiling up underneath the rocks near the edge of the river, into which it falls with a cascade of eight.  It is of the most perfect clearness, and rather of a bluish cast, and even after falling into the Missouri it preserves its color for half a mile.  From this fountain the river descends with increased rapidity for the distance of 214 poles, during which the estimated descent is five feet; from this, for a distance of 135 poles, the river descends 34 feet 7 inches, including a perpendicular fall of six feet and seven inches.  The river has now become pressed into a space of 473 yards, and here forms a grand cataract by falling over a plain rock the whole distance across the river to the depth of 47 feet 8 inches.  After recovering itself the Missouri then proceeds with an estimated descent of three feet, till at the distance of 102 poles it again is precipitated down the Crooked falls of 19 feet, perpendicular.  Below this, at the mouth of a deep ravine, is a fall of five feet, after which, for the distance of 970 poles, the descent is much more gradual, not being more than 10 feet, and then succeeds a handsome level plain for the space of 178 poles, with a computed descent of three feet, making a bend towards the north.  Thence it descends, during 480 poles, about 18 ½ feet, when it makes a perpendicular fall of two feet, which is 90 poles beyond the grand cataract; in approaching which it descends 13 feet within 200 yards, and gathering strength from its confined channel, which is only 280 yards wide, rushes over the fall to the depth of 87 feet and three-quarters of an inch.  After raging among the rocks and losing itself in foam, it is compressed immediately into a bed of 93 yards in width ; it, continues for 340 poles to the entrance of a run, or deep ravine, where there is a fall of three feet, which, joined to the decline of the river during that course, makes the descent six feet.  As it goes on, the descent within the next 240 poles is only four feet; from this passing a run or deep ravine the descent for 400 poles is 13 feet; within 240 poles a second descent of 18 feet; thence 160 poles a descent of six feet; after which, to the mouth of Portage creek, a distance of 280 poles, the descent is 10 feet.  From this survey and estimate it results that the river experiences a descent of 352 feet in the course of 12 ¾ miles from the commencement of the rapids to the mouth of Portage creek, exclusive of the almost impassable rapids, which extend for a mile below its entrance.

As I have before said these descriptions are generally accurate in the extreme.  The first five-foot fall does not now reach entirely across the river, and is so near the larger descent of 26 feet, as to be a part of it.  The two falls, of 19 and 47 feet respectively, and the Crooked fall (31 feet) are in such close proximity as to be simultaneously visible from a point below, forming the finest view of the series.  The "beautiful fountain" spoken of is an immense spring, boiling up through the rocks at numerous points, covering a quarter of an acre of ground, and sending a stream 100 yards wide into the Missouri, its water being clear as crystal, while its temperature was 53° Fahr. that of the river just above lifting 70° Fahr.  A remarkable fact is that the eagle's nest, described in 1805, as above quoted, still remains in the cottonwood, on the island, in the stream, and as we came within sight a bald eagle of unusual size was perched in the tree by its side.  This affords a very striking illustration of the habits of this peculiarly American bird, and from its known longevity it may have been the identical eagle that Captain Lewis made historical more than half a century ago.  The description of the great fall is very correct, save that in the lapse of time the vertical descent is not now more than one-fifth of the entire width.  Below this we turned up Willow creek, and found the party in camp on the spot I had described to them from Lewis and Clarke's journal in the morning.

During the day we were visited by a heavy storm of rain and hail accompanied by a furious wind, which wet us to the skin and chilled us through.  The result was that the Missouri was as muddy, at the falls, as we were accustomed to see it below, and in every gully we found a raging torrent.  The air was agreeably cooled, however, and mosquitoes temporarily ceased their annoyances.

The banks of the Missouri down to the triple fall are low, and the edge of the river easily accessible.  Below, however, it flows between high, rocky bluffs upon each side.  The rock forming the falls is chiefly laminated sandstone, and is so soft that it must yield easily to the action of the water.  Dr. Hayden made careful geological examinations as we passed down, and sketches of the leading points of interest were also taken by Mr. Schonborn.

One of Lieutenant Mullins' horses strayed to-day, and that officer and a party of three men have gone in search of the beast.  At this time (10 ½ p. m.) they have not yet returned.

Friday, July 13. —Before breaking camp this morning, Mr. Hutton returned to the Great falls to obtain a photograph of them, taking with him two men, and expecting to rejoin us to-night.  Mr. Schonborn also started off on a second expedition to the mouth of Portage creek, for the purpose of obtaining barometrical observations.  The train left camp about 7 a. m, passed out of the valley of Willow creek, and started nearly due east over a level prairie.  We soon found, however, that the various streams crossing our paths formed deep ravines, several of which were crossed with great difficulty, before we reached the banks of Portage creek, which were mainly perpendicular rocks, through which the fortunate finding of an old lodge trail alone enabled us to pass.  This stream is about 30 feet in width, and nearly 18 inches in depth, flowing in a narrow but comparatively well-timbered valley.  Beyond it we ascended by a gradual slope to a high prairie, over which we advanced for some six miles descending then again to the banks of Fall Timber creek—a stream which takes its name from the circumstance that the Fort Benton traders cut their timber about its head.  We encamped in its valley, which is here three-quarters of a mile in width, in rich grass, and amid the finest grove of cottonwoods found since leaving the Three Forks.

This is our last camp before reaching Fort Benton, and we were sufficiently fortunate to encounter some officers from that post out upon a fishing excursion.  They gave us the latest news from the east, including a newspaper of May 3 and stated that troops were still at Fort Benton awaiting transportation.  We also found in this vicinity a gang of charcoal burners at work for the American Fur Company.

Mr. Hutton returned at nightfall, having indifferently accomplished the object of his expedition.

The distance accomplished in the day's march was 16 miles.

Saturday, July 14.—We left camp at 7 a. m. to-day, and abandoning the valley of Highwood creek, advanced over a level prairie at a speed which the prospects of soon reaching Fort Benton decidedly accelerated. Our route bore a little east of north, the Bear's Paw mountains being in sight upon our right while across the Missouri was visible the valley of the Teton.  Our road was crossed by but a single gully containing a few pools of water, this being all that was seen until we reached the Missouri.

Fort Benton was not visible until we ascended the summit of the bluff opposite, when it burst upon us as the central point of an inspiring picture.  It is located in a beautiful valley amid an amphitheatre of lofty hills.  The substantial trading-houses, the shining tents of troops, and several hundred Indian lodges, filled the small plain before us, the signs of life and business contrasting forcibly with the vast solitudes through which we had for weeks been journeying.  After enjoying the beauty of the prospect we descended from the bluff and encamped opposite the fort after a march of 16 miles.

I crossed the river and called upon Major Blake, commanding the detachment of troops, and learned that no boat had arrived here for me.  I at once ordered one built, and, as this will consume nearly a week, I shall be compelled to reconcile myself to the delay.  I hope, however, to start Lieutenant Mullins and party upon their land exploration before that time.

Clouds at night prevented observations.