The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, April 26, 1805
Clark, April 26, 1805
26th of April Friday 1805
last night was verry Cold. the Thermometer Stood at 32 abov 0 this morning. I Set out at an early hour, as it was cold I walked on the bank, & in my walk Shot a beaver & 2 Deer, one of the Deer in tolerable order, the low bottom of the river is generaly Covered with wood willows & rose bushes, red berry, wild Cherry & red or arrow wood intersperced with glades The timber is Cottonwood principally, Elm Small ash also furnish a portion of the timber, The Clay of the bluffs appear much whiter than below, and Contain Several Stratums of Coal, on the hill Sides I observe pebbles of different Size & Colour- The river has been riseing for Several days, & raised 3 inches last night, at 12 oClock arrived at the forks of the Roche Johne & Missouri and formed a Camp on the point Soon after George Drewyer Came from Capt Lewis & informed me that he was a little way up the Roche johne and would join me this evining, I Sent a canoe up to Capt Lewis and proceeded measure the width of the rivers, and find the debth. The Missouri is 520 yards wide above the point of yellow Stone and the water covers 330 yards; the YellowStone River is 858 yards wide includeing its Sand bar, the water covers 297 yards and the deepest part is 12 feet water, it is at this time falling, the Missouri rising The Indians inform that the yellow Stone River is navagable for Perogues to near its Source in the Rocky Mountains, it has many tributary Streams, principally on the S. E. Side, and heads at no great distance from the Missouri, the largest rivers which fall into it is Tongue river which heads with the waters of River Platt, and Big horn river which also heads with Platt & Tongue R the current of this river is Said to be rapid near its mouth it is verry jentle, and its water is of a whitish colour much Clearer of Sediment than the Missouri. the Countrey on this river is Said to be broken in its whole Course & Contains a great deel of wood, the countrey about its mouth is verry fine, the bottoms on either Side is wooded with Cotton wood, ash, Elm &c. near the banks of the river back is higher bottoms and Covered with red berry, Goose berry & rose bushes &. interspersed with Small open Glades, and near the high land is Generally open rich bottoms- at our arrival at the forks I observed a Drove of Buffalow Cows & Calves on a Sand bar in the point, I directed the men to kill the fattest Cow, and 3 or 4 Calves, which they did and let the others pass, the Cows are pore, Calves fine veele.
Capt Lewis joined me in the evening after takeing equal altitudes a little way up the YellowStone river the Countrey in every direction is plains except the moist bottoms of the river, which are covered with Some indifferent timber Such as Cotton wood Elm & Small ash, with different kind of Stubs & bushes in the forks about 1 mile from the point at which place the 2 rivers are near each other a butifull low leavel plain Commences, and extends up the Missourie & back, this plain is narrow at its commencement and widens as the Missouri bends north, and is bordered by an extencive wood land for many miles up the yellow Stone river, this low plain is not Subject to over flow, appear to be a few inches above high water mark and affords a butifull commanding Situation for a fort near the commencement of the Prarie, about ____ miles from the Point & ____ yards from the Missouri a Small lake is Situated, from this lake the plain rises gradually to a high butifull Countrey, the low Plain continues for Some distance up both rivers on the Yellow Stone it is wide & butifull opsd. the point on the S. Side is Some high timbered land, about 11/2 miles below on the Same Side a little distance from the water is an elivated plain- Several of the party was up the yellow Stone R Several miles, & informed that it meandered throught a butifull Countrey Joseph Fields discovered a large Creek falling into the Yellowstone River on the S E Side 8 miles up near which he Saw a big horn animal, he found in the Prarie the horn of one of those animals which was large and appeared to have laid Several years I Saw maney buffalow dead on the banks of the river in different places Some of them eaten by the white bears & wolves all except the Skin & bones, others entire, those animals either drounded in attempting to Cross on the ice dureing the winter or Swiming across to bluff banks where they Could not get out & too weak to return we Saw several in this Situation.
emence numbers of antelopes in the forks of the river, Buffalow & Elk & Deer is also plenty beaver is in every bend. I observe that the Magpie Goose duck & Eagle all have their nests in the Same neighbourhood, and it is not uncommon for the Magpie to build in a few rods of the eagle, the nests of this bird is built verry Strong with Sticks Covered verry thickly with one or more places through which they enter or escape, the Goose I make no doubt falls a pray to those vicious eagles