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The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, July 21, 1806

Monday July 21st 1806. We set out at sunrise and proceeded a short distance up the North side of the river; we found the ravines which made in on this side were so steep and numerous that we passed the river in doing which the pack horse which carried my instruments missed the ford and wet the instruments. this accident detained us about half an hor. I took the Instruments out wiped them and dryed their cases, they sustained no naterial injury. we continued on the S. side of the river about 3 miles when we again passed over to the N. side and took our course through the plains at some distance from the river. we saw a large herd of Elk this morning. the buffaloe still become more scarce. at 2 P.M. we struck a northern branch of Marias river about 30 yds. wide at the distance of about 8 miles from it's entrance. this stream is closely confined between clifts of freestone rocks the bottom narrow below us and above the rocks confine it on each side; some little timber below but not any above; the water of this stream is nearly clear. from the appearance of this rock and the apparent hight of the bed of the streem I am induced to beleive that there are falls in these rivers somewhere about their junction. being convinced that this stream came from the mountains I determined to pursue it as it will lead me to the most nothern point to which the waters of Maria's river extend which I now fear will not be as far north as I wished and expected. after dinner we set out up the North branch keeping on it's S. side; we pursued it untill dark and not finding any timber halted and made a fire of the dung of the buffaloe. we lay on the south side in a narrow bottom under a Clift. our provision is nearly out, we wounded a buffaloe this evening but could not get him.