Set out early this morning, or before sunrise; still continued our march through the level valley on the lard. side of the river. the valley much as yesterday only reather wider; I think it 12 Miles wide, tho the plains near the mountains rise higher and are more broken with some scattering pine near the mountain. in the leaveler parts of the plain and river bottoms which are very extensive there is no timber except a scant proportion of cottonwood neat the river. the under wood consists of the narrow leafed or small willow, the small honeysuckle, rosebushes, currant, serviceberry, and goosbery bushes; also a small species of berth in but small quantities the leaf which is oval finely, indented, small and of a deep green colour. the stem is simple ascending and branching, and seldom rises higher than 10 or 12 feet. the Mountains continue high on either side of the valley, and are but scantily supplyed with timber; small pine apears to be the prevalent growth; it is of the pith kind, with a short leaf. at 11 A.M. Drewyer killed a doe and we halted about 2 hours and breakfasted, and then continued our rout untill night without halting, when we arrived at the river in a level bottom which appeared to spread to greater extent than usual. from the appearance of the timber I supposed that the river forked above us and resolved to examine this part of the river minutely tomorrow. this evening we passed through a high plain for about 8 miles covered with prickley pears and bearded grass, tho we found this even better walking than the wide bottoms of the river, which we passed in the evening; these altho apparently level, from some cause which I know not, were formed into meriads of deep holes as if rooted up by hogs these the grass covered so thick that it was impossible to walk without the risk of falling down at every step. some parts of these bottoms also possess excellent terf or peat, I beleive of many feet deep. the mineral salts also frequently mentioned on the Missouri we saw this evening in these uneven bottoms. we saw many deer, Antelopes ducks, gees, some beaver and great appearance of their work. also a small bird and the Curlooe as usual. we encamped on the river bank on Lard. side having traveled by estimate 23 Miles.
The Indian woman recognizes the country and assures us that this is the river on which her relations live, and that the three forks are at no great distance. this peice of information has cheered the sperits of the party who now begin to console themselves with the anticipation of shortly seeing the head of the missouri yet unknown to the civilized world. the large creek which we passed on Stard. 15 yds. we call white Earth Creek from the circumstance of the natives procuring a white paint on this crek. Saw many gees, crams, and small birds common to the plains, also a few phesants and a species of small curlooe or plover of a brown colour which I first met with near the entrance of Smith's river but they are so shy and watchfull there is no possibility of geting a shoot at them it is a different kind from any heretofore discribed and is about the size of the yellow leged plover or jack Curlooe. both species of the willow that of the broad leaf and narrow leaf still continue, the sweet willow is very scarce. the rose bush, small honesuckle, the pulpy leafed thorn, southernwood, sage Box alder narrow leafed cottonwood, red wod, a species of sumac are all found in abundance as well as the red and black goosberries, service berries, choke cherries and the currants of four distinct colours of black, yellow, red and perple. the cherries are not yet ripe. the bear appear to feed much on the currants. late this evening we arrived at Capt.
Ordway had arrived with all the canoes about noon and had unloaded them every preperation except the entire completion of the oars poles &c is made for our departure tomorrow. the grass and weeds in this bottom are about 2 feet high; which is a much greater hight than we have seen them elsewhere this season. here I found the sand rush and nittles in small quantities. the grass in the plains is not more than 3 inches high. grasshoppers innumerable in the plains and the small birds before noticed together with the brown Curlooe still continue nomerous in every part of the plains.
Capt C. killed a buck and Fields a buck and doe. he caught a young curlooe which was nearly feathered. the musquetoes were equally as troublesome to them as to ourselves this evening; tho some hours after dark the air becomes so cold that these insects disappear. the men are all fortunately supplyed with musquetoe biers otherwise it would be impossible for them to exist under the fatiegues which they daily encounter without their natural rest which they could not obtain for those tormenting insects if divested of their biers. timber still extreemly scant on the river but there is more in this valley than we have seen since we entered the mountains; the creeks which fall into the river are better supplyed with this article than the river itself.
I killed four plover this evening of a different kind from any I have yet seen. it resembles the grey or whistling plover more than any other of this family of birds, tho it is much larger. it is about the size of the yellow leged plover common to the U States, and called the jack curlooe by some. the legs are of a greenish brown; the toes, three and one high at the heel unconnected with a webb, the breast and belly of a brownish white; the head neck upper part of the body and coverts of the wings are of a dove colured brown which when the bird is at rest is the predomanent colour. the tale has 12 feathers of the same length of which the two in the center are black with transverse bars of yellowish bron, the others are a brownish white. the large feathers of the wings are white tiped with black. the eyes are black with a small ring of dark yellowish brown- the beak is black, 21/2 inches long, cilindrical, streight, and roundly or blountly pointed. the notes of this bird are louder and more various than of any other species which I have seen.
Drewyer and J. Fields set out early this morning in conformity to my instructions last evening. they returned at 1/2 after 12 OCk. and informed me that they had proceeded down the river to the place from which I had returned on the of June last and that it was 6 miles distant. they passed the entrance of buffaloe Creek at 2 ms. the course of the river from hence downwards as far as they were is N. 80 E. they killed 8 deer and two Antelopes on their way; most of the deer were large fat mule bucks. having completed my observation of the sun's meridian Altitude we set out, ascended the river hills having passed the river and proceeded through the open plains up the N. side of the river 20 miles and encamped. at 15 miles we passed a large creek on N. side a little above it's entrance; there is but little running water in this creek at present, it's bed is about 30 yds. wide and appears to come from the broken Mountains so called from their raggid and irregular shape there are three of them extending from east to West almost unconnected, the center mountain terminates in a conic spire and is that which I have called the tower mountain they are destitute of timber. from the entrance of this creek they bore N. 10° W. the river bottoms are usually about 1/2 a mile wide and possess a considerable quantity of timber entirely cottonwood; the underbrush is honeysuckle rose bushes the narrow leafed willow and the bush which bears the acid red berry called by the french engages grease de buff. just as we halted to encamp R. Fields killed a mule doe. the plains are beautifull and level but the soil is but thin. in many parts of the plains there are great quantities of prickly pears. saw some herds of buffaloe today but not in such quantities as yesterday, also antelopes, wolves, gees, pigeons, doves, hawks, ravens crows larks sparrows &c. the Curlooe has disappeared.