Set out this morning at sunrise and continued our rout through the valley on the Lard. side of the river. at eleven A.M. Drewyer killed a doe and we halted and took breakfast. the mountains continue high on either side of the valley, and are but skantily supplyed with timber; small pine appears to be the prevalent growth. there is no timber in the valley except a small quantity of the narrow leafed cottonwood on the verge of the river. the underwood consists of the narrowleafed or small willow, honeysuckle rosebushes, courant, goosbury and service bury bushes allso a small quantity of a species of dwarf burch the leaf of which, oval, deep green, finely indented and very small. we encamped this evening after sunset having traveled by estimate 23 miles. from the width and appearance of the valley at this place I concieved that the river forked not far above me and therefore resolved the next morning to examine the adjacent country more minutely.
Set out early this morning as usual, currant strong, we therefore employ the toe rope when ever the banks permit the use of it; the water is reather deep for the seting pole in most places. at 6 A.M. the hills retreated from the river and the valley became wider than we have seen it since we entered the mountains. some scattering timber on the river and in the valley. consisting of the narrowleafed Cottonwood aspin & pine. vas numbers of the several species of currants goosberries and service berries; of each of these I preserved some seeds.
From this point I could see the S. E. fork about 7 miles. it is rapid and about 70 yards wide. throughout the distance I saw it, it passes through a smoth extensive green meadow of fine grass in it's course meandering in several streams the largest of which passes near the Lard. hills, of which, the one I stand on is the extremity in this direction. a high wide and extensive plain succeeds the meadow and extends back several miles from the river on the Stard. sade and with the range of mountains up the Lard. side of the middle fork. a large spring arrises in this meadow about 1/4 of a mile from the S. E. fork into which it discharges itself on the Stard. side about 400 paces above me. from E to S. between the S. E. and middle forks a distant range of lofty mountains rose their snow-clad tops above the irregular and broken mountains which lie adjacent to this beautifull spot. the extreme point to which I could see the S. E. fork boar S. 65° E. distant 7 ms. as before observed. between the middle and S. E. forks near their junctions with the S. W. fork there is a handsom site for a fortification it consists of a limestone rock of an oblong form; it's sides perpendicular and about 25 ft high except at the extremity towards the middle fork where it ascends gradually and like the top is covered with a fine terf of greenswoard. the top is level and contains about 2 Acres. the rock rises from the level plain as if it had been designed for some such purpose. the extream point to which I can see the bottom and meandering of the Middle fork bears S. 15 E distant about 14 miles. here it turns to the right around a point of a high plain and disappears to my view. it's bottoms are several miles in width and like that of the S. E. fork form one smoth and beautifull green meadow. it is also divided into several streams. betwen this and the S. W. fork there is an extensive plain which appears to extend up both those rivers many miles and back to the mountains. the extreme point to which I can see the S. W. fork bears S. 30 W. distant about 12 miles. this stream passes through a similar country with the other two and is more divided and serpentine in it's course than either of the others; it also possesses abundanly more timber in it's bottoms. the timber here consists of the narrowleafed cottonwood almost entirely. but little box alder or sweet willow the underbrush thick and as heretofore discribed in the quarter of the missouri. a range of high mountains at a considerable distance appear to reach from South to West and are partially covered with snow the country to the right of the S. W. fork like that to the left of the S. E. fork is high broken and mountainous as is that also down the missouri behind us, through which, these three rivers after assembling their united force at this point seem to have forced a passage these bottom lands tho not more than 8 or 9 feet above the water seem never to overflow. after making a draught of the connection and meanders of these streams I decended the hill and returned to the party, took breakfast and ascended the S. W. fork 13/4 miles and encamped at a Lard. bend in a handsome level smooth plain just below a bayou, having passed the entrance of the middle fork at 1/2 a mile. here I encamped to wait the return of Capt.