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The Two Rivers of Lewis & Clark
Entries For July 25:
Captain Clark (current)
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A fine morning. We proceeded on a few miles to the Three Forks of the Missouri. Those three forks are nearly of a size. The north fork appears to have the most water and must be considered as the one best calculated for us to ascend. Middle fork is quite as large - about 90 yards wide. The south fork is about 70 yards wide, and falls in about 400 yards below the middle fork. Those forks appear to be very rapid, and contain some timber in their bottoms which are very extensive.
On the north side the Indians have latterly set the prairies on fire - the cause I can't account for. I saw one horsetrack going up the river, about four or 5 days past.
After breakfast - which we made on the ribs of a buck killed yesterday - I wrote a note informing Captain Lewis the route I intended to take, and proceeded on up the main north fork through a valley, the day very hot.
About 6 or 8 miles up the north fork, a small rapid river falls in on the larboard side, which affords a great deal of water, and appears to head in the snow mountains to the S.W. This little river falls into the Missouri by three mouths, having separated after it arrives in the river bottoms, and contains, as also all the water courses in this quarter, immense numbers of beaver and otter. Many thousand inhabit the river and creeks near the Three Forks (Philosopher's River) . We camped on the same side. We ascended starboard 20 miles on a direct line up the N. fork. Charbonneau, our interpreter, nearly tired out; one of his ankles failing him. The bottoms are extensive and tolerable land covered with tall grass and prickly pears. The hills and mountains are high, steep, and rocky. The river very much divided by islands.
Reprinted by permission of the American Studies Programs at the University of Virginia.
The complete text can also be downloaded for printing from their website.