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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

The Expedition sets up camp at the mouth of the Marias River. The Indians at Fort Mandan did not inform them of this fork. Unable to decide which river is the actual Missouri, they send out several scouting parties to explore each.

This morning early we passed over and formed a camp on the point formed by the junction of the two large rivers.

Meriwether Lewis

Marias and Missouri rivers from Decision Point

Sun Rising in the east over the Marias River mouth

Capt. C & myself stroled out to the top of the hights in the fork of these rivers from whence we had an extensive and most inchanting view; the country in every derection around us was one vast plain in which innumerable herds of Buffalow were seen attended by their shepperds the wolves; the solatary antelope which now had their young were distributed over it's face; some herds of Elk were also seen; the verdure perfectly cloathed the ground, the weather was pleasent and fair;

Meriwether Lewis

Marias River confluence from Decision Point

Marias River delta and Missouri River bottoms

to the South we saw a range of lofty mountains which we supposed to be a continuation of the S. Mountains, streching themselves from S. E. to N. W. terminating abbrubtly about S. West from us; these were partially covered with snow; behind these Mountains and at a great distance, a second and more lofty range of mountains appeared to strech across the country in the same direction with the others, reaching from West, to the N of N. W., where their snowey tops lost themselves beneath the horizon. this last range was perfectly covered with snow.

Meriwether Lewis

Belt Mountains from Decision Point

Chain of mountains rising above the Missouri River hills

on our return to camp we boar a little to the left and discovered a handsome little river falling into the N. fork on Lard. side about 1½ ms. above our camp. this little river has as much timber in it's bottoms as either of the larger streams.

Meriwether Lewis

Teton River bottom

Wide Teton River valley with many cottonwood trees

there are a great number of prickley pears in these plains; the Choke cherry grows here in abundance both in the river bottoms and in the steep ravenes along the river bluffs. saw the yellow and red courants, not yet ripe; also the goosberry which begins to ripen; the wild rose which grows here in great abundance in the bottoms of all these rivers is now in full bloom, and adds not a little to the beaty of the cenery.

Meriwether Lewis

Golden currant, Ribes aureum

Large bush with yellow berries

They came down this little river and found it a boald runing stream of about 40 yds. wide containg much timber in it's bottom, consisting of the narrow and wide leafed cottonwood with some birch and box alder undrgrowth willows rosebushes currents &c.

Meriwether Lewis

Teton River

Small muddy river

the South fork is perfectly transparent runds very rappid but with a smoth unriffled surface it's bottom composed of round and flat smooth stones like most rivers issuing from a mountainous country.

Meriwether Lewis

Marias and Missouri Rivers

Small muddy river joining a larger, clearer river