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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Leaving the main party at the mouth of the Marias River, Clark explores the Missouri and Teton rivers. Lewis climbs to a high spot on the plains above the Marias River. He heads north determined to follow the river's course.

the whole country in fact appears to be one continued plain to the foot of the mountains or as far as the eye can reach; the soil appears dark rich and fertile yet the grass is by no means as high nor dose it look so luxurient as I should have expected, it is short just sufficient to conceal the ground.

Meriwether Lewis

Plains above the Marias River

Short grass and sage plains

great abundance of prickly pears which are extreemly troublesome; as the thorns very readily perce the foot through the Mockerson; they are so numerous that it requires one half of the traveler's attention to avoid them

Meriwether Lewis

Plains prickly pear, Opuntia macrorhiza

A thick group of prickly pair and sheet grass

thirty or forty of these birds will be stationed in the air at a time in view, these larks as I shall call them add much to the gayety and cheerfullness of the scene.

Meriwether Lewis

McCown's longspur, Calcarius mccownii

A gray and black bird in flight

Photo created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

the part of the river we have passed is from 40 to 60 yds. wide, is deep, has falling banks, the courant strong, the water terbid and in short has every appearance of the missouri b[e]low except as to size. it's bottoms narrow but well timbered.

Meriwether Lewis

Marias River

Steep bank and Marias River valley

In the evening we went towards the river to encamp, where one of the men having got down to a small point of woods on the bank, before the rest of the party, was attacked by a huge he-bear, and his gun missed fire. We were about 200 yards from him, but the bank there was so steep we could not get down to his assistance: we, however, fired at the animal from the place where we stood and he went off without injuring the man.

Patrick Gass

Missouri River at Carter Ferry, Montana

Steep hills along the Missouri River

The river is rapid & Closely himed on one or the other Side with high bluffs, Crouded with Islands & graveley bars Containing but a Small quantity of timber on its bottoms & none on the high land.

William Clark

Missouri River at Rowe Bench, Montana

Gravelly island and channels in the Missouri River