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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Lewis sends a letter to Clark informing him of the need to find a portage for the boats. While exploring the upper water falls and present Sun River, he is forced into the river by a Grizzly holding no weapon other than his espontoon.

I continued my rout across the point of a hill a few hundred yards further and was again presented by one of the most beatifull objects in nature, a cascade of about fifty feet perpendicular streching at rightangles across the river from side to side to the distance of at least a quarter of a mile.

Meriwether Lewis

Lewis at Rainbow Falls

Historic photograph of Rainbow Falls, part of the Great Falls of the Missouri River

Drawing by Don Greytak on a sign at Rainbow Falls.

I set one man about preparing a saffold and collecting wood to dry the meat Sent the others to bring in the ballance of the buffaloe meat, or at least the part which the wolves had left us, for those fellows are ever at hand and ready to partake with us the moment we kill a buffaloe

Meriwether Lewis

Buffalo and wolves

Painting of two wolves and a mostly eaten buffalo carcass

Drawing from a sign at the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center in Great Falls, Montana.

I discovered another fall above at the distance of half a mile; thus invited I did not once think of returning but hurried thither to amuse myself with this newly discovered object.

Meriwether Lewis

Colter Falls

Historic photograph of Colter Falls, part of the Great Falls of the Missouri River

Photo courtesy Cascade County Historical Society, CCHS Catalog Number 98.4.1 (altered).

at the distance of 2½ miles I arrived at another cataract of 26 feet. this is not immediately perpendicular, a rock about 1/3 of it's decent seems to protrude to a small distance and receives the water in it's passage downwards and gives a curve to the water tho' it falls mostly with a regular and smoth sheet.

Meriwether Lewis

Black Eagle Falls

Historic photograph of Black Eagle Falls, part of the Great Falls of the Missouri River

Photo courtesy Cascade County Historical Society, CCHS Catalog Number 98.2.32.

the missouri just above this hill makes a bend to the South where it lies a smoth even and unruffled sheet of water of nearly a mile in width bearing on it's watry bosome vast flocks of geese which feed at pleasure in the delightfull pasture on either border.

Meriwether Lewis

Canada geese above the Great Falls

Canada Geese on the river

I passed through the plain nearly in the direction which the bear had run to medecine river, found it a handsome stream, about 200 yds. wide with a gentle current, apparently deep, it's waters clear, and banks which were formed principally of darkbrown and blue clay were about the hight of those of the Missouri or from 3 to 5 feet

Meriwether Lewis

Sun River

A medium sized river

we made only 10 miles to day and Camped on the Lard Side, much hard Slate in the Clifts & but a Small quantity of timber

William Clark

Gray cliffs near Carter Ferry, Montana

Gray slate cliffs along a muddy river