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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Lewis explores the Big Hole River. After finding it unsafe for canoes, he leaves a note at its mouth telling Clark to take the middle fork—today's Beaverhead River. Clark is several miles below this fork near Silver Star, Montana.

we encamped this evening near the point where the river leaves the valley and enters the mountains, having traveled about 20 miles.

Meriwether Lewis

Big Hole River

Mountain stream with rocky banks

this is a bold rappid and Clear Stream, it's bed so much broken and obstructed by gravley bars and it's waters so much subdivided by Islands that it appears to me utterly impossible to navigate it with safety.
the middle fork is gentle and possesses about 2/3ds as much water as this rappid stream, it's cours so far as I can observe it is about S. W. and it appears to be navigable; its water is much warmer than that of the rappid fork and somewhat turbid, from which I concluded that it had it's source at a greater distance in the mountains and passed through an opener country than the other.

Meriwether Lewis

Ruby and Beaverhead Rivers

Ruby and Beaverhead Rivers joining to create the Jefferson River

Photo by Mike Cline who has released it to the public domain.

The river continued to be crouded with Islands Sholey rapid & clear...the method we are compelled to take to get on is fatigueing & laborious in the extreen, haul the Canoes over the rapids, which Suckceed each other every two or three hundred yards and between the water rapid oblige to towe & walke on Stones

William Clark

Jefferson River

Rocks exposed in a shallow section of the river