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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Lewis encounters steep ravines as he travels west up the Marias River. He camps near present Shelby, Montana. On the Yellowstone River, Clark fells trees to make canoes. Gass prepares the carts for hauling the canoes around the Great Falls.

the bluffs of the river are about 200 feet high, steep irregular and formed of earth which readily desolves with water, slips and precipitates itself into the river

Meriwether Lewis

Marias River

Looking down into the Marias River valley from a steep bluff

We set at sunrise and proceed through the open plain as yesterday up the North side of the river.

Meriwether Lewis

Dugout Coulee

Montana sagebrush country

the plains are more broken than they were yesterday and have become more inferior in point of soil; a great quanty of small gravel is every where distributed over the surface of the earth which renders travling extreemly painfull to our bearfoot horses.

Meriwether Lewis

Above the Marias River

Montana plain with deep ravines

the day has proved excessively warm and we lay by four hours during the heat of it; we traveled 28 miles and encamped as usual in the river bottom on it's N. side.

Meriwether Lewis

Marias River bottom

Grassy river bottom below a steep bluff

the wild liquorice and sunflower are very abundant in the plains and river bottoms, the latter is now in full blume; the silkgrass and sand rush are also common to the bottom lands.

Meriwether Lewis

Nuttall's sunflower, Helianthus nuttallii

Daisy-like flower with orange petals

Photo by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

A half Shrub from the high plains of Missouri Jul. 20th 1806.

Pursh (Meriwether Lewis)

Moundscale, Atriplex gardneri (Gardner's saltbush)

Sage-like bush with orange florences

Photo ©Matt Lavin. Downloaded from Wikimedia and used with permission of theCreative Commons 2.0 License.

A Small branchy Shrub from the plains of Missouri—July 20th 1806.

Pursh (Meriwether Lewis)

Greasewood, Sarcobatus vermiculatus

Tall green sage with prickly branches

A malvaceous Small plant probably a Species of Malope. Plains of Missouri. Jul. 20th 1806.

Pursh (Meriwether Lewis)

Scarlet globemallow, Sphaeralcea coccinea

Small plant with orange petals

I directed Sergt. Pryor and Shields each of them good judges of timber to proceed on down the river Six or 8 miles and examine the bottoms if any larger trees than those near which we are encamped can be found and return before twelve oClock. they Set out at daylight.

William Clark

Cottonwood tree at daylight

Crooked cottonwood tree at sunrise

I also Sent two men in Serch of wood Soutable for ax handles. they found some choke cherry which is the best wood which Can be precured in this Country.

William Clark

Choke cherry, Prunus virginiana

A large choke-cherry tree about 20 feet tall

a clear warm morning.

John Ordway

Upper Portage Camp sunrise

A pretty summer sunrise on a Missouri River island

Golden light on a calm river