On July 3, 1806, the Corps of Discovery left Travelers' Rest. Captain Lewis and nine men went to pursue a direct route to the Missouri, then explore Maria's river. Captain Clark and the rest of the party went a new route to the Jefferson River, then descended to the Three Forks and then proceeded with a detachment party to explore the Yellowstone, while Sergeant Ordway, with nine men, descended the Missouri. Map of Routes
Lewis July 18, 1806
"ascended the river hills and continued our rout as yesterday through the open plains"
Clark July 18, 1806
" I observed a Smoke rise to the S.S.E. in the plains ... this Smoke must be raisd. by the Crow Indians in that direction as a Signal for us, or other bands. I think it most probable that they have discovered our trail and takeing us to be Shoshone ... or otherwise takeing us to be their Enemy made this Signal for other bands to be on their guard"
Lewis July 19, 1806
" the plains are beautifull and level but the soil is but thin. in many parts of the plains there are great quantity of prickly pears."
Clark July 19, 1806
" encamped under a thick grove of trees* ; proceeded on through a large timbered bottom imediately below in search of better trees for canoes "
grove of trees* - Stillwater County, south of present Park City, Montana, where he remained until July 24; the so-called Canoe Camp
Lewis July 20, 1806
"the day has proved excessively warm... we traveled 28 miles and encamped *in the river bottom. there is scarcely any water at present in the plains... "
encamped * - Marias River - Toole County, Montana - some five miles southwest of present Shelby.
Clark July 20, 1806 - Canoe Camp
"trees appeared tolerably Sound and will make Canoes of 28 feet in length and about 16 to 18 inches deep and from 16 to 24 inches wide.... the horses being fatigued and their feet sore, I shall let them rest a fiew days."
Lewis July 21, 1806
..." at 2 PM we struck a northern branch of Marias river... I determined to pursue it as it will lead me to the most nothern point to which the waters of Maria's river extend which I now fear will not be as far north as I wished and expected"...
Clark July 21, 1806 - Canoe Camp
"This morning I was informed that half of our horses were absent... I am apprehensive that the indians have stolen our horses, and probably those who made the Smoke a fiew days passed"
Lewis July 22, 1806
... "we have seen but few buffaloe today no deer and very few Antelopes; gam of every discription is extreemly wild which induces me to believe that the indians are now, or have been lately in this neighborhood"..
Clark July 22, 1806 - Canoe Camp
..." I directed Labeech who understands traking very well to set out early in the morning and find what rout the horses had taken if possible"..
Lewis July 23, 1806
..." Drewyer informed us that there was an indian camp of eleven leather lodges which appeared to have been abandoned about 10 days, the poles only of the lodges remained. we are confident that these are the Minnetares of fort de prarie"...
Clark July 23, 1806 - Canoe Camp
"last night the wolves or dogs came into our Camp and eat the most of our dryed meat which was on a scaffold... Labeech returned haveing taken a great Circle and informed me that he saw the tracks of the horses makeing off into the open plains and were by the tracks going very fast"..
Lewis July 24, 1806
... "the air has become extreemly cold which in addition to the wind and rain renders our situation extreemly unpleasant."
Clark July 24, 1806 ( Map of the Area >>)
..."I had the horses drove across the river and Set Sergt. Pryor and his party across (south of Billings, Montana). H. Hall who cannot Swim expressed a Williness to proceed on with Sergt. Pryor by land, and as another man was necessary to assist in driveing on the horses"...