carried for the accommodation of the whole
party, in case of stormy weather being encountered; also forty days’ rations
and an abundant supply of ammunition. The party of civilians from Helena
consisted of General H. D. Washburn, surveyor general of Montana, Hon.
Langford, Hon. T. C. Everts, Judge C. Hedges, Samuel T. Hauser, Warren C. Gillette, Benjamin C. Stickney, jr., Walter Trumbull, and Jacob Smith, all of Helena, together with two packers and two cooks. They were furnished with a saddle horse apiece, and nine pack animals for the whole outfit; they were provided with one aneroid barometer and one thermometer, and several pocket compasses, by means of which observations were to be taken at different points on the Route.
First day.—We left Fort Ellis on the morning of the 22d, taking the road to the Yellowstone River, in an easterly direction.
Barometer, 25.25; thermometer, 92° noon; elevation, 4,911 feet.
This road follows the general course of the East Gallatin, over hilly country of limestone formation, with scattering pine timber on the northern slopes. The ravines and small valleys are grown up with quaking aspens and willows. The strata of rock are nearly perpendicular, composed of cliff limestones, interspersed with shales and slate, having nearly a vertical dip to the westward, and greatly broken up by volcanic agencies underneath. Six miles from Fort Ellis we crossed the Yellowstone divide, a ridge of considerable height, forming the apex of two water sheds; one sloping to the Gallatin, the other to the Yellowstone. At the point of crossing the ridge is depressed several hundred feet below its usual altitude, allowing a tolerable wagon road over the pass. The summit affords a fine view of the beautiful Gallatin Valley, with its cordon of snow-capped peaks, its finely timbered water-courses, and its long grassy declivities, dotted with the habitations of pioneers, and blooming with the fruits of industry now ready for harvest.
Barometer, 24.10; thermometer, 70°; elevation 6,140 feet.
At the head of the East Gallatin ravine a fine seam of coal has been struck in the bed of the stream, where it can be worked to advantage, beneath the carboniferous limestone found in such localities. We traveled thence through a natural pass between high ridges, and down a gentle declivity about three miles, striking the valley of Trail creek leading to the Yellowstone, and camping on this creek at a point distant about fifteen miles from Fort Ellis. This stream is shut in by high hills, wooded at the summits, and with grassy slopes. Occasionally masses of lava are seen projecting from the highest points. The valley formation is composed of the debris washed down from the hills together with traces of original drift. Trail Creek at the place of our encampment is a small sized trout stream of great clearness and purity; the general direction of the stream is southeast.
Barometer, 24.30; morning, thermometer, 34°; elevation 5,803 feet.
Second day.—On the 23d we followed the
valley of Trail Creek twelve miles, to within sight of the valley of the
Yellowstone. Approaching the river the country became more and more
volcanic in appearance, with large masses of basaltic lava cropping out
from the high ridges on the right and left. Many of these masses
showed a perpendicular from of several hundred feet, with projections resembling
towers, castles, and other objects of interest. Several miles away
on the right, in the highest range bordering the valley, is Pyramid Mountain,
a snow-capped peak, and further to the southward a long range, also covered
with snow. On the left of the valley the foot-hills were clothed
with beautiful verdure, and the higher summits of the ranges grown up with
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