Third day. -- Throughout the forenoon it rained occasional showers, but before 12 o'clock the clouds rolled away in heavy masses along the mountain sides, the sun came out, and the atmosphere was clear again. From this point a beautiful view is obtained; the mining camp of Emigrant Gulch is nearly opposite, on a small steam coming down from the mountains, on the opposite side of the river. A few settlements have been made in this immediate vicinity, and small herds of cattle range at will over the broad extent of the valley. Our camp was situated at the base of the foot-hills, near a small grove, from which flowed several large springs of clear water, capable of irrigating the whole bottom in front. The soil here is very fertile, and lies favorably for irrigation; timber is convenient, water everywhere abundant, and the climate for this region remarkably mild. Residents informed me that snow seldom fell in the valley. Stock of every kind subsist through the winter without being fed or sheltered. Excepting the Judith Basin, I have seen no district in the western Territories so eligible for settlement as the upper valley of the Yellowstone. Several of the party were very successful during the morning in fishing for trout, of which we afterward had an abundant and continued supply. The Yellowstone here is from fifty to one hundred yards wide, and at the lowest stage four feet deep on the riffles, running over a bed of drift boulders and gravel, with a very rapid current. The flow of water is fully equal to that of the Missouri at Fort Benton, owing to the rapidity of the current, though the channel is much more narrow.
The Yellowstone trout are peculiar, being the largest variety of the genus caught in waters flowing east. Their numbers are perfectly fabulous, but their appetites extremely dainty. One may fish with the finest tackle of eastern sportsmen, when the water appears to be alive with them, all day long without a bite. Grasshoppers are their peculiar weakness, and using them for bait the most awkward angler can fill a champagne basket in an hour or two. They do not bite with the spiteful greediness of eastern brook trout, but amount to much more in the way of subsistence when caught. Their flesh is of a bright yellow color on the inside of the body, and of a flavor unsurpassed. The barometer stood here 25.10; thermometer 40°; elevation, 4,837 feet.
We moved in the afternoon at 2:30 p.m., following
the course of the valley, crossing several small streams and numerous dry
gulches on the
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