portions are heavily timbered, a circumstance very unusual in this country. The timber is wholly pine, the valley being above the region of cottonwood. The river bottom is much lower than the slopes, which terminate in bluffs on both sides of the stream. The formation is débris washed down from the mountains, and covered by a deep loamy soil. In the narrow bottom are numerous small lakes swarming with water-fowl. The river channel is extremely crooked and full of islands, and the woods abound with game of various sorts. The great Bannack trail crosses the valley from west to east, from the Snake river to the headwaters of the Gallatin. We should have skirted the foothill on the east side, and thus have avoided the timber, but were traveling by the compass and could not see the lay of the country on account of the dense forest. We camped three miles north of the two hills, near the junction of one of the streams, and eight miles from the head of the cañon through which the river flows out of the valley. Distance, 27 miles.

Barometer, 23.50; thermometer, 38°; elevation, 6,434 feet.

This district has a bad reputation, as being a place of rendezvous for the bands of horse-thieves and road agents which infest the Territory; its dense forests, moderate climate, enormous range, and abundance of game rendering it a pleasant and secure retreat for lawless men.

Thirty-first day -- September 21. -- We moved at 9:30 a.m. down the river, traveling for eight miles through a constantly narrowing arm of the valley, thickly grown up with sage brush. We then entered a cañon extending for ten miles, very crooked, with a general trend to the northwest, and breaking through a high volcanic range, heavily timbered in places. The trail was easy, and the bottom of the cañon quite hilly, heavy masses of débris having fallen from the lava summits on either side. The walls of the cañon are steep but seldom perpendicular, and numerous ravines, the channels of small streams, come in laterally. Numbers of large springs gush out, high up on the mountain sides, forming cascades which tumble down the rocks, glittering in the sunlight like ribbons of silver. This range forms a section of the outer rim of the Great Basin, and its summits are above the altitude of the drift. The river channel falls rapidly throughout the whole length of the cañon, and debouches at its outlet into the middle valley of the Madison, where we came once more into Montana scenery -- a broad valley of bare sloping ridges, flat on their summits, and composed of modified drift, with sparsely timbered mountains beyond, to the limit of vision. The river here turns sharply to the north.

Following the slope to the great range on the right, we traveled over foot-hills of drift. Numerous streams come down from the range through deep ravines worn in the slopes. The summits of the peaks are Russia granite, and some of the lower ones are ground smooth by the drift-current. The ground descends with great rapidity, and in ten miles we came to a series of bluffs, falling away northward into another and much lower terrace of the valley. The lateral streams from the range now became larger, and ran over beds of cobbles and boulders of every variety of granite, the feldspathic and Russian being most frequently found.  Surface lava cropped out on the hill-slopes, but the whole lower valley is one mass of modified drift. We camped in a deep wooded ravine by the side of a clear mountain torrent, sheltered completely from a cold wind storm which had chilled us all the afternoon. Distance, 26 miles.

Barometer, 23.60; thermometer, 32°; elevation, 6,382 feet. Go to next page

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