The night was clear and cold. Ice froze to the depth of one and one-half inches on still water, by morning.

Thirty-second day -- September 22. -- We started at 8 o'clock, climbing the steep slopes of the ravine, and following the table lands for several miles. The valley widened constantly, and the huge granite peaks grew higher and higher as we descended to a lower level. After following the slopes for six miles we went down to the river bank, and there found numerous prospect holes in the drift and wagon tracks, showing a near approach to settlements. In twenty-four miles the valley again fell off in steep bluffs of drift cobblestones, and we came to a lower terrace on which occasional herds of stock were seen grazing. Cottonwood timber now appeared in the place of the pines, the valley widened to twelve miles, the bottom or lowest terrace along the river being a bed of washed granite boulders lightly covered with earth for the most part, but in places bare rocks for the space of hundreds of acres. The stream ran bank-full, over a bed of the same formation. The lava no longer appeared in the valley, though huge masses cropped out from the lateral ranges. The granite peaks here tower above on the right to the height of over 3,000 feet, their bald summits glistening in the sunlight reflected from the red granite and the masses of snow. We camped on the river bank in sight of the upper settlements of the Madison. Distance, 38 miles; altitude, 4,937 feet.

Thirty-third day -- September 23. -- We moved down the river, crossing two miles below camp at a point nine miles distant from Virginia City, and striking the road to Sterling, which follows the valley for ten miles. The river then bends to the northeast through a deep gorge in the hills which bound the valley on the north. The level portions of this valley are well settled with numerous large farms near the head of the cañon and along the borders of a district overflowed at some seasons of the year. All crops are here irrigated; and small grains produce abundantly. At the point where the road leaves the valley for Sterling I separated from the Helena party -- taking a near cut over the hilly range to the Madison bridge, at the crossing of the Virginia city and Gallatin valley road. This road passes over ridges burrowed in every direction after quartz, and through ravines with arastras and quartz mills on their streams. I halted for the night at the bridge on the Madison. Distance, 35 miles.

Barometer, 25.00; thermometer, 38°; elevation, -- feet.

In the cañon of the Lower Madison are found large numbers of small petrefactions of great beauty. These are brought down by the current from the volcanic regions above, and are highly prized for settings of jewelry.

Thirty-fourth day -- September 24. -- I started for Fort Ellis at 9 a.m. The road is passable for stages, and leads over rolling hills eastward to the Gallatin Valley, which is about sixteen miles across from east to west, and thirty miles in length. The west or main branch of the Gallatin River, rising in the north rim of the great Yellowstone basin, flows northward through this valley. Its bottom lands are grown up with cottonwood, and its waters afford irrigation to fertile farms, which already support a population of over two thousand. This valley is regarded as the finest settled portion of Montana. It is superior in all natural resources to many of the most valuable districts east, and resembles in many respects the Cumberland Valley, in Pennsylvania, with the exception that nature works on a grander scale in the wilds of the West than elsewhere. The mountains are higher, the scenery is more picturesque, and the air and waters clearer than any found east of Go to next page

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