way. After traveling about six miles we crossed, by a difficult pathway, a spur of the mountain, coming down with a bluff bank on the edge of the stream, beyond which the valley opened out to a bottom of large extent and great beauty, back of which the foot-hills rose up in successive plateaus to the summit range. On the opposite side the steep lava mountains came in close to the stream, their lofty fronts covered with stunted timber, and their summits of naked granite piercing the sky. Several small streams ran in from the right, their banks bordered with wild cherry and cottonwood, the branches of the former broken down in many places by grizzly bears in gathering the fruit. A large portion of the bottom land is subject to overflow by the mountain streams, and bears a crop of grass, in many places waist-high. The river is skirted with shrubbery and cedars, the latter having short, thick trunks, too short for ordinary lumber, but yielding most beautiful material for small cabinet work, and of a nature susceptible of an exquisite finish. We followed up this valley about six miles, and camped on the bank of the stream upon a high plateau of drift boulders, and at the opening of an immense cañon, the lower cañon of the Yellowstone. Our mess table was here supplied with antelope, hare, ducks, and grouse killed during the day, with fish caught ad libitum in the afternoon.  Guards were established here during the night, as there were signs of a party of Indians on the trail ahead of us, all the members of the party taking their tours of this duty, and using in addition the various precautions of lariats, hobbles, &c., not to be neglected while traveling through this country. The night was very clear and somewhat chilly, a strong wind setting in down the cañon toward morning. From observations taken at this point it appears that the maximum variation between high and low-water mark in the Yellowstone is less than eight feet. Distance 12 miles.

Fourth day. -- Morning of the 25th, barometer 25.10; thermometer, 40°; elevation, 4,837 feet. Threading our way for a distance of one mile among the enormous granite boulders, we came to the foot of the cañon, through which the trail was very narrow, admitting but one animal at a time, and passing over a high spur of the mountain overlooking the river, which at this point is forced in tremendous rapids, surging through a narrow gorge and over immense boulders in the bed of the stream. The lava walls rise hundreds of feet above this trail, which passes in many places under projecting boulders, holding tenure of their places by a very slight gravitation, and threatening continually a resumption of their journey to the river bed below. Huge masses of trachyte lava, heaped together in every conceivable form, obstruct the narrow way, affording refuge in their interstices to numbers of rattlesnakes, which made hostile demonstrations on being disturbed, and remained masters of the situation after we had passed. After scrambling over rocks for a distance of two miles, we came to where the valley opens again slightly, and the trail leaving the river passes to the summit of a ridge on the right, where we found at an elevation 1,000 feet above the river a small but beautiful lake. On descending presently from the mountain we again entered the river valley, which was here from one and a half to two miles wide. The rock formation, after passing the narrow gorge, was of limestone strata, with superincumbent sandstones and shales; small deposits of gypsum appeared, and over all drift boulders were scattered, even on the summits of the higher hills; behind these granite peaks rose up, worn at their bases by the drift currents. The soil here lost its fertility, the level lands being covered with a heavy growth of sage brush, and the few streams of water impregnated with alkali. The Go to next page

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