scend that river. During the day the party
traveled in detachments. Three hunters kept several miles ahead;
next, were two skirmishers in front of the main body; and a half-mile father
back, came the main body itself, together with the pack-train. As
the skirmishers neared the river they discovered three Crows; not sitting
on a tree, but riding in their direction. With keen military sagacity,
they appreciated the position, and rallied on the main body with astonishing
rapidity. This movement was much commended by parties who had had
experience in our "late unpleasantness."
For many miles, both up and
down the river, on the side opposite Botteller's, the mountains rise somewhat
abruptly, bold and rugged, to a height of three or four thousand feet above
the river. Clumps of pines and cedars are scattered over them.
they remind one very much of the grandeur and massiveness of the Sierra
Nevada Range. A recent snow-storm had thrown a robe of purity over
the scene, which rendered it more than ordinarily beautiful.
From this point we followed
the old Indian trail, leading up the left bank of the Yellowstone.
It was generally from a fourth to a half-mile distant from the river-bank,
and near the first line of bluffs, which bound the valley or river bottom.
During the day we crossed three small streams, designated as Two-mile Creek
and Eight-mile Creek--Nos. One and Two--being about those distances from
Botteller's. At one place the trail crossed a rocky point, more than
three hundred feet above the river, which there ran beside a precipice.
The view was exceedingly fine. The valley was in sight from the mouth
of the cañon, eight miles above, to a point at least forty
miles below. The course of the river could be plainly discerned by
an unbroken line of willows, stretching away to the north-east, while in
the background the lofty, snow-capped peaks glistened midway between the
earth and the cloudless firmament above. We camped at the mouth of
the cañon, where the Yellowstone issues from the mountains.
Above that point there is no open country, until you reach the basin of
the great lake.
During the day plenty of small
game was killed, and the fishing was found to be excellent. Trout
and white-fish were abundant--and such trout! They can only be found
in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, and on the Pacific Slope.
Few of them weighed less than two pounds, and many of them over three.
they had not been educated up to the fly; but when their attention was
respectfully solicited to a transfixed grasshopper, they seldom failed
During the pleasant evening,
and the long summer twilight peculiar to a northern latitude, some made
rough sketches of the magnificent scenes by which we were surrounded; others
wrote up their notes of the trip, while the rest serenely smoked their
pipes, and listened to reminiscences from each other of by-gone times,
or other scenes somewhat similar to those we then enjoyed.
The day following we continued
our way through the cañon, up the river, which there wound
around to the east. The trail kept near the river, was very rough,
and went over several high, rocky points. Distant views were shut
out by the mountains, which constantly surrounded us. The only features
of unusual interest seen during the day were a beautiful, snow-capped mountain,
at least ten thousand feet above the sea, and the Devil's Slide, similar
to a feature so named in Echo Cañon, on the Union Pacific Railroad,
but vastly exceeding that one in size. Two perpendicular walls of
mud and rock run directly down a mountain. They are about half a
mile long, and the larger one a hundred feet Go
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