IV TWO-OCEAN WATER AND TOGWOTEE PASS:
The Jones Expedition of 1873 (continued)
Saturday, August 2  Broke camp at 8:30 a.m. and marched 14.4 miles across the divide and into the Yellowstone basin, about one mile from the pass. The trail was excellent, except the short spurt of ascent into the pass, which was severe. This slope is on a friable volcanic sandstone, carrying but little soil, and smooth and bare in many places. The horse in the odometer-cart broke down completely at this spot, and the cart had to be left behind.
After the Indian guides, I was the first to reach the summit of the pass, and, before I knew it, had given vent to a screeching yell, which was taken up with a wild echo by the Indians; for there, seemingly at their feet, and several miles nearer than I had expected, was spread out a scene of exceeding beauty Yellowstone Lake embosomed in its surrounding plateau, and a mass of green forest extending as far as we could see. Slowly, and in single file, the remainder of the party came toiling and panting up, leading their animals, and, in spite of lack of breath, each gave the same involuntary yell as the wonderland burst upon their view. Perhaps there was something that moved us in the broad and startling contrast between the dreary deserts, the sage-brush plains, the awful and majestic mountains, and that broad expanse of fresh, hazy, and sensuous beauty that looked up so invitingly at us from below; but there was also the proud feeling that we had crossed the "impassable" mountains.
There was no time to be lost, however, and I ascended a neighboring peak in company with the theodolite-and-barometer observers, to do the important work that was now presented to us. From this point it could be seen that Yellowstone Lake lay in a broad and high rolling plateau, densely covered with trees; that from it, to the west and south, there are no mountains except Mount Sheridan and the Tetons, and that the country probably slopes off gradually in those directions into the basin of Snake River. We found fresh tracks of mountain sheep exceedingly numerous, but there was so much noise that they took the alarm in time to get out of sight. Two bears came down to witness our passage, but the hostile demonstrations of our Nimrods scared them away.
We reached the camp of the main party at sundown, when it appeared that Dr. Parry and the two white guides were missing.
I have named these mountains "The Sierra Shoshonee" [Absaroka Range], because the right to name them is clearly mine, as I have been the first to cross them and mark out their geographical position and extent. Professor Hayden has called what he has seen of them and their western border sometimes the "Snowy Mountains" and sometimes the "Yellowstone Mountains," but he has also applied the latter name to a range lying south of Yellowstone Lake, that has no existence.
Sunday, August 3 Owing to a miserable contretemps, this day was lost. The trail to the lake was not found by 2 p.m., so I had the train unpacked, and went into camp without making any move. This camp was in a small opening in the forest, near a very large, gushing spring, whose temperature was 38° F. There are also, close by, some bubbling gas springs from pools of water at 38° F., that have regular one-minute intervals between times of maximum action. The gas is sulphurous acid.
Grass was very scarce and poor about camp. Measures were taken in the morning to discover our whereabouts to the supposed lost members of the party, and the odometer-cart was brought in. At 2:30 p.m. I took four packers and went back to the old trail, which we rapidly followed down to the prairie on Pelican Creek that was open to the lake. Returned to camp at 6:30 p.m., where I found a note from Captain Noyes, informing me that he had made his way to the lake, and that the three missing persons were there, and not likely to suffer, as they had killed an elk.
Monday, August 4 Broke camp at 9 a.m., and marched about eighteen miles, to the outlet of the Yellowstone Lake. The last of the three odometers gave out to-day. About six miles from camp we came upon a lake of warm water, with a multitude of diminutive hot sulphur and gas springs on its eastern shore, and some large springs breaking out from beneath the water near this shore. It is the recipient of quite a stream of pure cold water from the mountains, and has an outlet into Yellowstone Lake. On the south side of the lake is a small mud-puff, steaming and fuming away, depositing various forms of sulphur. Two kinds of rock seem to be forming in its immediate vicinity; one a conglomerate from the surface-material. A careful study of the way in which rocks are decomposed and others formed from the resulting material by the hot steam and gases from the springs of this basin ought to throw light upon the dark subject of metamorphism.
On Pelican Creek, in the timber about six miles farther on, there is another system of depositing-springs, supplying a large mass of red earths and recently-formed rocks. An analysis showed the existence in those deposits of chromium, a rare mineral.
The trail down the mountain side was through a dense forest, very much obstructed with fallen timber. Along Pelican Creek is a strip of rolling prairie, with marsh close by the stream, while near its junction with the lake the greater portion of its valley is marsh. This prairie is the home of great numbers of field mice and moles, which have burrowed up the ground to such an extent that it is traveled over with difficulty. The same is true of a great deal of the open country in the Yellowstone basin. Along the north shore of the lake the timber is interspersed with many grassy openings.
Tuesday, August 5 I sent the pack-train to Fort Ellis for supplies. It was accompanied by Captain Noyes and the escort. Lieutenant Hall and a few men remained with us. There is very little, if any, danger from hostile Indians in the park at present. Small parties of Bannacks, Mountain Crows, or Snakes ("Sheep-eaters") might try to steal something, but they are arrant cowards.
As far as my observation went, good camping grounds for parties of ordinary size can be found almost anywhere in the basin.
At this camp a complete series of astronomical and hourly meterological observations was instituted and continued during our stay.
Two p.m. found the beach sprinkled with explorers, spread out at full length, with strained eyes close to the sand, waiting for a crystal to "pop up." The sand is full of clear, sharp but diminutive crystals of different minerals, mostly silica. These crystals are perfectly shaped, and quite beautiful. They come from a porphyritic-trachyte with glassy feldspar and silica, that occurs among the igneous rocks of this region. Much of the quartz is amethystine. The north shore of the lake has a long, shallow, sloping beach of soft sand, very convenient for bathing. The temperature of the water varies between 50° F. in the morning and 65° F. in the evening. It is influenced considerably by the heat of the sun, but at any time is cold enough to break down the constitution of the strongest bather if persistently applied. I have ventured to name this place Crystal Beach for the benefit of future poets and sentimentalists.
We find, as others before us, that the trout of the lake are perfectly splendid in size and condition, but are full of parasitic intestinal worms, which leave the intestines and enter the flesh.
The forest here is made up almost exclusively of pine (P. contorta). Toward the lake their branches are stunted and bent upward toward the trunk, while on the north side (from the lake) they grow out long and free. The contrast is very noticeable, showing that the prevailing storms come from the south (southwest?). This is to be expected as the basin is all open toward the south and west, and is completely hemmed in by high mountains on all other sides.
Thursday, August 7 While breaking camp this morning a party of horsemen were discovered upon the other side of the river. They proved to be a party of officers from Fort Ellis.
After placing in a cache a lot of provisions and material, for which we did not have transportation, we started at 12 m. and marched fifteen miles to Yellowstone Falls. The river near the lake is not fordable, and generally between the lake and the falls is unfordable. Just below the mud volcano there is a ford that can be used late in the season. Our Indians stopped here, where they crossed the river to await our return upon the other side.
Two of my topographers started down the river upon a rude raft which they had constructed, expecting to get down to the falls before the main party. They were to sketch the stream and make soundings. Unfortunately about six miles below the lake they were swamped in some rapids, whose existence they had not discovered in time, and were obliged to abandon their raft, from which they escaped with much difficulty. They did not reach camp that night.
The trail is very good, about eight miles of it next to the falls being through open country. Some very fine springs occur opposite and a little below the mud volcano. Along the streams there is considerable marsh, and also along the river just above the rapids.
Friday, August 8 Decided to remain at this camp two days. We are following the trail of Captain Noyes, which here runs into the direst confusion, branching off here and there, but each part always returning upon itself. They have evidently lost the trail and have been hunting for it. We had no guides who were conversant with the country about the lake, and I had trusted to our ability to pilot ourselves by the map of Captains Barlow and Heap, United States Engineers, who were here in 1871. I sent the guides out to find a continuation of the trail, and afterward visited the upper falls and examined the rocks in the canyon and about the falls with much care. With Lieutenant Blunt I went below the fall. This required some pretty nasty climbing along the water's edge about the immediate approach, perhaps not so much from the actual danger as from the moral effect of the terrible torrent just below, which seemed to clamor and roar at the prospect of a misstep by the human intruders upon a smooth, slimy shelf of rock, scarcely wider than the foot, which had to be passed at one place. Ten or fifteen feet from the mass of falling water, just on its flank, and a little to the rear, farther progress became impossible, for here the loose debris which occurs at intervals along the torrent's edge gives out, and one stands against the face of the vertical wall of the fall gazing into the cauldron of unknown depth, which the impinging water has worn into the igneous rock, softened and disintegrated by the heated gases and vapors from God's awful laboratory beneath. By the barometer the height of this fall is 150.2 feet. Its beauty is really remarkable. The water contributes beauty of form and color, and the rocks grandeur, as from their vertical jointage they weather and are worn into vertical walls, sheer and straight, of tremendous height. Just before taking the leap, there is a sharp bend in the channel, which narrows considerably and wears out below, and to the right a huge semicircular precipice. The rocks are a porphyritic trachyte, and a loose conglomerate containing quite a large variety of igneous rocks. This conglomerate will repay future study.
We then went to the lower fall, but became separated on the way. He [Blunt] descended to the bottom of the canyon below, while my progress became obstructed at the verge of a precipice about 80 feet high, springing up from the seething waters close by the flank of the fall. The rocks, like those about the upper falls, weather vertically, and, from greater decomposition, into pinnacles and isolated slopes of debris lying thin on the softened and disintegrated surface.
I did not enjoy the sight of this fall at all, as my attention was constantly diverted to the steep and narrow gulch in the rock, at whose foot I stood, fearing that Lieutenant Blunt, whom I expected down every moment, might, by accident, start a loose stone from the debris, a mishap which would have inevitably knocked me into the waters below. Besides, there was just above me a huge drift of snow, and I began to feel certain that the time had come for it to be a small avalanche. I scrambled up the gulch with considerable difficulty, and soon found myself in camp with clothing thoroughly saturated from the spray about the falls.
During the early morning I had visited a mass of hot springs and gas-vents on the sides of a hill near camp. It seemed to me that I saw here evidences of the disintegration of the rocks by the hot waters, gases, and vapors from the springs.
I have noticed that whenever there is a mass of gaseous springs, either in action or extinct, if they come from a hill-side, the whole mass of rocks adjacent is disintegrated and of yellowish and white color.
Some of the party, while walking down the river along the edge of the grand canyon, stumbled across what is probably Captain Noyes's trail. Progress in this direction had been considered impossible. It afterward appeared that he had pushed ahead, making his own trail, after having lost half of one day in looking for the old one, which had become indistinct.
Saturday, August 9 I sent back to the cache for extra supplies, and taking a small party, including Lieutenant Blunt, Mr. Hitt, and Mr. Putnam, returned to the lower fall, where we descended to the bottom of the grand canyon. We could not approach nearer than about 100 feet from the fall. The water in the river is quite high for this season, and probably at a low stage a nearer approach can be made; but not much nearer, for soon the rocks at the water's edge slope smooth and almost vertical into the torrent, and no debris can remain along the edge of such a tremendous current; besides, there is such a dense cloud of spray that nothing could be seen even if a nearer approach were made.
I have noticed no hot springs along the river between the falls, although there is abundant evidence of their former action; but immediately below the lower, or great falls, they are quite numerous, oozing and spouting from holes in the solid rock. Here I saw three that threw up slender columns (about half an inch in diameter) of very hot water, two or three feet high, like a fountain. The flow was continuous. A similar one across the river was just below the water's edge, and is only seen as the waves recede. Down the river little columns and clouds of steam gave evidence of the existence of numerous others. I infer that there are many of these hot gas and water springs, active and extinct, along the channel of the river through the grand canyon. Other explorers report their existence wherever they have reached the bottom of it. Of those that we could examine, the greater number issued from clean holes in the hard, smooth (water-worn), rock. Probably the material deposited from the water gets washed off, while the gases stain the neighboring rocks. One spouting spring, however, had built for itself quite a symmetrical bee-hive-shaped mound of silica.
By improvising a horizontal sight we set up the barometer at about the level of the bottom of the fall, after which we ascended to its crest. We were on the right bank, where there is a narrow ridge, very steep, with loose dirt on it, which leads down to the crest of the fall. We set up the barometer here, with the feet of the tripod in the water, at the only spot where the water's edge can be approached at all. The sharp ledge of rock here overhangs the precipice, and may fall off at some future day.
From this point one gets the fullest idea of the grandeur of the fall. The depth of the cut seems immense, and the effect is heightened by the tremendous vertical wall on the right, which has a sheer height of fully 500 feet. On the face of this mighty gash in the rocks the column of falling water dwindles and appears small, and this, perhaps, is the reason the effect of the fall is not so impressive from below, or even from the bottom of the canyon; the volume of water appears small in comparison with the great height and mass that encompass it. The fall is so great that the whole volume of water seems to break into drops and spray before it reaches the bottom, and the chasm for one-third of the height from the bottom is filled with a mass of white vapor which very much lessens the apparent height to the eye looking from below. But looking down from the crest, one gets the full effect of the great height. The chasm is so deep that the trees along the bank have but a slight effect in the beauty of the surroundings. The height of the great fall from our measurements (barometrical) is 328.7 feet. This differs from the results obtained by previous parties, but from the satisfactory manner in which our altitude work checked itself, I think it can be relied upon as a reasonable approximation. After examining the rocks from the top of the canyon above the upper fall to the bottom of that below the lower fall, with a view of arriving at an explanation of their origin and the attendant phenomena, I find that at the upper fall the rock is mostly a hard porphyritic trachyte, and Professor Comstock saw two or three dikes of trap. Higher up, and outcropping between the falls, a layer of coarse, soft sandstone (conglomerate), apparently horizontal, and distinctly stratified, occurs. It carries a good deal of obsidian in coarse grains, and its debris covers a good deal of the country on both sides of the river. Below this, and to the bottom of the upper canyon, occur an amygdaloidal conglomerate; a very coarse conglomerate (rather breccia), containing reddish-brown sandstone and obsidian, with well-marked cleavage; a coarse, friable stone, made up of grains of spherulitic obsidian; and the hard porphyritic trachyte observed above the fall. Between the falls I observed no marked change in the character of the rocks. A yellowish color appears just above the lower fall, but it is only on the outside, and is evidently a stain. About and in the Grand Canyon the rocks are nearly all tinged a brilliant yellow, and along the walls are weathered largely into pinnacles with their summits tinged reddish brown. Everywhere that I broke the rocks the fracture showed clearly that the yellow color was only a tinge, and revealed their igneous character, and I tested some of the most marked specimens. I found the same hard porphyritic trachyte and granular obsidian rock that occurs above. Close by the hot springs in the canyon the trachyte carries the strongest tinge of yellow (sometimes whitish), and is sometimes converted into a cellular rock, the imbedded crystals having evidently been destroyed.
I therefore suggest, in explanation of this phenomenon, that during a former period, when Yellowstone Lake covered a much more extensive area than now, the line now occupied by the river below the lake, especially from the falls downward through the Grand Canyon, became the line of escape for the hot gases, vapors, and chemical waters from the volcanic depths below: that their action softened and disintegrated the rocks until the waters of the lake could wear them away and form the present river-channel. There is evidently a sudden break in the quantity of this action at the falls, with its maximum effect below; consequently the Grand Canyon commences in a very marked manner. This view is further supported by the fact before alluded to, that generally where these hot springs come out of the side of a hill, that side is excessively eroded and the rocks stained yellow. In the deep traverse gulches that lead into the Grand Canyon from the east, there is an excessive quantity of thermal and gaseous spring action. In many of these spots I have noticed what appeared to be solid rock, with the greatest similarity of outward contour to the undoubted igneous rocks close by, into which the finger could be thrust with ease, although the interior would be found very hot. A further examination than I had time to make would prove whether or not these are igneous rocks disintegrated by heat and chemical action, as I am much inclined to believe.
As the jointage is vertical, or nearly so, the walls of the canyon weather vertically.
Notwithstanding the remarkably extensive evidences of volcanic action, we have seen nothing yet that could be satisfactorily identified as an extinct crater.
Deer-flies (a kind of horse-fly), mosquitoes, and gnats are very numerous below the lake, and future travelers should be well supplied with netting, both for themselves and animals. They are not troublesome at night, owing to the cold. In other mountain localities they disappear with the extremely cold nights of July, but here, in the vicinity of the hot springs, they find plenty of warm rocks to roost upon when the nights are cold, so they can live on for an indefinite lateness of season.
Sunday, August 10 Started on the march at 10 a.m., with the pack-mules very heavily loaded. The trail, for a considerable distance, follows close to the canyon through a dense wood, and is quite difficult. Marched twelve miles to Orange Creek. Much of the cargo had to be thrown off on the way, to be sent back for on the following day. The chief difficulty was in getting through the thick timber, which had not been sufficiently cleared away.
Monday, August 11 Remained in camp. Provisions are getting low; sent back to the cache for what was left there. One of our cooks was lost in the forest, and remained out over night. I felt much worried, because it is a serious thing for a man to get lost in these forests as there are no landmarks visible from which he can determine his position.
Tuesday, August 12 Sent parties out to the highest neighboring points to fire signals, and also sent out a guide to make a circuit around camp and find, if possible, the trail of the lost cook. Rain had been falling all night, and was still falling. Our efforts were successful, and the poor fellow came in about 10 a.m. in a pitiable plight, having had neither fire nor food. Rain was falling so hard that it was not considered advisable to move camp. It cleared up, however, by 1 p.m., when, with Lieutenant Hall, I started, with a few pack-mules and such of the cargo as was not required for immediate use, to carry it forward on the trail as far as possible. Our means of transportation were so limited that it took us two days to make one march. We moved fourteen miles to the East Fork divide, and returned to camp by sundown, leaving the cargo under proper guard.
Hot springs are very numerous along this trail, and the whole atmosphere is saturated with their vapors to that extent that we were somewhat nauseated by them. The trail follows for a while an old Indian trail, which, becoming too difficult, Captain Noyes had evidently abandoned it, and tried to get around by the head of the sharp ravines. It led in a very tortuous manner through heavy forests and over very steep hills. Along the bank of the Grand Canyon, by bridging a few of these ravines and deep gulches, a very easy road could be made.
Wednesday, August 13 Broke camp at 9 a.m., and marched twenty-eight miles, directly over the highest point of the East Fork divide, to the East Fork of the Yellowstone River [Lamar River], one mile from the bridge over the latter stream. Through the ranchman at the bridge we have news of Captain Noyes and the train. Knowing that we would be short of provisions before he could get back to us, he had made a very rapid march into Fort Ellis and would probably get back to us in five or six days.
While on the high summit of the East Fork divide we were greeted with quite a severe mountain storm. During the march along the trail among the numerous hot springs we were again nauseated as on the day before.
On Orange Creek, near our last camp, occurs a notable mass of springs that have so cut down and discolored the rocks that I named the locality Orange Rock Springs. Orange Creek is a wild mountain-stream, running at this point through a picturesque canyon whose walls are fully 200 feet high. From the bed and banks of the stream, and at the foot of the canyon walls, countless springs are issuing. The air is saturated with gases; the noise deafening, and the smell sickening. The spot has most of the physical characteristics of our best authenticated conceptions of hell; and one of our guides, who discovered it, did not tarry, for he felt certain that "the devil was not far off." The stream dashes over a series of rapids and cascades. The rocks are disintegrated and discolored with the greatest variety of hues white, yellow, red, various shades of green, brown, and drab. Along the summit of the canyon walls lie huge blocks ready to drop off, while the foot of the slope is strewn with masses of fragments of the trachytic rock. On the northeast side, close by the water, is an exceedingly large jet of steam, escaping under such pressure from a narrow fissure that the noise is deafening. The steam smells of a sulphur gas, and is excessively hot. Close around it are three large hot springs with steam issuing from them, one of which is turbid white and quiet, while the other two are boiling and geyser-like. Very little water escapes from them by the surface into the stream. Directly across the stream, a little to the west, is a large boiling fountain spring, with an outlet whose channel is lined with silica. Besides, there are multitudes of small gas-jets, depositing sulphur in a variety of forms.
Where the trail crosses a small tributary of Broad Creek is another active mass of springs. Among them, one elliptical in shape and about 20 by 30 feet in opposite diameters, is quiet, has a whitish scum, and emits a sulphur gas. It has a slight overflow. Another of dark drab mud is 15 by 31 feet across, and is constantly in violent ebulition, throwing the mud 2 and 3 feet high. Steam and gas escape from it.
I decided to wait in this vicinity until the return of the train from Fort Ellis.
Thursday, August 14 Sent back for the cargo left on the trail yesterday.
Across the stream, to the north from our camp, is a high ridge of granite, whose direction is not at first sight apparent. It runs across the creek close by camp, where it is quite low, and the surface debris can be seen for some distance to the south. A little east from us it shows two well-marked crags close by the south bank of the creek, which latter makes through it a sharp canyon commencing about two miles from its mouth. About 200 yards farther up it cuts through a layer of sandstone, carrying numerous fossil plants, which rest upon a bed of volcanic conglomerate. This latter crops out extensively along the stream above, and its debris is scattered over the rounded hills to the south. It is certainly peculiar. We have seen it in varied conditions and structure. All of the way across, from one side of the mountains to the other, at the Washakee Needles, and, in fact, everywhere that we have come in contact with these mountains, it can be recognized in the distance by its columnar and fantastic weathering, and somber brown, sometimes almost black, hue. It is made up of a smoothly-rounded debris of a great variety of volcanic rocks, in sizes varying from a pebble to enormous bowlders. I have seen these latter in position that were from 10 to 15 feet in diameter, and others that clearly came from it very much larger. Along this stream it carries large bowlders of granite and basalt. Being so near to the granite ridge just mentioned, I was doubtful about the source of the granite bowlders until I found a huge one in the bed of the stream with some of the matrix still clinging to it, and shortly afterward numbers of them stuck along a vertical wall of the conglomerate. It is probable that the blocks of granite strewn over the country south from camp are from this source, because they appear to be rounded from wear rather than from concretionary structure, while the granite of the ridge is lamellar, and gneissic in structure. A notable feature of the conglomerate is that it is frequently stained and its constituents sometimes thoroughly impregnated with a green mineral (silicate of iron), which might easily be mistaken for carbonate of copper.
As far up East Fork as can be seen from these granite knobs the valley is quite open, fairly timbered with spruce, pine, and aspen, and is clothed with excellent grass on the rolling country between the canyons where the stream cuts through some minor ridges. On these there are many ponds of stagnant water. To the north and northeast the mountains are very high and rugged.
Friday, August 15 I started at 7 a.m. with a small party, carrying rations and bedding on our saddles, for the Great Hot Springs on Gardiner's River, distant twenty miles down the Yellowstone. We made our nooning near a lovely fall of the east fork of Gardiner's River, after traversing a beautiful country of high, rolling hills, well watered, with excellent grass everywhere, and wood scattered here and there in groves and masses. At the fall the rock is basalt, stained to a dull yellowish hue. The weathering about it and in the canyon below is quite similar to that about the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone.
A beautiful effect is produced about half-way down the face of the fall, where a horizontal dish-like ledge juts out from the wall. Some of the falling water rushes down and into the dish of the ledge, so that its impetus throws it up again at several points in low, heavy fountain-like jets, while another portion jumps clear over and beyond the ledge, in a thin transparent sheet whose convex surface looks exceedingly like a glass cover preserving the little fountains beneath from defilement.
We reached the springs at 3 p.m., and spent the afternoon looking over this very interesting and beautiful phenomenon. A settlement has sprung up here for the purpose of accommodating sight-seers and bathers. I have not much confidence in the bathing properties of the water.
Saturday, August 16 Completed an examination of the springs and the surrounding country, and started back to camp, which we reached at 8:30 p.m. As the Great Hot Springs have been described and thoroughly photographed, I will only offer an explanation of their structure, as my views materially differ from any that I have yet seen advanced. The maximum temperature of the water given (164° F.) was obtained by Dr. Heizmann and myself by penetrating through the clouds of steam and over the hot and dangerous crust to the main fissure, from which the water was escaping with considerable violence. Looking back at this performance it seems foolhardy; for no one can tell, in such a mass of steam, whether the crust under their feet about the edge of the fissure is firm, or thin and overhanging, a common feature. These springs . . . are the source of a small stream which empties into a sink near Gardiner's River, a short distance above where the latter joins the Yellowstone. The water comes out at temperatures varying from 92° F. to 164° F.; the latter at the fissure, where the maximum quantity of water is escaping now, and is strongly impregnated with certain minerals, principally calcite, which latter it deposits profusely in thin layers upon exposure to the atmosphere. The springs originally came out at the top of the hill above them, which I should judge to be fully 1,000 feet above those in action now.
The effect of the rapid deposition from the water is quite remarkable, there being formed by this agency level-topped hills, sometimes 200 feet high in successive terraces, one below the other down the slope of the hill probably along a line of rupture in the rocks their faces slowing beautifully corrugated surfaces which imitate very closely the Meandrina coral, and display, while the water is flowing over in thin sheets, delicate and coarse tints of carmine, pink, rose, yellow, and brown.
The proof that the progress of these formations is from the top downward, and not from the bottom upward, as explained by Professor Hayden, is conclusive; at the top, the springs are all dead, and the deposits are decayed and almost hidden beneath vegetable loam from the dense forest that has overgrown them, while all of the active springs are at or near the bottom. He saw the dead remains at the top, but after observing closely their characteristics as hot-spring deposits, he falls into the strange error of saying: "But in what manner was it formed? I believe that the limestone was precipitated in the bottom of a lake, which was filled with hot springs, much as the calcareous matter is laid down in the bottom of the ocean at the present time. * * * The deposit was evidently laid down on a nearly level surface and the strata are horizontal."
After the water ceases flowing the surface bleaches snow-white or bluish-gray.
The process commences with the water running from one hole or fissure, . . . or several, under sufficient pressure to rise as a column to a height varying with the pressure, and from thence flowing off down the hill, with its surface covered with concentric ripples, caused by pulsations in the current; along the scolloped lines of these ripples lie the minimums of velocity in the flow, and the maximums of deposition of sediment; consequently, little wave-lines of ridges commence forming very soon, and, once started, another check to the velocity is introduced whose value is continuously increasing. This, in time, makes shallow pools, which are soon filled up with sediment, and in time the upper ones merge into one large one around and below the orifice, on a level with it and bordered by a scolloped rim, over which the water flows in a continuous sheet. The water flowing over this rim and downward, builds up, as the rim rises and advances outward, a steep slope with the maze of corrugations on its surface that result from its rapid throbbing flow. Any serious obstruction on this slope will bring about the formation of a secondary pool on the face of it, a feature of common occurrence. This process builds up a large hill, with the large shallow pools on top of it, but everywhere on its slopes and top-surface the slightest cause tends to produce the general results just described in miniature. Hence, on top we find the large pools whose surfaces are literally meshed with the scolloped rims before described, and the slopes are studded with little shallow basins with scolloped rims and corrugated sides, the hill itself in miniature.
It was along these rims that Dr. Heizmann and I made our way to the very edge of the largest orifice and took the temperature of the water in it. The spring thus builds for itself a characteristic mound of great beauty, both of form and color, which ultimately becomes its tomb.
For, in due course of time, the level surface about the orifice becomes raised so high that the water can no longer flow out and over it, whereupon the deposition gradually chokes it up with thin, cellular curved layers of calcite.
Now, if the cause of this action were continuous and of constant power, the spring would break out again in a favorable spot, and build up another mound of about the same height, and the process would be repeated so long as there remained any possible means of escape for the confined waters in that locality. But, although the cause is thus far continuous, the power is actually decreasing, as is evidenced by the extensive distribution of the dead relics of former volcanoes and the multitude of extinct and waning thermal springs; consequently, where the spring breaks out afresh, it must, in this case, be at some point lower down, as the line of rupture in the crust of surface-rock evidently runs downward toward Gardiner's River, and a new mound will be built up of less height than the last one. Sometimes small vents have broken out below the level of maximum action, producing a fountain-spring, throwing a jet of water nearly as high as the level of the principal spring. The deposition from this would produce a cylindrical column, with the top narrower and rounded. . . .
The "Liberty Cap" described by Hayden, and a similar column near it, are illustrations of this, and there are other examples higher up. If, instead of such an orifice, there should be a narrow fissure, a sharp, rounded ridge would result, of which there are numerous examples. Local circumstances may concentrate the force in certain small orifices or fissures, and thus keep up the action in a feeble manner at a level where the principal action is extinct. Thus there is now feeble action on three or four levels above the principal one, which at one place has produced an illustration of all the structural peculiarities on a diminutive scale.
Sometimes the water has found a vent lower down, before the orifices above have closed over, thus leaving the craters bare, displaying numerous small caves.
I infer that the hill of maximum action now has about reached maturity from the fact that the water from the principal orifice is only thrown a little above the surface. We may, therefore, expect springs to break out lower down the hill, if indeed they have not already done so.
Among the peculiarities of deposition are delicately beautiful hollow spheres, about one-eighth of an inch in diameter, sometimes open on the top, with a lid. They are so thin and fragile as to break at the slightest touch. I put forward with some hesitation a curious explanation of their origin. From the soft sediment at the bottom of the pools about the main orifice, small bubbles of carbonic-acid gas are constantly but quite sluggishly arising. Now, the deposition is here so rapid that any bubble that lingers a certain length of time on the bottom as many of them can be seen doing at any time receives a coat of it over its film of surface sufficient to keep it there, thus forming a fossil bubble. Lying there on the bottom, it is soon surrounded and covered up with the ordinary material of deposition. This is the origin of the small spherical cells which are so marked a feature of the rocks deposited from these springs. Certain forms of coral are imitated, notably the Madrepores and Meandrina; stalactitic forms are common, and the soft deposit in the pools seems to harden into an irregular interlaced mass of strings and fibers.
Sunday, August 17 I went out today with the miners at the bridge to a place called by them "Specimen Mountain," a noted locality for amethysts, forms of chalcedony, opal, and silicified wood. We were fortunate in finding some notably fine specimens of amethysts and yellow crystals of quartz. The containing-rock is the igneous conglomerate, before mentioned. In it, at this locality, are a good many silicified trees, the hollows of which are frequently lined, in short sections, with varieties of quartz in very beautiful and perfectly preserved crystal forms; rock-crystal, yellow, blue, amethyst, and opal, and many kinds of chalcedony. The amethysts seem to predominate. In the process of silicification these trees generally become divided into short sections by cleavage planes at right angles to their length. It is these sections that are occasionally hollow and lined with crystals, the adjacent sections being plain, unpretentious petrified wood. Much of the latter is perfectly black, as though it had been carbonized by heat before the fossilizing material came in.
Loaded with specimens and very tired, I reached camp a little after dark. Camp had been this day moved three miles across the river, to meet the train from Fort Ellis. Mr. John Baronett has built here a very substantial bridge across the Yellowstone River for the use of miners visiting the head at East Fork. It is only suitable now for pack-animals.
Monday, August 18 Pack-train in charge of Lieutenant Young arrived at 3 p.m. from Fort Ellis, with twenty days' supplies for the escort and twenty days' supplies for my working party.
Tuesday, August 19 Moved camp seventeen miles, across the Elephant's-back Mountains [Washburn Range] to Yellowstone Falls. The trail proved very bad; many animals fell down hill, and there was considerable bad bog. The train was pretty badly used up, and two mules were lost; all this, too, after leaving half the cargo at the old camp to be sent back for. The odometer is again in use, having been repaired at Fort Ellis. Camped on Cascade Creek. Along the trail the country is pretty open north of the mountains, with excellent grass, plenty of water, and groves of trees. Across the divide the forest is quite thick, with small openings of meadow. There are three trails across the divide, and we unfortunately took the worst one. I made the ascent of Mount Washburn with a topographical party.
Wednesday, August 20 Sent back to the old camp for the cargo left behind yesterday. The lost mules were found. Lieutenant Kingsbury with the escort arrived at 2 p.m. from Fort Ellis; they had staid behind to get their horses shod. Captain Noyes had been taken sick and could not join us. He proposes to meet us at Camp Brown.
Thursday, August 21 We remained in camp, shoeing the animals and resting them. Rain fell during the whole day. Sent to the cache for the remainder of the cargo left there.
Friday, August 22 In camp; rained all day.
Saturday, August 23 Moved camp thirteen miles to the Hot Springs, on Warm Spring Creek, where it emerges from the timbered hills. The Indians were in camp on this stream waiting for us. Our party, with the exception of Captain Noyes, was now altogether again. The country along this creek, for about eight miles from Yellowstone River, is an open, rolling prairie, extensively burrowed by moles and field mice. About the springs the water of the creek and its tributaries is either hot or sour, frequently both. We found good water, after a little search, in a marsh above the springs, on the South Fork.
Sunday, August 24 Marched 13.3 miles across the divide between the Yellowstone and the Madison, to the Lower Geyser Basin, on Fire-Hole River; met two parties of sight-seers from Montana. The trail passes by a small lake, very near the summit, and down a sharp but short hill, on the west side of the divide, and soon strikes the waters of the Madison. The size of this stream has been exaggerated; it is from two to three feet deep. A depth of 10 feet, as reported, would overflow its banks and the whole valley. Along this stream there is a good deal of marsh, meadow and many groves of timber. Good water can be easily found in the Geyser Basin by hunting for it.
Monday, August 25 Marched ten miles to the Upper Geyser Basin. The trail from the Lower to the Upper Geyser Basins is very bad from marsh; with a little trouble it could be carried along the hillside through the timber and made very good. Fire-Hole River is the principal East Fork of the Madison. Its waters in the Geyser region are generally quite warm, sometimes hot; just above Old Faithful, in the Upper Basin, it becomes cool and potable again.
The boiling water from the silica springs was used for cooking and found very convenient. The structure of the geysers or silica springs is quite similar to that of the calcite springs on Gardiner's River, except that the silica deposits slowly, while the calcite deposits rapidly, making a corresponding difference in the size and shape of the mounds formed. There is a good deal of silica (geyserite) about the springs in a soft, pasty condition from solution in the presence of alkaline salts, which ought to throw light upon the formation of chalcedony. Other explorers have devoted much of their time and attention to the description and explanation of these geysers and springs, to which, in my hasty visit, I have seen nothing to add. Further elucidation must be the result of careful observation and study, over greater periods of time than are at the disposal of exploring parties; besides, the question of getting back to Camp Brown is becoming rather serious; the pack-train is badly used up, from traveling excessively laden (the cargoes average over 250 pounds), over bad trails, and there is considerable doubt whether the rations will hold out while we are making our way through the "impassable" country at the head of Wind River, described by our forerunners.
The immediate difficulty, however, is that the Indians have failed to find the trail back to Yellowstone Lake. They seem to be nonplussed and are depending upon me, and this evening informed me that we were lost. The explanation of this is that they are "plains Indians" and are wholly unaccustomed to travel among forests like these, where all landmarks disappear. It will, therefore, be necessary to make a trail no pleasant prospect in such a country, where one has so many people and animals dragging along after, to multiply the consequences of getting caught out in the dense forest without any camping place. An individual or an animal might easily stray a short distance from the trail and get lost, if there was any halting or confusion, and to get lost in this dense forest, where the hills are so rounded that nothing can be seen from their tops, would be a terribly serious matter.
Tuesday, August 26 Taking a picked party of Indians, the guide Smith, and the escort as pioneers to blaze and clear the trail, I started out early in the morning, with the intention of making a trail to Yellowstone Lake, if the old one could not be found. The train was to wait until 10 o'clock before starting. After a short and fruitless search I took out a compass, and giving the Indians the direction, told them to go that way all the time, and pick out the best way. This they did with great skill, but as our route lay directly across the water-drainage, the hills were frequent, and the trail pretty rough.
An Indian seems to have an instinct which enables him to pick out the best country to travel over, and to avoid natural obstacles.
Four p.m. found the advance party at the lake, at the spot we had set out for, but it was perfectly certain that the train would have to stop on the way. Fortunately there were suitable camping places along the trail. With empty stomachs, and saddle blanket lodgings, we made a large fire, and spent a remarkably long night in vain efforts at sleep.
Wednesday, August 27 The minimum thermometer last night registered 13° F., the greatest cold we have yet experienced. At 8 a.m. an orderly arrived with a message from Lieutenant Hall, commanding the escort, informing me that the mules of the train were so badly used up that it could not move today. Much of the cargo had been thrown off along the trail, and one loaded mule was lost. Later in the morning Lieutenant Hall himself arrived and further informed me of the state of affairs. The odometer-cart had worn out completely and was abandoned. The packers had gone back on the trail to gather up the cargo and find the lost mule. Sending all back to camp except the Indians, my orderly, and the guides, I remained to look up the trail ahead.
By noon, having gone without food since morning of the day before, the pangs of hunger overcame a violent prejudice and I ate some fish from the lake, worms and all. The Indians have been eating these wormy fish all along and I doubt whether there is anything injurious about them. I might have obtained something to eat from them, but there is a feeling in the average white man's breast which prevents him from asking such a favor from an Indian. It is very unreasonable, but it is there. The Indian, on the other hand, asks favors from the white man, feeling within himself that all that the white man has belongs to him, and he is therefore only getting back his own. He never returns thanks for such favors.
The principal difficulty on the trail yesterday was that it was not sufficiently cleared to allow the pack-mules to get through without getting frequently stuck between trees a mishap in which a mule will waste strength enough to carry him and his pack several miles.
I have often been struck with the philosophical way that a packer proceeds from the grass that a mule eats to the work that it will do. In his eyes so much grass represents so much mule-work, and no grass represents pretty nearly no work, while it is true that very little work can be expected of a train of pack-mules that have not eaten pretty nearly their fill of grass or something else before starting.
Thursday, August 28 The train came in during the morning and went into camp at the Hot Springs on the lake three miles ahead. The trail was good, but somewhat obstructed with timber along the shore of the lake. There is a first-rate trail along the west side of the lake, over which I would have sent the greater part of the expedition had I known of its existence, thus avoiding the Fire-Hole Basin, and our trials in getting away from it. It would have been perfectly easy to get a small party from that basin to the lake.
Along the west shore of the lake are numerous small streams with meadows and marsh.
The lost mule, with a cargo of flour, beans, and coffee, was not found yesterday, although the search was carried back to our camp in the Fire-Hole Basin. Word was left with some gentlemen visiting the geysers, who were coming across on our trail, to take this mule back to Fort Ellis in case it should find its way back to the trail before they came along. Our rations were too short to permit any more time to be spent in search and it was therefore abandoned. [The mule was found and turned in to the quartermaster at Fort Ellis.]
The flour belonged to the escort and is a severe loss, necessitating half rations of bread for them during the remainder of the trip.
At night the Indians in camp up the valley had a scalp-dance over two Sioux scalps that had been given by the Crows to two of the Indians with Captain Noyes's party going to Fort Ellis, who had visited the Crow agency. They invited everybody to join, which invitation was eagerly accepted by the young men of my party, the guides, packers, and soldiers. This dance gives every one a chance to sing and yell with all his might, and they literally made the welkin howl. There was considerable lung-power in action. The waves of sound were echoed back and forth from the woods and hills on either side of the narrow grassy valley, and came billowing to the lake with a tremendous effect, which was heightened by the lurid glare from the numerous camp-fires standing out in the darkness against the mass of black forest behind. The West Pointers in the party called it "Our twenty-eighth hop."
Friday, August 29 I made arrangements for the main party to move along the south shore of the lake toward the river, and started at 11 a.m. with Professor Comstock and a topographical party to make the ascent of Mount Sheridan, about ten miles south of the lake.
The country is covered with a dense mass of timber on low rounded hills, with the fallen timber so bad as to make much of the country impassable for animals. There was no trail and no one who knew anything about the country. I went ahead, steering by the compass, going around the masses of fallen timber and picking out the highest ground and ridges to travel over. We were lucky enough to make camp at the foot of the mountain after a march of between three and four hours. We could not see it at all at starting, and only caught one glimpse of it on the way before we came directly upon it, and yet it towers to a height of 3,000 feet above the surrounding country.
Saturday, August 30 Started up the mountain 7 a.m.; a very late start for such work. As there was no chance to reconnoiter, we had the ill luck to take the longest and most laborious line of ascent. The party becoming separated, to my great surprise I reached the summit first at 9:45 a.m., and the rest of the party an hour later. Thinking myself behind I had made great haste so as to reach the summit before the others were ready to come down.
Mount Sheridan is a high mountain mass, rising alone from the rapidly sloping hills of the Snake River drainage, just south of the Yellowstone divide. All the rocks seen were igneous, sometimes stained and decomposed from hot-spring action. Springs and feeble geysers being still in action along the streams from its north and east slopes.
To the east and southeast is a ridge of high timbered hills, which sweeps around to the northward and terminates in Promontory Point at the south end of the lake. To the south, as far as the Wind River range, about sixty miles distant, the country is a mass of high timbered ridges, formed by the erosion of the waters of Snake River, all rapidly sloping down to the eastern base of the Tetons, which lie south 10° west, about forty miles distant.
Westward, and from the Tetons, there are no mountains, only low, rounded, heavily timbered hills, as far as the eye can reach. To the northwest commence the high ridges of bald mountains which lie between the different tributaries of the Gallatin and Madison Rivers. Between Mount Sheridan and the lake, the divide between the Snake and Yellowstone waters the Continental Divide is certainly not more than 300 feet above the lake, and in many places runs within a mile of the latter. It is a broad, comparatively low, gently rounded stretch of country, so flat on top that the opposite-shedding waters are frequently interlocked. It is dotted with lakes, some quite large, and carries a good deal of marsh and strips of meadow along the streams. All of the lakes in sight, except one, drain into the Snake River.
The divide between the waters of the Madison and the Yellowstone, above the falls, is a stretch of smooth hills, rising but little above the Yellowstone Basin, and having steep, rocky slopes only in few places. All of the country in the basin about Yellowstone Lake and extending far to the westward is very densely timbered, with only small openings along the streams and about the marshes.
There is a great deal of fallen timber, such as to sometimes completely obstruct progress, but I have observed that the most and the worst of it lies in the immediate neighborhood of water, either in lake, stream, or marsh, and can be very largely avoided by traveling high up on the hills and ridges. Along the shores of Yellowstone Lake a great deal of water is held in the numerous swamps which afford a constant supply to the multitude of small brooks feeding into the lake. There is, consequently, here an excessive quantity of fallen timber.
The huge mass of the Sierra Shoshonee Mountains closes in and around to the northward of the basin, showing a comparatively low granite ridge running from the East Fork with a northerly trend down the right bank of the Yellowstone River. The highest portion of this mass seems to be that northeast from the basin, about the headwaters of Clark's Fork and the Rosebud. Northward from there it soon runs out and makes way for the valley of the Lower Yellowstone River. Its structure seems to be buried beneath the most extensive outpouring of lava and volcanic matter yet observed on the globe. Along its eastern base we gained only an inkling of its structure from the dip of the upper-lying rocks. Probably the key lies in the country on the Muscle-Shell River, to the northward. It is probable that the southern portion of this volcanic overflow at one time overlaid the northeastern slopes of the Wind River range, and that the erosion of the drift period has cut a channel through on this flank, forming the Wind River Valley and leaving the extensive deposits of volcanic debris in the valley as well as tremendous precipices of castellated basalt, trachytes, conglomerates, and sandstone that fringe and seemingly seal its head and northern border. I had the topography of the country in sight from this station sketched with great care and reasonable precision. It is the best geodetic station in the region traversed. My topographical party has now inspected the Yellowstone Lake Basin from mountain-peaks favorably situated on its eastern, northern, and southern borders.
We commenced the descent at 12:30 p.m., and as soon as possible took up the march for the main party. Their trail was struck at 5 p.m., and followed until sundown, when we camped on the spot they had left in the morning.
The smoke was still rising from the smouldering fires and the ground still fresh on their departing trail. As I rode up to the scene so lately rife with the jest; the coarse shouts of laughter; the murmuring of many voices; the bugle's blast; the loud words of command; the round-toned, cadenced shouts of the Indians; the shrill, clarionet-like cry of the squaws; the crying of papooses; the barking of dogs; neighing of horses; braying of mules; the roaring and crackling of great camp-fires; and the occasional rifle or pistol shot at some misguided squirrel it seemed utterly cheerless and desolate. What can appear more desolate than a freshly deserted camp?
Sunday, August 31 We have now only twelve days' rations, and between us and Camp Brown is the "impassable barrier never scaled by white man or Indians." If it were not for the question of provisions I would laugh at it, because we have an outfit that can go almost anywhere; but the question of time now assumes an unhappy importance, and I begin to feel much worried.
We arose at daylight, cooked a hasty breakfast, and started off at sunrise, overtaking the main party at 9 a.m. on Yellowstone Lake, just as they were preparing to start on the march. They had made one march of ten miles over a good trail, and the one of the day before of nine miles, which had been beset with difficulties, owing to the attempt to follow the lake-shore too closely. There was no trail, but a great deal of marsh and fallen timber.
Owing to some misunderstanding, the Indians had become angry with Lieutenant Hall, and considerable jealousy had sprung up among themselves, whereat the greater portion of them had left our camp and gone off.
After a short rest I started off with the guides to make a trail. It was pretty rough for a few miles, but after that we struck a good trail, with many freshly blazed trees marking it. A queer freak of the disaffected Indians was here displayed. They had deserted the main party and gone on ahead, when, finding this excellent trail, they had freely blazed it with their hunting-knives for quite a distance until the work and slow progress involved became monotonous. I regarded this as an olive-branch, and treated them very kindly, as though nothing had happened, when we passed them. They staid away two or three days and then came back in driblets, but I never, by word or sign, let them know that their absence had been thought of. Their own jealousy continued a few days longer, and then everything went on as happily as before.
We marched ten miles and camped at the extremity of the arm of the lake that we left this morning. There is a well-marked beach along this shore of the lake, but it is frequently deceptive and dangerous from quicksands where the water comes in from marshes above; the timber gradually becomes more open and meadows replace the swamps; the country to the south rises rapidly into hills of considerable magnitude, and the water drains off too rapidly to permit the formation of much marsh.
Monday, September 1 Broke camp and marched ten miles into the valley of the Upper Yellowstone River. The trail strikes the southeast arm of the lake, thence following up the valley of a small tributary of the lake whose course is parallel to the river to a point high up on the hills bordering the west side of the valley. The latter part is pretty bad from marsh and underbrush. Our camp was about ten miles from the mouth of the river.
The valley about the mouth is very marshy, with numerous small ponds and sloughs. There is also a great deal of timber on the low grounds on the west side, but from its proximity to water there must be in it a great deal of fallen timber to impede progress.
While the advance was quietly following a first-rate trail, it was suddenly observed to lead up a high hill to our right. I sent an Indian to see what became of it up there, who came back with the information that it led to an open rocky place on top, and was after that "kaywut" (played out). It now appeared that the top of the hill was used as a stamping ground for elk, and they had made such a broad trail leading up to it as to completely deceive us. Sending back word to the train to go into camp, we started in search of our lost trail, which was soon found considerably lower down in the valley.
We have now reached a country from which one of our Indians says he knows the way back to Camp Brown by the head of Wind River. He belongs to a band of Shoshones called "Sheep-eaters," who have been forced to live for a number of years in the mountains away from the tribe. A heavy rainstorm set in about nightfall.
Tuesday, September 2 Broke camp a.m. and marched up the Yellowstone River thirteen miles. The trail leaves the timber and goes into the open valley. This latter is probably quite marshy earlier in the season. It is also probable that the river is not fordable in the spring.
The storm of last night burst out about noon with. great violence and continued during the day and night. A good deal of snow fell in the mountains about 1,000 feet above us.
We camped in the edge of a grove of pines with a dense fringe of fallen timber on its border. It was a cold, wet camp in the border of the timber, and considerably mixed withal. As it was raining hard when we reached it, everybody dropped into the first place that presented itself; the fallen timber monopolized nearly all of the ground, so that there was little choice; the result was that Indians, soldiers, citizens, and officers were all camped together in the direst confusion, on a small spot that it seemed possible almost to cover with a blanket.
All through this basin game-tracks have been very abundant, but our party from its size makes a good deal of noise, which will account for the fact that we did not see a great deal. A magnificient elk crossed the valley in advance of us, and in plain sight today. He was a royal fellow, indeed, and seemed to resent our intrusion upon his chosen rutting ground. The party was too much drenched and too cold from the driving rain to make any attempt to get him; the first instance of the escape of anything (except bear) that came in sight of it. The trail was very good except the last mile, which was quite marshy.
Wednesday, September 3 The storm continued. Broke camp 8 a.m. and marched thirteen miles. The trail soon leaves the main stream and follows up a small tributary that comes in from a little west of south, crossing a low divide to a tributary of the Snake.
At this divide occurs a curious phenomenon, probably the one referred to by the early trappers as the "Two Ocean Pass."
Marching at the head of the column where the trail approached the summit, I noticed that the riband of meadow in which lay the stream we had been following suddenly dropped away in front of us with a contrary slope. I could still see the stream threading it, and for a moment could scarcely believe my eyes. It seemed as if the stream was running up over this divide and down into the Yellowstone behind us. A hasty examination in the face of the driving storm revealed a phenomenon less startling perhaps, but still of remarkable interest. A small stream coming down from the mountains to our left I found separating its waters in the meadow where we stood, sending one portion into the stream ahead of us, and the other into the one behind us the one following its destiny through the Snake and Columbia Rivers back to its home in the Pacific; the other, through the Yellowstone and Missouri, seeking the foreign water. On the Snake River side of the divide the stream becomes comparatively large at once, being fed by many springs, and a great deal of marsh.
While the small advance party was approaching camp two of our Indians discovering three elk close by gave us an illustration of skillful hunting by crawling up and killing the three with four rifle shots. They were extremely large and fat. As examples of Indian generosity to white men are becoming rare, I wish to put on record this one where one of them made me a present of the whole carcass of one of these elk. Being hungry enough to eat it all myself, after the long march in the cold rain, I had a vivid appreciation of the gift.
The trail was good, passing around a beautiful lake in the Yellowstone Valley, which is probably the Bridger Lake of the old maps.
The valley of the Upper Yellowstone is quite flat, and lies between grand and rugged walls of bare, broad mountains of volcanic ejectamenta. It is from one to three miles wide, and interspersed with broad meadows, and groves of pine and spruce. The amount of water that it receives from the slopes on either side is astonishing, and accounts sufficiently for its marshy character.
There is a remarkable discrepancy between the volume of water in the river above and below the lake. The storm prevented us from making observations for a comparison, and I can only say that above the lake the stream seems ridiculously small compared to what it is below. The volume of water which the lake receives from small streams and the numberless marshes along its border must be very great.
In conclusion, I may perhaps be pardoned for referring to the opinions that previous explorers have held with regard to the character of the undertaking accomplished by this expedition.
From the report for the year 1872 of N. P. Langford, superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park, I extract the following:
As late as 1860, Captain Raynolds was foiled in repeated efforts to cross the barrier. While camped on Wind River, at the southeastern base of this formidable mountain, he wrote (Senate Ex. Doc. No. 77, 40th Congress, 1st session):
Dr. F.V. Hayden, in his Report for 1871 of the Geological Survey of the Territories, p. 134, says: