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Distance from
Fort Pierre.


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Bad river-Wakpa Shichais sometimes called Little Missouri,

sometimes Teton river----wood and grass fine.
August 9.-Road over high rolling prairie; crosses the sources

of Antelope river and Cedar river, to east branch of Medi-
cine river. After passing the divide of Bad river, soil
good, with fine grass. These streams in dry times gene-
rally contain water in holes, and have small cottonwood
and willow on their banks, furnishing fuel. They are
from 10 to 20 feet wide, and their banks from 4 to 5 feet
high. When occupied with running water, bed will be
found muddy, and should be crossed carefully. From Bad

river to Antelope river, 9} miles
Thence to Cedar creek, 91 miles
Thence to East branch of Medicine river, 10 miles
August 10.-Crossed Medicine river just below the forks, saw

here a fresh track of a buffalo bull, 2 miles
About 5 miles further on we gain the divide between Medicine

and White rivers—soil is now rather poor, and the ridge
contains some small lake beds, which have water in the

spring season
From this ridge, looking south, the whole horizon south

of White river is occupied with high broken prairie ridges
and peaks. We keep on this high lake ridge about 4 miles,
and descend a line of bluffs, along the foot of which are
the sources of the side branches of White river; thence to

White river, 8 miles
The road to-day was good-grass rather thin, and no wood nor

August 11.—White river— Mankisita W.-High from recent

rain, but falling. Spent the day examining up and down
the stream, and forded it in the afternoon. This ford is a
fair one, with rocky bottom, but it must be carefully ex-
amined on foot before crossing, and every animal should be
led or ridden over, as the least wandering from the proper
course may mire it inextricably. The stream is now 480
feet wide, water muddy, of a white color, 1 to 3 feet deep,
its immediate banks some 5 feet higher. We forded it
at the highest stage of water practicable, if higher it must
be ferried. The valley is about one mile wide, and nearly
all overflowed in freshets. The bluffs are 100 feet high,
and loaded wagons could ascend and descend without dif-
ficulty. Fine cottonwood of large size grows on the banks,
though much thinned out by the Indians. Grass grows
luxuriantly, and elk, deer, and antelope may be found in
limited numbers. About 20 miles above this ford are the

August 12.-Road over slightly rolling prairie. In about 21

miles pass near Oak creek; thence 84 miles to small branch
of Two-tail creek, 11 miles

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Here wood for fuel, and good grass; continuing on with Two

tail creek 1 to 2 miles east, over good route, to head of this

stream, 9 miles
At this place the stream is 15 to 20 feet wide, water in holes,

bank 5 to 10 feet feet high, bottom generally sandy, grass
good in spots, cottonwood, cak, and willow, good size.
Near here is a large prairie-dog village. They have thus
far been numerous, but these were the last we saw till we
reached the Platte river. The soil is now becoming sandy.
High table-land ridges were about 5 miles to the west, said
to have springs at their base, and here Two-tail creek has

its source.
August 13.—Route good to a head branch of Dog's Ears creek,

141 miles
Here clear spring water in considerable quantity, good grass,

but no wood; some trees flourish 2 to 3 miles further down.
The soil has now become exceedingly sandy, but generally
covered with grass. On the ridges à soft calcareous sand-
stone crops out, and we are now in the region that gives
character to the distant view to be had from the northern
divide of White river. These ridges have a general south-

east direction.
The Dog's Ears hills,(Les Buttes des Oreilles de Chien,) two

small prominent hills of this sandstone formation, lie about
two miles to the east of us, and have served as a landmark
since leaving White river.' We now cross an easy divide,
and enter the basin of White lake, a clear, beautiful little
sheet of water, much resorted to by the Indians. The
basin is very sandy, but covered with vegetation, and here
we first meet with the sand cherry, the fruit being as large
as the ordinary black cherry, which it resembles in appear-
ance, but is not quite so sweet to the taste. The shrub
when full grown, is 6 to 18 inches high, and so slender
that its fruit bends it to the ground. Turtle hill, (Keya
Paha,) of the same formation as the Dog's Ears, crowned
with a few scattering pine trees, now serves as a landmark,
toward which you proceed over rolling, grass-covered sand

prairie, to Turtle Hill creek, 14 miles
This is a beautiful stream of clear water, about twenty yards

wide, which, flowing over a sandy bottom, renders it easy
to ford; the immediate banks are three to four feet high.
Large and magnificent cottonwood grows on its banks, but
the trees merely fringe the stream. Wild plums and cher-
ries abound; the grass is excellent, and a small portion of
its valley could be used for raising corn. This river is a
favorite resort for the Indians, and those who live on the
Missouri, near the mouth of Rapid river, usually course
along it in going to and from the buffalo hunting grounds
to the west; it heads near the source of the south fork of



Distance from
Fort Pierre.


rice was


White river, and is a tributary to Rapid river. White
lake lies about half-way from the Dog's Ears to Turtle
Hill; there are a few trees on its banks; the beach is white
sand. Tracks of buffalo bulls had now become frequent,

and in White lake basin we saw a wild horse.
August, 14.—Route passes along the right bank of Turtle Hill

river for 6 miles, crossing a little branch with running
water; gradually leaving the river we strike a branch 4
miles further on, with running water, but no wood, and
pursue it to near its source; thence over sandy prairie to
Rapid river, 24 miles, all the way sandy; a little wild

seen. Rapid river—l'Eau qui Court, or Nio-
brara, is a name given it by the Ponca Indians ; the Daco-
tas call it "Mini Tanka” or Big Water. It flows with a
very swift current over a sandy bed, and between bluffs
140 feet high, which here approach each other so closely as
to leave but a very narrow intermediate valley, not aver-

aging one quarter of a mile.
The stream is from 180 to 250 yards wide at the ford, 3 to 4

feet deep in the deepest places, and the current so strong
that it was difficult to keep one's feet; the intermediate bot-
tom land is but 2 to 3 feet high, and must be overflowed in
freshets; its passage in time of floods would require a ferry.
Wherever the bluffs are worn by the stream, they exhibit
vertical sections of a soft yellowish white calcareous sand-
stone, forming precipices 50 to 60 feet high; the same is
the case with all the side ravines, which contain clear cool
springs of water. All the ravines are filled with pine,
(some of it 60 to 70 feet high,) scrubby oak and some ash;
on the low bottom lands there is some little cottonwood.
The approaches to the stream are very bad; the one we
used was a well worn buffalo trail, showing that this cross-
ing was one of no ordinary importance, yet, without a great
deal of labor in preparing the road, it would be impossible
to take a wagon by this route. A large party of Poncas
had crossed here a few days previous, returning from the

buffalo hunt to their corn fields at the mouth of the river. August 15.–Followed along a well marked Indian trail, over

sandy soil to the head of a side ravine of the Wazi-han-
skeya, a tributary of Rapid river, 7 miles; water from a
spring in the ravine; wood and grass good. Wazi-han-
skeya, meaning “the place where the pine extends far
out,” is the name given to this stream, which is said to
be twenty miles long, bordered with pine bluffs, in every
respect similar to those of the river into which it flows.
The Indian trail leads up this stream, and it was thought
to furnish the best route in the direction we wished to go ;
but, as we were likely in pursuing it to meet war parties
of savages, we determined to take the more direct and un-

Distance from
Port Pierre

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frequented route through the Sand Hills, though none of
the party had ever been this way

1327 August 16.— Travelled over rolling sand hills ten to forty feet

high, increasing in height and abruptness as we advanced ;
clothed with grass and interspersed with sedgy lakes,
having sandy bottoms, in some of which are small fish.
There is no wood. Small willows, dry roots of the sand
cherry, and wild rose, and “buffalo chips” furnished fuel
in small quantities. Can camp almost anywhere near
the small ponds. Saw several buffalo bulls, and antelope
were thick. Days march 27} miles.

1591 August 17.-Winding among the sand hills, which frequently

forced us quite out of our course, and beginning to feel
some anxiety as to what we were coming to, we suddenly
emerged from them into the valley of Calamus river, 19

- 1781 This is supposed to be a branch of Loup Fork of the Platte;

its valley is 14 miles wide, the stream about 20 yards
wide, water clear, 1 to 3 feet deep, immediate banks about
4 feet high, easily forded; no wood exists where we crossed,
but some was seen. about 5 miles further down; grass
luxuriant; travelled on and camped at a small pond in the
sand hills; the sand hills to-day very bad ; 4 miles

1821 August 18.–After winding through and over very bad sand

hills for 12 miles, we suddenly issued from them into the
broad valley of a stream, which was supposed to be a
branch of Loup Fork. Travelling obliquely across the
valley we reached the river, which, in the absence of any
known name, was called Warren's fork. Fourteen and
a half miles

1971 This is a clear running stream, 150 yards wide, spread entirely

over its sandy bed with a depth of from 1 inch to 3 feet;
small cottonwood grows in patches along its banks, and
the grass is luxuriant. The valley is 1 to 2 miles wide,
and has a sandy soil, much of which could be cultivated.
The stream does not, apparently, overflow its banks, which
are now 3 to 4 feet above the water. Continuing our
journey, crossing some dry, low, but steep ravines, we
camped in a narrow ravine in the high prairie, which was
of a clay formation, the sand having gradually disap-.
peared since we left the sand hills ; at camp, water in

holes, and a few scattering cottonwood trees, 104 miles 2071 August 19.--Proceeded over a good route to Pawnee river. Six and three-quarter miles

2141 Pawnee, Loup, or Wolf river, a branch of the Platte, is here

220 yards wide, spread out over its whole bed, and no-
where more than 3 feet deep. The water is clear and the
bed sandy; the immediate banks about 4 to 8 feet high,
and lined with medium sized cottonwood trees and willow.

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Distance from
Fort Pierre.



Its valley is from 2 to 3 miles wide, and the river is easy

to approach and to ford at low stages.
As we travelled on we found the ridge south of Pawnee fork

much cut up by ravines, and difficult to ascend, (quite
impracticable at this place for wagons, and we ought to
have gone down the stream 8 or 10 miles.) Having
gained the ridge, our route was good, over high prairie,
with some dry lake beds, and no wood nor permanent water

to Muddy creek, 19} miles -
Muddy creek here is a small running stream, twenty feet wide,

with banks ten feet high, and steep, with muddy bottom,
and is troublesome to cross ; grass good ; wood scarce, but
plenty lower down. Fresh signs of buffalo now were

abundant, and several bulls were seen to-day.
August 20.-Route led us over many secondary ridges and

valleys, and was laborious for the animals.
After going 14 miles crossed Beaver creek, a small running

stream, a little larger than Muddy creek, to which it is
in every respect similar, but has considerable wood along
its banks, and beaver dams in the stream. Continued on
for 5 miles; camped at a poor water hole, with no wood;

day's march 19 miles
August 21.-Route to-day good. Reached in 12 miles a clear

stream, fifty yards wide, with sandy bottom, banks from
4 to 10 feet high, and lined with cottonwood and willow;
valley 1 to 2 miles wide, with luxuriant grass-named it,
after Mr. Carrey, Carrey's fork; it is a branch of Pawnee
river. After proceeding 14 miles, crossed a wooded branch
of the stream, with steep banks, 15 feet high, and difficult
to ascend, and camped on a similar one 3] miles beyond ;

water in holes ; grass good; day's march 17 miles
Several bands of buffalo cows were seen to-day.
August 22.–Route to-day was good; and just before reaching

Wood river we passed through immense herds of buffalo,
all running down the wind , landscape dotted everywhere
with bands of cows and scattering bulls. Reached Wood
river in 94 miles. This stream is about 30 feet wide, when
full-now only 5 to 6 feet wide; banks 10 feet high, and
require cutting ; cottonwood lines the banks. A good
route now opens to the Platte river, distant 102 miles,
which we crossed at the head of Grand island, and pro-
ceeded to Fort Kearny, distant 11 miles; day's march

31 miles
The crossing of the Platte gave us no trouble, as it was no

where more than 1 foot deep, and spread out over its bed,
here a mile wide; the slough north of Grand island is
about 30 yards wide ; the banks of the Platte are 4 to 5
feet above the bed ; the valley is 5 to 8 miles wide, and
rarely overflowed.




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