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Title: The Discovery of Yellowstone Park
Author: Langford, Nathaniel Pitt, 1832-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Journal of the Washburn Expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole
Rivers in the Year 1870_

by Nathaniel Pitt Langford



Foreword (not included)



Index (not included)


When the rumored discovery in the year 1861 of extensive gold placers on
Salmon river was confirmed, the intelligence spread through the states
like wild fire. Hundreds of men with dependent families, who had been
thrown out of employment by the depressed industrial condition of the
country and by the Civil War, and still others actuated by a thirst for
gain, utilized their available resources in providing means for an
immediate migration to the land of promise. Before midsummer they had
started on the long and perilous journey. How little did they know of
its exposures! The deserts, destitute of water and grass, the alkaline
plains where food and drink were alike affected by the poisonous dust,
the roving bands of hostile Indians, the treacherous quicksands of river
fords, the danger and difficulty of the mountain passes, the death of
their companions, their cattle and their horses, breakage of their
vehicles, angry and often violent personal altercations--all these fled
in the light of the summer sun, the vernal beauty of the plains and the
delightfully pure atmosphere which wooed them day by day farther away
from the abode of civilization and the protection of law. The most
fortunate of this army of adventurers suffered from some of these
fruitful causes of disaster. So certain were they to occur in some form
that a successful completion of the journey was simply an escape from
death. The story of the Indian murders and cruelties alone, which befell
hundreds of these hapless emigrants, would fill volumes. Every mile of
the several routes across the continent was marked by the decaying
carcasses of oxen and horses, which had perished during the period of
this hegira to the gold mines. Three months with mules and four with
oxen were necessary to make the journey--a journey now completed in five
days from ocean to ocean by the railroad. Some of these expeditions,
after entering the unexplored region which afterwards became Montana,
were arrested by the information that it would be impossible to cross
with wagon teams the several mountain ranges between them and the mines.

In the summer of 1862 a company of 130 persons left St. Paul for the
Salmon river mines. This Northern overland expedition was confided to
the leadership of Captain James L. Fisk, whose previous frontier
experience and unquestionable personal courage admirably fitted him for
the command of an expedition which owed so much of its final success, as
well as its safety during a hazardous journey through a region occupied
by hostile Indians, to the vigilance and discipline of its commanding
officer. E.H. Burritt was first assistant, the writer was second
assistant and commissary, and Samuel R. Bond was secretary. Among those
who were selected for guard duty were David E. Folsom, Patrick Doherty
(Baptiste), Robert C. Knox, Patrick Bray, Cornelius Bray, Ard Godfrey,
and many other well known pioneers of Montana. We started with ox teams
on this journey on the 16th day of June, traveling by the way of Fort
Abercrombie, old Fort Union, Milk river and Fort Benton, bridging all
the streams not fordable on the entire route. Fort Union and Fort
Benton were not United States military forts, but were the old trading
posts of the American Fur Company.

This Northern overland route of over 1,600 miles, lay for most of the
distance through a partially explored region, filled with numerous bands
of the hostile Sioux Indians. It was the year of the Sioux Indian
massacre in Minnesota. After a continuous journey of upwards of eighteen
weeks we reached Grasshopper creek near the head of the Missouri on the
23d day of October, with our supply of provisions nearly exhausted, and
with cattle sore-footed and too much worn out to continue the journey.
There we camped for the winter in the midst of the wilderness, 400 miles
from the nearest settlement or postoffice, from which we were separated
by a region of mountainous country, rendered nearly impassable in the
winter by deep snows, and beset for the entire distance by hostile
Indians. Disheartening as the prospect was, we felt that it would not do
to give way to discouragement. A few venturesome prospectors from the
west side of the Rocky Mountains had found gold in small quantities on
the bars bordering the stream, and a few traders had followed in their
wake with a limited supply of the bare necessaries of life, risking the
dangers of Indian attack by the way to obtain large profits as a
rightful reward for their temerity. Flour was worth 75 cents per pound
in greenbacks, and prices of other commodities were in like proportion,
and the placer unpromising; and many of the unemployed started out, some
on foot, and some bestride their worn-out animals, into the bleak
mountain wilderness, in search of gold. With the certainty of death in
its most horrid form if they fell into the hands of a band of prowling
Blackfeet Indians, and the thought uppermost in their minds that they
could scarcely escape freezing, surely the hope which sustained this
little band of wanderers lacked none of those grand elements which
sustained the early settlers of our country in their days of disaster
and suffering. Men who cavil with Providence and attribute to luck or
chance or accident the escape from massacre and starvation of a company
of destitute men, under circumstances like these, are either wanting in
gratitude or have never been overtaken by calamity. My recollection of
those gloomy days is all the more vivid because I was among the indigent

This region was then the rendezvous of the Bannack Indians, and we named
the settlement "Bannack," not the Scotch name "Bannock," now often given
to it.

Montana was organized as a territory on the 26th day of May, 1864, and I
continued to reside in that territory until the year 1876, being engaged
chiefly in official business of a character which made it necessary,
from time to time, for me to visit all portions of the territory. It is
a beautiful country. Nature displays her wonders there upon the most
magnificent scale. Lofty ranges of mountains, broad and fertile valleys,
streams broken into torrents are the scenery of every-day life. These
are rendered enjoyable by clear skies, pure atmosphere and invigorating

Ever since the first year of my residence there I had frequently heard
rumors of the existence of wonderful phenomena in the region where the
Yellowstone, Wind, Snake and other large rivers take their rise, and as
often had determined to improve the first opportunity to visit and
explore it, but had been deterred by the presence of unusual and
insurmountable dangers. It was at that time inhabited only by wild
beasts and roving bands of hostile Indians. An occasional trapper or old
mountaineer were the only white persons who had ever seen even those
portions of it nearest to civilization, previous to the visit of David
E. Folsom and C.W. Cook in the year 1869. Of these some had seen one,
some another object of interest; but as they were all believed to be
romancers their stories were received with great distrust.

[Illustration: JAMES BRIDGER.]

The old mountaineers of Montana were generally regarded as great
fabricators. I have met with many, but never one who was not fond of
practicing upon the credulity of those who listened to the recital of
his adventures. James Bridger, the discoverer of Great Salt lake, who
had a large experience in wild mountain life, wove so much of romance
around his Indian adventures that his narrations were generally received
with many grains of allowance by his listeners. Probably no man ever had
a more varied and interesting experience during a long period of
sojourning on the western plains and in the Rocky Mountains than
Bridger, and he did not hesitate, if a favorable occasion offered, to
"guy" the unsophisticated. At one time when in camp near "Pumpkin
Butte," a well-known landmark near Fort Laramie, rising a thousand feet
or more above the surrounding plain, a young attache of the party
approached Mr. Bridger, and in a rather patronizing manner said: "Mr.
Bridger, they tell me that you have lived a long time on these plains
and in the mountains." Mr. Bridger, pointing toward "Pumpkin Butte,"
replied: "Young man, you see that butte over there! Well, that mountain
_was a hole in the ground_ when I came here."

Bridger's long sojourn in the Rocky Mountains commenced as early as the
year 1820, and in 1832 we find him a resident partner in the Rocky
Mountain Fur Company. He frequently spent periods of time varying from
three months to two years, so far removed from any settlement or trading
post, that neither flour nor bread stuffs in any form could be obtained,
the only available substitute for bread being the various roots found in
the Rocky Mountain region.

I first became acquainted with Bridger in the year 1866. He was then
employed by a wagon road company, of which I was president, to conduct
the emigration from the states to Montana, by way of Fort Laramie, the
Big Horn river and Emigrant gulch. He told me in Virginia City, Mont.,
at that time, of the existence of hot spouting springs in the vicinity
of the source of the Yellowstone and Madison rivers, and said that he
had seen a column of water as large as his body, spout as high as the
flag pole in Virginia City, which was about sixty (60) feet high. The
more I pondered upon this statement, the more I was impressed with the
probability of its truth. If he had told me of the existence of falls
one thousand feet high, I should have considered his story an
exaggeration of a phenomenon he had really beheld; but I did not think
that his imagination was sufficiently fertile to originate the story of
the existence of a spouting geyser, unless he had really seen one, and I
therefore was inclined to give credence to his statement, and to believe
that such a wonder did really exist.

I was the more disposed to credit his statement, because of what I had
previously read in the report of Captain John Mullan, made to the war
department. From my present examination of that report, which was made
Feb. 14, 1863, and a copy of which I still have in my possession, I find
that Captain Mullan says:

  I learned from the Indians, and afterwards confirmed by
  my own explorations, the fact of the existence of an
  infinite number of hot springs at the headwaters of the
  Missouri, Columbia and Yellowstone rivers, and that hot
  geysers, similar to those of California, exist at the head of
  the Yellowstone.

Again he speaks of the isochimenal line (a line of even winter
temperature), which he says reaches from Fort Laramie to the
headwaters of the Yellowstone, at the hot spring and geysers of that
stream, and continues thence to the Beaver Head valley, and he adds:

  This is as true as it is strange, and shows unerringly that
  there exists in this zone an atmospheric river of heat,
  flowing through this region, varying in width from one to
  one hundred miles, according to the physical face of the

[Illustration: Very much yours D.G. Folsom]

As early as the year 1866 I first considered the possibility of
organizing an expedition for the purpose of exploring the Upper
Yellowstone to its source. The first move which I made looking to this
end was in 1867 and the next in 1868; but these efforts ended in nothing
more than a general discussion of the subject of an exploration, the
most potent factor in the abandonment of the enterprise being the
threatened outbreaks of the Indians in Gallatin valley.

The following year (1869) the project was again revived, and plans
formed for an expedition; but again the hostility of the Indians
prevented the accomplishment of our purpose of exploration. Hon. David
E. Folsom was enrolled as one of the members of this expedition, and
when it was found that no large party could be organized, Mr. Folsom and
his partner, C.W. Cook, and Mr. Peterson (a helper on the Folsom ranch),
in the face of the threatened dangers from Indians, visited the Grand
Cañon, the falls of the Yellowstone and Yellowstone lake, and then
turned in a northwesterly direction, emerging into the Lower Geyser
basin, where they found a geyser in action, the water of which, says Mr.
Folsom in his record of the expedition, "came rushing up and shot into
the air at least eighty feet, causing us to stampede for higher ground."

Mr. Folsom, in speaking of the various efforts made to organize an
expedition for exploration of the Yellowstone says:

  In 1867, an exploring expedition from Virginia City,
  Montana Territory, was talked of, but for some unknown
  reason, probably for the want of a sufficient number to
  engage in it, it was abandoned. The next year another was
  planned, which ended like the first--in talk. Early in the
  summer of 1869 the newspapers throughout the Territory
  announced that a party of citizens from Helena, Virginia
  City and Bozeman, accompanied by some of the officers
  stationed at Fort Ellis, with an escort of soldiers, would
  leave Bozeman about the fifth of September for the Yellowstone
  country, with the intention of making a thorough
  examination of all the wonders with which the region was
  said to abound. The party was expected to be limited in
  numbers and to be composed of some of the most prominent
  men in the Territory, and the writer felt extremely flattered
  when his earnest request to have his name added to
  the list was granted. He joined with two personal friends
  in getting an outfit, and then waited patiently for the other
  members of the party to perfect their arrangements. About
  a month before the day fixed for starting, some of the
  members began to discover that pressing business engagements
  would prevent their going. Then came news from
  Fort Ellis that, owing to some changes made in the disposition
  of troops stationed in the Territory, the military
  portion of the party would be unable to join the expedition;
  and our party, which had now dwindled down to ten
  or twelve persons, thinking it would be unsafe for so small
  a number to venture where there was a strong probability
  of meeting with hostile Indians, also abandoned the undertaking.
  But the writer and his two friends before mentioned,
  believing that the dangers to be encountered had
  been magnified, and trusting by vigilance and good luck to
  avoid them, resolved to attempt the journey at all hazards.

  We provided ourselves with five horses--three of them
  for the saddle, and the other two for carrying our cooking
  utensils, ammunition, fishing tackle, blankets and buffalo
  robes, a pick, and a pan, a shovel, an axe, and provisions
  necessary for a six weeks' trip. We were all well armed
  with repeating rifles, Colt's six-shooters and sheath-knives,
  and had besides a double barreled shotgun for small game.
  We also had a good field glass, a pocket compass and a

[Illustration: C.W. Cook]

Mr. Folsom followed the Yellowstone to the lake and crossed over to the
Firehole, which he followed up as far as the Excelsior geyser (not then
named), but did not visit the Upper Geyser basin. On his return to
Helena he related to a few of his intimate friends many of the incidents
of his journey, and Mr. Samuel T. Hauser and I invited him to meet a
number of the citizens of Helena at the directors' room of the First
National Bank in Helena; but on assembling there were so many present
who were unknown to Mr. Folsom that he was unwilling to risk his
reputation for veracity, by a full recital, in the presence of
strangers, of the wonders he had seen. He said that he did not wish to
be regarded as a liar by those who were unacquainted with his
reputation. But the accounts which he gave to Hauser Gillette and myself
renewed in us our determination to visit that region during the
following year. Mr. Folsom, however, sent to the Western Monthly of
Chicago a carefully prepared account of his expedition, which that
magazine published in July, 1870, after cutting out some of the most
interesting portions of the story, thus destroying in some measure the
continuity of the narrative. The office of the Western Monthly was
destroyed by fire before the copies of the magazine containing Mr.
Folsom's article were distributed, and the single copy which Mr. Folsom
possessed and which he presented to the Historical Society of Montana
met a like fate in the great Helena fire. The copy which I possessed and
which I afterwards presented to that Society is doubtless the only
original copy now in existence; and, for the purpose of preserving the
history of the initial step which eventuated in the creation of the
Yellowstone National Park, I re-published, in the year 1894, 500 copies
of Mr. Folsom's narrative, for distribution among those most interested
in that exploration.

In the spring of 1870, while in St. Paul, I had an interview with Major
General Winfield S. Hancock, during which he showed great interest in
the plan of exploration which I outlined to him, and expressed a desire
to obtain additional information concerning the Yellowstone country
which would be of service to him in the disposition of troops for
frontier defense, and he assured me that, unless some unforeseen
exigency prevented, he would, when the time arrived, give a favorable
response to our application for a military escort, if one were needed.
Mr. Hauser also had a conference with General Hancock about the same
time, and received from him like assurances.

About the 1st of August, 1870, our plans took definite shape, and some
twenty men were enrolled as members of the exploring party. About this
time the Crow Indians again "broke loose," and a raid of the Gallatin
and Yellowstone valleys was threatened, and a majority of those who had
enrolled their names, experiencing that decline of courage so aptly
illustrated by Bob Acres, suddenly found excuse for withdrawal in
various emergent occupations.

After a few days of suspense and doubt, Samuel T. Hauser told me that if
he could find two men whom he knew, who would accompany him, he would
attempt the journey; and he asked me to join him in a letter to James
Stuart, living at Deer Lodge, proposing that he should go with us.
Benjamin Stickney, one of the most enthusiastic of our number, also
wrote to Mr. Stuart that there were eight persons who would go at all
hazards and asked him (Stuart) to be a member of the party. Stuart
replied to Hauser and myself as follows:

            Deer Lodge City, M.T., Aug. 9th, 1870.

  Dear Sam and Langford:

  Stickney wrote me that the Yellow Stone party had
  dwindled down to eight persons. That is not enough to
  stand guard, and I won't go into that country without having
  a guard every night. From present news it is probable
  that the Crows will be scattered on all the headwaters of
  the Yellow Stone, and if that is the case, they would not
  want any better fun than to clean up a party of eight (that
  does not stand guard) and say that the Sioux did it, as they
  said when they went through us on the Big Horn. It will
  not be safe to go into that country with less than fifteen
  men, and not very safe with that number. I would like it
  better if it was fight from the start; we would then kill
  every Crow that we saw, and take the chances of their
  rubbing us out. As it is, we will have to let them alone
  until they will get the best of us by stealing our horses or
  killing some of us; then we will be so crippled that we
  can't do them any damage.

  At the commencement of this letter I said I would not
  go unless the party stood guard. I will take that back, for
  I am just d----d fool enough to go anywhere that anybody
  else is willing to go, only I want it understood that very
  likely some of us will lose our hair. I will be on hand Sunday
  evening, unless I hear that the trip is postponed.

  Fraternally yours,

                                 JAS. STUART.

  Since writing the above, I have received a telegram saying,
  "twelve of us going certain." Glad to hear it--the
  more the better. Will bring two pack horses and one pack

I have preserved this letter of James Stuart for the thirty-five years
since it was received. It was written with a lead pencil on both sides
of a sheet of paper, and I insert here a photograph of a half-tone
reproduction of it. It has become somewhat illegible and obscure from
repeated folding and unfolding.

[Illustration: A letter.]

[Illustration: A letter, continued.]

Mr. Stuart was a man of large experience in such enterprises as that in
which we were about to engage, and was familiar with all the tricks of
Indian craft and sagacity; and our subsequent experience in meeting the
Indians on the second day of our journey after leaving Fort Ellis, and
their evident hostile intentions, justified in the fullest degree
Stuart's apprehensions.

About this time Gen. Henry D. Washburn, the surveyor general of Montana,
joined with Mr. Hauser in a telegram to General Hancock, at St. Paul,
requesting him to provide the promised escort of a company of cavalry.
General Hancock immediately responded, and on August 14th telegraphed an
order on the commandant at Fort Ellis, near Bozeman, for such escort as
would be deemed necessary to insure the safety of our party.

Just at this critical time I received a letter from Stuart announcing
that he had been drawn as a juryman to serve at the term of court then
about to open, and that as the federal judge declined to excuse him, he
would not be able to join our party. This was a sore and discouraging
disappointment both to Hauser and myself, for we felt that in case we
had trouble with the Indians Stuart's services to the party would be
worth those of half a dozen ordinary men.

A new roster was made up, and I question if there was ever a body of men
organized for an exploring expedition, more intelligent or more keenly
alive to the risks to be encountered than those then enrolled; and it
seems proper that I here speak more specifically of them.

Gen. Henry D. Washburn was the surveyor general of Montana and had been
brevetted a major general for services in the Civil War, and had served
two terms in the Congress of the United States. Judge Cornelius Hedges
was a distinguished and highly esteemed member of the Montana bar.
Samuel T. Hauser was a civil engineer, and was president of the First
National Bank of Helena. He was afterwards appointed governor of Montana
by Grover Cleveland. Warren C. Gillette and Benjamin Stickney were
pioneer merchants in Montana. Walter Trumbull was assistant assessor of
internal revenue, and a son of United States Senator Lyman Trumbull of
Illinois. Truman C. Everts was assessor of internal revenue for Montana,
and Nathaniel P. Langford (the writer) had been for nearly five years
the United States collector of internal revenue for Montana, and had
been appointed governor of Montana by Andrew Johnson, but, owing to the
imbroglio of the Senate with Johnson, his appointment was not confirmed.

[Illustration: James Stuart.]

While we were disappointed in our expectation of having James Stuart
for our commander and adviser, General Washburn was chosen captain of
the party, and Mr. Stickney was appointed commissary and instructed to
put up in proper form a supply of provisions sufficient for thirty (30)
days, though we had contemplated a limit of twenty-five (25) days for
our absence. Each man promptly paid to Mr. Stickney his share of the
estimated expense. When all these preparations had been made, Jake Smith
requested permission to be enrolled as a member of our company. Jake was
constitutionally unfitted to be a member of such a party of exploration,
where vigilance and alertness were essential to safety and success. He
was too inconsequent and easy going to command our confidence or to be
of much assistance. He seemed to think that his good-natured nonsense
would always be a passport to favor and be accepted in the stead of real
service, and in my association with him I was frequently reminded of the
youth who announced in a newspaper advertisement that he was a poor but
pious young man, who desired board in a family where there were small
children, and where his Christian example would be considered a
sufficient compensation. Jake did not share the view of the other
members of our company, that in standing guard, the sentry should resist
his inclination to slumber. Mr. Hedges, in his diary, published in
Volume V. of the Montana Historical Society publications, on September
13th, thus records an instance of insubordination in standing guard:

  Jake made a fuss about his turn, and Washburn stood
  in his place.

Now that this and like incidents of our journey are in the dim past, let
us inscribe for his epitaph what was his own adopted motto while doing
guard duty when menaced by the Indians on the Yellowstone:


Of our number, five--General Washburn, Walter Trumbull, Truman C.
Everts, Jacob Smith and Lieutenant Doane--have died. The five members
now surviving are Cornelius Hedges, Samuel T. Hauser, Warren C.
Gillette, Benjamin Stickney and myself.

I have not been able to ascertain the date of death of either Walter
Trumbull or Jacob Smith. Lieutenant Doane died at Bozeman, Montana, May
5, 1892. His report to the War Department of our exploration is a
classic. Major Chittenden says:

  His fine descriptions have never been surpassed by any
  subsequent writer. Although suffering intense physical torture
  during the greater portion of the trip, it did not extinguish
  in him the truly poetic ardor with which those
  strange phenomena seem to have inspired him.

Dr. Hayden, who first visited this region the year following that of our
exploration, says of Lieutenant Doane's report:

  I venture to state as my opinion, that for graphic description
  and thrilling interest, it has not been surpassed
  by any official report made to our government since the
  times of Lewis and Clark.

Mr. Everts died at Hyattsville, Md., on the 16th day of February, 1901,
at the age of eighty-five, survived by his daughter, Elizabeth Everts
Verrill, and a young widow, and also a son nine years old, born when
Everts was seventy-six years of age,--a living monument to bear
testimony to that physical vigor and vitality which carried him through
the "Thirty-seven days of peril," when he was lost from our party in
the dense forest on the southwest shore of Yellowstone lake.

General Washburn died on January 26, 1871, his death being doubtless
hastened by the hardships and exposures of our journey, from which many
of our party suffered in greater or less degree.

In an eloquent eulogistic address delivered in Helena January 29, 1871,
Judge Cornelius Hedges said concerning the naming of Mount Washburn:

  On the west bank of the Yellowstone, between Tower Fall
  and Hell-broth springs, opposite the profoundest chasm
  of that marvelous river cañon, a mighty sentinel overlooking
  that region of wonders, rises in its serene and solitary
  grandeur,--Mount Washburn,--pointing the way his enfranchised
  spirit was so soon to soar. He was the first to
  climb its bare, bald summit, and thence reported to us the
  welcome news that he saw the beautiful lake that had been
  the proposed object of our journey. By unanimous voice,
  unsolicited by him, we gave the mountain a name that
  through coming years shall bear onward the memory of
  our gallant, generous leader. How little we then thought
  that he would be the first to live only in memory. * * *
  The deep forests of evergreen pine that embosom that lake
  shall typify the ever green spot in our memory where shall
  cluster the pleasant recollections of our varied experiences
  on that expedition.

The question is frequently asked, "Who originated the plan of setting
apart this region as a National Park?" I answer that Judge Cornelius
Hedges of Helena wrote the first articles ever published by the press
urging the dedication of this region as a park. The Helena Herald of
Nov. 9, 1870, contains a letter of Mr. Hedges, in which he advocated the
scheme, and in my lectures delivered in Washington and New York in
January, 1871, I directed attention to Mr. Hedges' suggestion, and urged
the passage by Congress of an act setting apart that region as a public
park. All this was several months prior to the first exploration by the
U.S. Geological Survey, in charge of Dr. Hayden. The suggestion that the
region should be made into a National Park was first broached to the
members of our party on September 19, 1870, by Mr. Hedges, while we were
in camp at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers, as is
related in this diary. After the return home of our party, I was
informed by General Washburn that on the eve of the departure of our
expedition from Helena, David E. Folsom had suggested to him the
desirability of creating a park at the grand cañon and falls of the
Yellowstone. This fact was unknown to Mr. Hedges,--and the boundary
lines of the proposed park were extended by him so as to be commensurate
with the wider range of our explorations.

The bill for the creation of the park was introduced in the House of
Representatives by Hon. William H. Clagett, delegate from Montana
Territory. On July 9, 1894, William R. Marshall, Secretary of the
Minnesota Historical Society, wrote to Mr. Clagett, asking him the
question: "Who are entitled to the principal credit for the passage of
the act of Congress establishing the Yellowstone National Park?" Mr.
Clagett replied as follows:

                       Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, July 14th, 1894.

  Wm. R. Marshall,

  Secretary Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minn.

  Dear Sir: Your favor of July 9th is just received. I
  am glad that you have called my attention to the question,
  "Who are entitled to the principal credit for the passage
  of the act of Congress establishing the Yellowstone
  National Park?" The history of that measure, as far as
  known to me, is as follows, to-wit: In the fall of 1870,
  soon after the return of the Washburn-Langford party,
  two printers at Deer Lodge City, Montana, went into the
  Firehole basin and cut a large number of poles, intending
  to come back the next summer and fence in the tract of
  land containing the principal geysers, and hold possession
  for speculative purposes, as the Hutchins family so
  long held the Yosemite valley. One of these men was
  named Harry Norton. He subsequently wrote a book on
  the park. The other one was named Brown. He now
  lives in Spokane, Wash., and both of them in the summer
  of 1871 worked in the New Northwest office at Deer Lodge.
  When I learned from them in the late fall of 1870 or
  spring of 1871 what they intended to do, I remonstrated
  with them and stated that from the description given by
  them and by members of Mr. Langford's party, the whole
  region should be made into a National Park and no private
  proprietorship be allowed.

  I was elected Delegate to Congress from Montana in
  August, 1871, and after the election, Nathaniel P. Langford,
  Cornelius Hedges and myself had a consultation in
  Helena, and agreed that every effort should be made to
  establish the Park as soon as possible, and before any person
  had got a serious foot-hold--Mr. McCartney, at the
  Mammoth Hot Springs, being the only one who at that time
  had any improvements made. In December, 1871, Mr. Langford
  came to Washington and remained there for some
  time, and we two counseled together about the Park project.
  I drew the bill to establish the Park, and never knew
  Professor Hayden in connection with that bill, except that
  I requested Mr. Langford to get from him a description of
  the boundaries of the proposed Park. There was some
  delay in getting the description, and my recollection is
  that Langford brought me the description after consultation
  with Professor Hayden. I then filled the blank in the
  bill with the description, and the bill passed both Houses
  of Congress just as it was drawn and without any change
  or amendment whatsoever.

  After the bill was drawn, Langford stated to me that
  Senator Pomeroy of Kansas was very anxious to have the
  honor of introducing the bill in the Senate; and as he
  (Pomeroy) was the chairman of the Senate committee on
  Public Lands, in order to facilitate its passage, I had a
  clean copy made of the bill and on the first call day in the
  House, introduced the original there, and then went over
  to the Senate Chamber and handed the copy to Senator
  Pomeroy, who immediately introduced it in the Senate.
  The bill passed the Senate first and came to the House,
  and passed the House without amendment, at a time when
  I happened to be at the other end of the Capitol, and hence
  I was not present when it actually passed the House.

  Since the passage of this bill there have been so many
  men who have claimed the exclusive credit for its passage,
  that I have lived for twenty years, suffering from a
  chronic feeling of disgust whenever the subject was mentioned.
  So far as my personal knowledge goes, the first
  idea of making it a public park occurred to myself; but
  from information received from Langford and others, it
  has always been my opinion that Hedges, Langford, and
  myself formed the same idea about the same time, and
  we all three acted together in Montana, and afterwards
  Langford and I acted with Professor Hayden in Washington,
  in the winter of 1871-2.

  The fact is that the matter was well under way before
  Professor Hayden was ever heard of in connection with
  that measure. When he returned to Washington in 1871,
  he brought with him a large number of specimens from
  different parts of the Park, which were on exhibition in
  one of the rooms of the Capitol or in the Smithsonian Institute
  (one or the other), while Congress was in session,
  and he rendered valuable services, in exhibiting these specimens
  and explaining the geological and other features of
  the proposed Park, and between him, Langford and myself,
  I believe there was not a single member of Congress
  in either House who was not fully posted by one or the
  other of us in personal interviews; so much so, that the
  bill practically passed both Houses without objection.

  It has always been a pleasure to me to give to Professor
  Hayden and to Senator Pomeroy, and Mr. Dawes of Mass,
  all of the credit which they deserve in connection with
  the passage of that measure, but the truth of the matter
  is that the origin of the movement which created the Park
  was with Hedges, Langford and myself; and after Congress
  met, Langford and I probably did two-thirds, if not
  three-fourths of all the work connected with its passage.

  I think that the foregoing letter contains a full statement
  of what you wish, and I hope that you will be able
  to correct, at least to some extent, the misconceptions
  which the selfish vanity of some people has occasioned on
  the subject.

  Very truly yours,

  Wm. H. Clagett.

[Illustration: Wm. H. Clagett]

It is true that Professor Hayden joined with Mr. Clagett and myself in
working for the passage of the act of dedication, but no person can
divide with Cornelius Hedges and David E. Folsom the honor of
_originating the idea_ of creating the Yellowstone Park.

By direction of Major Hiram M. Chittenden there has been erected at the
junction of the Firehole and Gibbon rivers a large slab upon which is
inscribed the following legend:

    OF THE

         *       *       *       *       *


On the south bank of the Madison, just below the junction of these two
streams, and overlooking this memorable camping ground, is a lofty
escarpment to which has appropriately been given the name "National
Park mountain."

I take occasion here to refer to my personal connection with the Park.
Upon the passage by Congress, on March 1, 1872, of the act of
dedication, I was appointed superintendent of the Park. I discharged the
duties of the office for more than five years, without compensation of
any kind, and paying my own expenses. Soon after the creation of the
Park the Secretary of the Interior received many applications for leases
to run for a long term of years, of tracts of land in the vicinity of
the principal marvels of that region, such as the Grand Cañon and Falls,
the Upper Geyser basin, etc. These applications were invariably referred
to me by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Hon. B.R. Cowen. It
was apparent from an examination of these applications that the purpose
of the applicants was to enclose with fences their holdings, and charge
visitors an admission fee. To have permitted this would have defeated
the purpose of the act of dedication. In many instances the applicants
made earnest pleas, both personally and through their members in
Congress, to the Interior Department and to myself for an approval of
their applications, offering to speedily make improvements of a value
ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. I invariably reported unfavorably
upon these alluring propositions, and in no instance was my
recommendation overruled by Secretary Cowen, to whom Secretary Delano
had given the charge of the whole matter, and to Judge Cowen's firmness
in resisting the political and other influences that were brought to
bear is largely due the fact that these early applications for
concessions were not granted. A time should never come when the American
people will have forgotten the services, a generation ago, of Judge
Cowen, in resisting the designs of unscrupulous men in their efforts to
secure possession of the most important localities in the Park, nor
the later services of George Bird Grinnell, William Hallett Phillips and
U.S. Senator George Graham Vest, in the preservation of the wild game of
the Park and of the Park itself from the more determined encroachments
of private greed.

[Illustration: Hiram M. Chittenden]

The second year of my services as superintendent, some of my friends in
Congress proposed to give me a salary sufficiently large to pay actual
expenses. I requested them to make no effort in this behalf, saying that
I feared that some successful applicant for such a salaried position,
giving little thought to the matter, would approve the applications for
leases; and that as long as I could prevent the granting of any
exclusive concessions I would be willing to serve as superintendent
without compensation.

Apropos of my official connection with the Park a third of a century
ago, is the following letter to me, written by George Bird Grinnell.
This personal tribute from one who himself has done so much in behalf of
the Park was very gratifying to me.

                                          New York, April 29th, 1903.

  _Mr. N.P. Langford St. Paul, Minn_.,

  Dear Sir: I am glad to read the newspaper cutting from
  the Pioneer Press of April 19th, which you so kindly sent me.

  In these days of hurry and bustle, when events of importance
  crowd so fast on each other that the memory of each
  is necessarily short lived, it is gratifying to be reminded
  from time to time of important services rendered to the nation
  in a past which, though really recent, seems to the
  younger generation far away.

  The service which you performed for the United States,
  and indeed for the world, in describing the Yellowstone
  Park, and in setting on foot and persistently advocating the
  plan to make it a national pleasure ground, will always be
  remembered; and it is well that public acknowledgment
  should be made of it occasionally, so that the men of this
  generation may not forget what they owe to those of the

  Yours very truly,


The Act of Congress creating the Park provided that this region should
be "set apart for a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and
enjoyment of the people," but this end has not been accomplished except
as the result of untiring vigilance and labor on the part of a very few
persons who have never wavered in their loyalty to the Park. It may
never be known how nearly the purposes of the Act of Dedication have
escaped defeat; but a letter written to me by George Bird Grinnell and
an editorial from _Forest and Stream_ may reveal to visitors who now
enjoy without let or hindrance the wonders of that region, how narrowly
this "Temple of the living God," as it has been termed, has escaped
desecration at the hands of avaricious money-getters, and becoming a
"Den of Thieves."

                                          New York, July 25, 1905.
  _Mr. N.P. Langford_.

  Dear Sir: I am very glad that your diary is to be published.
  It is something that I have long hoped that we
  might see.

  It is true, as you say, that I have for a good many years
  done what I could toward protecting the game in the Yellowstone
  Park; but what seems to me more important than
  that is that _Forest and Stream_ for a dozen years carried on,
  almost single handed, a fight for the integrity of the National
  Park. If you remember, all through from 1881 or thereabouts
  to 1890 continued efforts were being made to gain
  control of the park by one syndicate and another, or to run
  a railroad through it, or to put an elevator down the side
  of the cañon--in short, to use this public pleasure ground
  as a means for private gain. There were half a dozen of us
  who, being very enthusiastic about the park, and, being in a
  position to watch legislation at Washington, and also to
  know what was going on in the Interior Department, kept
  ourselves very much alive to the situation and succeeded in
  choking off half a dozen of these projects before they grew
  large enough to be made public.

  One of these men was William Hallett Phillips, a dear
  friend of mine, a resident of Washington, a Supreme Court
  lawyer with a large acquaintance there, and a delightful
  fellow. He was the best co-worker that any one could have
  had who wanted to keep things straight and as they ought
  to be.

  At rare intervals I get out old volumes of the _Forest and
  Stream_ and look over the editorials written in those days
  with a mingling of amusement and sadness as I recall how
  excited we used to get, and think of the true fellows who
  used to help, but who have since crossed over to the other

  Yours sincerely,



[Illustration: Geo. Bird Grinnell]

    From _Forest and Stream_, August 20, 1904.


  In no one of all the editorials and obituaries written last
  week on the death of Senator Vest did we see mention made
  of one great service performed by him for the American people,
  and for which they and their descendants should always
  remember him. It is a bit of ancient history now, and
  largely forgotten by all except those who took an active part
  in the fight. More than twenty years ago strong efforts were
  made by a private corporation to secure a monopoly of the
  Yellowstone National Park by obtaining from the government,
  contracts giving them exclusive privileges within the
  Park. This corporation secured an agreement from the Interior
  Department by which six different plots in the Yellowstone
  Park, each one covering about one section of land--a
  square mile--were to be leased to it for a period of ten
  years. It was also to have a monopoly of hotel, stage and
  telegraph rights, and there was a privilege of renewal of the
  concession at the end of the ten years. The rate to be paid
  for the concession was $2 an acre.

  When the question of this lease came before Congress, it
  was referred to a sub-committee of the Committee on Territories,
  of which Senator Vest was chairman. He investigated
  the question, and in the report made on it used these
  words: "Nothing but absolute necessity, however, should
  permit the Great National Park to be used for money-making
  by private persons, and, in our judgment, no such necessity
  exists. The purpose to which this region, matchless in
  wonders and grandeur, was dedicated--'a public park and a
  pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people'--is
  worthy the highest patriotism and statesmanship."

  The persons interested in this lease came from many sections
  of the country, and were ably represented by active
  agents in Washington. The pressure brought to bear on
  Congress was very great, and the more effectively applied,
  since few men knew much about conditions in the Yellowstone
  Park, or even where the Yellowstone Park was. But
  pressure and influence could not move Senator Vest when
  he knew he was right. He stood like a rock in Congress, resisting
  this pressure, making a noble fight in behalf of the
  interests of the people, and at last winning his battle. For
  years the issue seemed doubtful, and for years it was true
  that the sole hope of those who were devoted to the interests
  of the Park, and who were fighting the battle of the public,
  lay in Senator Vest. So after years of struggle the right
  triumphed, and the contract intended to be made between
  the Interior Department and the corporation was never consummated.

  This long fight made evident the dangers to which the
  Park was exposed, and showed the necessity of additional

  A bill to protect the Park was drawn by Senator Vest and
  passed by Congress, and from that time on, until the day
  of his retirement from public life, Senator Vest was ever a
  firm and watchful guardian of the Yellowstone National
  Park, showing in this matter, as in many others, "the highest
  patriotism and statesmanship." For many years, from
  1882 to 1894, Senator Vest remained the chief defender of a
  National possession that self-seeking persons in many parts
  of the country were trying to use for their own profit.

  [Illustration: W. Hallett Phillips]

  [Illustration: GEORGE GRAHAM VEST.]

  If we were asked to mention the two men who did more
  than any other two men to save the National Park for the
  American people, we should name George Graham Vest and
  William Hallett Phillips, co-workers in this good cause.
  There were other men who helped them, but these two easily
  stand foremost.

In the light of the present glorious development of the Park it can be
said of each one who has taken part in the work of preserving for all
time this great national pleasuring ground for the enjoyment of the
American people, "He builded better than he knew."

An amusing feature of the identity of my name with the Park was that my
friends, with a play upon my initials, frequently addressed letters to
me in the following style:

[Illustration: National Park Langford]

The fame of the Yellowstone National Park, combining the most extensive
aggregation of wonders in the world--wonders unexcelled because nowhere
else existing--is now world-wide. The "Wonderland" publications issued
by the Northern Pacific Railway, prepared under the careful supervision
of their author, Olin D. Wheeler, with their superb illustrations of the
natural scenery of the park, and the illustrated volume, "The
Yellowstone," by Major Hiram M. Chittenden, U.S. Engineers, under whose
direction the roads and bridges throughout the Park are being
constructed, have so confirmed the first accounts of these wonders that
there remains now little of the incredulity with which the narrations of
the members of our company were first received. The articles written by
me on my return from the trip described in this diary, and published in
Scribner's (now Century) Magazine for May and June, 1871, were regarded
more as the amiable exaggerations of an enthusiastic Munchausen, who is
disposed to tell the whole truth, and as much more as is necessary to
make an undoubted sensation, than as the story of a sober,
matter-of-fact observer who tells what he has seen with his own eyes,
and exaggerates nothing. Dr. Holland, one of the editors of that
magazine, sent to me a number of uncomplimentary criticisms of my
article. One reviewer said: "This Langford must be the champion liar of
the Northwest." Resting for a time under this imputation, I confess to a
feeling of satisfaction in reading from a published letter, written
later in the summer of 1871 from the Upper Geyser basin by a member of
the U.S. Geological Survey, the words: "Langford did not dare tell
one-half of what he saw."

Mr. Charles T. Whitmell, of Cardiff, Wales, a distinguished scholar and
astronomer, who has done much to bring to the notice of our English
brothers the wonders of the Park--which he visited in 1883--in a lecture
delivered before the Cardiff Naturalists' Society on Nov. 12, 1885,
sought to impress upon the minds of his audience the full significance
of the above characterization. He said: "This quite unique description
means a great deal, I can assure you; for Western American lying is not
to be measured by any of our puny European standards of untruthfulness."

But the writings of Wheeler and others, running through a long series of
years and covering an extended range of new discoveries, have vindicated
the truthfulness of the early explorers, and even the stories of Bridger
are not now regarded as exaggerations, and we no longer write for his

  Here LIES Bridger.

As I recall the events of this exploration, made thirty-five years ago,
it is a pleasure to bear testimony that there was never a more unselfish
or generous company of men associated for such an expedition; and,
notwithstanding the importance of our discoveries, in the honor of which
each desired to have his just share, there was absolutely neither
jealousy nor ungenerous rivalry, and the various magazine and newspaper
articles first published clearly show how the members of our party were
"In honor preferring one another."

In reviewing my diary, preparatory to its publication, I have
occasionally eliminated an expression that seemed to be too personal,--a
sprinkling of pepper from the caster of my impatience,--and I have also
here and there added an explanatory annotation or illustration. With
this exception I here present the original notes just as they were
penned under the inspiration of the overwhelming wonders which
everywhere revealed themselves to our astonished vision; and as I again
review and read the entries made in the field and around the campfire,
in the journal that for nearly thirty years has been lost to my sight, I
feel all the thrilling sensations of my first impressions, and with them
is mingled the deep regret that our beloved Washburn did not live to see
the triumphant accomplishment of what was dear to his heart, the setting
apart at the headwaters of the Yellowstone, of a National "public park
or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."


St. Paul, Minn., August 9, 1905.

[Illustration: The Author]


Wednesday, August 17, 1870.--In accordance with the arrangements made
last night, the different members of our party met at the agreed
rendezvous--the office of General Washburn--at 9 o'clock a.m., to
complete our arrangements for the journey and get under way. Our party
consisted of Gen. Henry D. Washburn, Cornelius Hedges, Samuel T. Hauser,
Warren C. Gillette, Benjamin Stickney, Truman C. Everts, Walter
Trumbull, Jacob Smith and Nathaniel P. Langford. General Washburn has
been chosen the leader of our party. For assistants we have Mr.----
Reynolds and Elwyn Bean, western slope packers, and two African boys as
cooks. Each man has a saddle horse fully rigged with California saddle,
cantinas, holsters, etc., and has furnished a pack horse for
transportation of provisions, ammunition and blankets. There are but few
of our party who are adepts in the art of packing, for verily it is an
art acquired by long practice, and we look with admiration upon our
packers as they "throw the rope" with such precision, and with great
skill and rapidity tighten the cinch and gird the load securely upon the
back of the broncho. Our ponies have not all been tried of late with the
pack saddle, but most of them quietly submit to the loading. But now
comes one that does not yield itself to the manipulations of the packer.
He stands quiet till the pack saddle is adjusted, but the moment he
feels the tightening of the cinch he asserts his independence of all
restraint and commences bucking. This animal in question belongs to
Gillette, who says that if he does not stand the pack he will use him
for a saddle horse. If so, God save Gillette!


Thursday, August 18.--I rode on ahead of the party from Mr. Hartzell's
ranch, stopping at Radersburg for dinner and riding through a snow storm
to Gallatin City, where I remained over night with Major Campbell.
General Washburn thought that it would be well for some members of the
company to have a conference, as early as possible, with the commanding
officer at Fort Ellis, concerning an escort of soldiers. I also desired
to confer with some of the members of the Bozeman Masonic Lodge
concerning the lodge troubles; and it was for these reasons that I rode
on to Bozeman in advance of the party.


Friday, August 19.--Rode over to the East Gallatin river with
Lieutenants Batchelor and Wright, crossing at Blakeley's bridge and
reaching Bozeman at 7 o'clock p.m.

Saturday, August 20.--Spent the day at Bozeman and at Fort Ellis. I met
the commanding officer, Major Baker, of the Second U.S. Cavalry, who
informs me that nearly all the men of his command are in the field
fighting the Indians. I informed him that we had an order for an escort
of soldiers, and he said that the garrison was so weakened that he could
not spare more than half a dozen men. I told him that six men added to
our own roster would enable us to do good guard duty. The rest of the
party and the pack train came into Bozeman at night.

This evening I visited Gallatin Lodge No. 6, and after a full
consultation with its principal officers and members, I reluctantly
decided to exercise my prerogative as Grand Master and arrest the
charter of the lodge as the only means of bringing to a close a grievous
state of dissension. In justice to my own convictions of duty, I could
not have adopted any milder remedy than the one I applied.

Sunday, August 21.--We moved into camp about one-half mile from Fort
Ellis on the East Gallatin. General Washburn presented the order of
Major General Hancock (recommended by General Baird, Inspector General,
as an important military necessity) for an escort. Major Baker repeated
what he said to me yesterday, and he will detail for our service five
soldiers under the command of a lieutenant, and we are satisfied.
General Lester Willson entertained us at a bounteous supper last night.
His wife is a charming musician.

Monday, August 22.--We left Fort Ellis at 11 o'clock this forenoon with
an escort consisting of five men under command of Lieut. Gustavus C.
Doane of the Second U.S. Cavalry. Lieutenant Doane has kindly allowed me
to copy the special order detailing him for this service. It is as

  Headquarters Fort Ellis, Montana Territory,
  August 21; 1870.

  In accordance with instructions from Headquarters District
  of Montana, Lieutenant G.C. Doane, Second Cavalry,
  will proceed with one sergeant and four privates of Company
  F. Second Cavalry, to escort the Surveyor General of

[Illustration: Olin D. Wheeler.]

  Montana to the falls and lakes of the Yellowstone, and
  return. They will be supplied with thirty days' rations,
  and one hundred rounds of ammunition per man. The
  acting assistant quarter-master will furnish them with the
  necessary transportation.

    By order of Major Baker.

                J.G. MacADAMS,
             First Lieutenant Second Cavalry.
                    Acting Post Adjutant.

The names of the soldiers are Sergeant William Baker and Privates John
Williamson, George W. McConnell, William Leipler and Charles Moore. This
number, added to our own company of nine, will give us fourteen men for
guard duty, a sufficient number to maintain a guard of two at all times,
with two reliefs each night, each man serving half of a night twice each
week. Our entire number, including the packers and cooks, is nineteen

Along the trail, after leaving Fort Ellis, we found large quantities of
the "service" berry, called by the Snake Indians "Tee-amp." Our ascent
of the Belt range was somewhat irregular, leading us up several sharp
acclivities, until we attained at the summit an elevation of nearly two
thousand feet above the valley we had left. The scene from this point is
excelled in grandeur only by extent and variety. An amphitheatre of
mountains 200 miles in circumference, enclosing a valley nearly as large
as the State of Rhode Island, with all its details of pinnacle, peak,
dome, rock and river, is comprehended at a glance. In front of us at a
distance of twenty miles, in sullen magnificence, rose the picturesque
range of the Madison, with the insulated rock, Mount Washington, and the
sharp pinnacle of Ward's Peak prominently in the foreground. Following
the range to the right for the distance of twenty-five miles, the eye
rests upon that singular depression where, formed by the confluent
streams of the Madison, Jefferson and Gallatin, the mighty Missouri
commences its meanderings to the Gulf. Far beyond these, in full blue
outline, are defined the round knobs of the Boulder mountains,
stretching away and imperceptibly commingling with the distant horizon.
At the left, towering a thousand feet above the circumjacent ranges, are
the glowering peaks of the Yellowstone, their summits half enveloped in
clouds, or glittering with perpetual snow. At our feet, apparently
within jumping distance, cleft centrally by its arrowy river, carpeted
with verdure, is the magnificent valley of the Gallatin, like a rich
emerald in its gorgeous mountain setting. Fascinating as was this scene
we gave it but a glance, and turned our horses' heads towards the vast
unknown. Descending the range to the east, we reached Trail creek, a
tributary of the Yellowstone, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, where we
are now camped for the night. We are now fairly launched upon our
expedition without the possibility of obtaining outside assistance in
case we need it, and means for our protection have been fully considered
since we camped, and our plans for guard duty throughout the trip have
been arranged. Hedges is to be my comrade-in-arms in this service. He
has expressed to me his great satisfaction that he is to be associated
with me throughout the trip in this night guard duty, and I am
especially pleased at being assigned to duty with so reliable a
coadjutor as Hedges, a man who can be depended upon to neglect no duty.
We two are to stand guard the first half of this first night--that is,
until 1 o'clock to-morrow morning; then Washburn and Hauser take our
places. Fresh Indian signs indicate that the red-skins are lurking near
us, and justify the apprehensions expressed in the letter which Hauser
and I received from James Stuart, that we will be attacked by the Crow
Indians.[A] I am not entirely free from anxiety. Our safety will depend
upon our vigilance. We are all well armed with long range repeating
rifles and needle guns, though there are but few of our party who are
experts at off-hand shooting with a revolver.


In the course of our discussion Jake Smith expressed his doubt whether
any member of our party except Hauser (who is an expert pistol shot) is
sufficiently skilled in the use of the revolver to hit an Indian at even
a close range, and he offered to put the matter to a test by setting up
his hat at a distance of twenty yards for the boys to shoot at with
their revolvers, without a rest, at twenty-five cents a shot. While
several members of our party were blazing away with indifferent
success, with the result that Jake was adding to his exchequer without
damage to his hat, I could not resist the inclination to quietly drop
out of sight behind a clump of bushes, where from my place of
concealment I sent from my breech-loading Ballard repeating rifle four
bullets in rapid succession, through the hat, badly riddling it. Jake
inquired, "Whose revolver is it that makes that loud report?" He did not
discover the true state of the case, but removed the target with the
ready acknowledgment that there were members of our party whose aim with
a revolver was more accurate than he had thought. I think that I will
make confession to him in a few days. I now wish that I had brought with
me an extra hat. My own is not large enough for Jake's head.
Notwithstanding the serious problems which we must deal with in making
this journey, it is well to have a little amusement while we may.

Tuesday, August 23.--Last night was the first that we were on guard. The
first relief was Hedges and Langford, the second Washburn and Hauser.
Everything went well. At 8 a.m. to-day we broke camp. Some delay
occurring in packing our horses, Lieutenant Doane and the escort went
ahead, and we did not again see them until we reached our night camp.

We traveled down Trail creek and over a spur of the mountain to the
valley of the Yellowstone, which we followed up eight miles to our
present camp. Along on our right in passing up the valley was a vast
natural pile of basaltic rock, perpendicular, a part of which had been
overthrown, showing transverse seams in the rock. Away at the right in
the highest range bordering the valley was Pyramid mountain, itself a
snow-capped peak; and further up the range was a long ridge covered with
deep snow. As we passed Pyramid mountain a cloud descended upon it,
casting its gloomy shadow over the adjacent peaks and bursting in a
grand storm. These magnificent changes in mountain scenery occasioned by
light and shade during one of these terrific tempests, with all the
incidental accompaniments of thunder, lightning, rain, snow and hail,
afford the most awe-inspiring exhibition in nature. As I write, another
grand storm, which does not extend to our camp, has broken out on
Emigrant peak, which at one moment is completely obscured in darkness;
at the next, perhaps, brilliant with light; all its gorges, recesses,
seams and cañons illuminated; these fade away into dim twilight, broken
by a terrific flash, and, echoing to successive peals,

  "* * * the rattling crags among
  Leaps the live thunder" in innumerable reverberations.

On the left of the valley the foot hills were mottled with a carpet of
beautiful, maroon-colored, delicately-tinted verdure, and towering above
all rose peak on peak of the snow-capped mountains.

To-day we saw our first Indians as we descended into the valley of the
Yellowstone. They came down from the east side of the valley, over the
foot hills, to the edge of the plateau overlooking the bottom lands of
the river, and there conspicuously displayed themselves for a time to
engage our attention. As we passed by them up the valley they moved down
to where their ponies were hobbled. Two of our party, Hauser and
Stickney, had dropped behind and passed towards the north to get a shot
at an antelope; and when they came up they reported that, while we were
observing the Indians on the plateau across the river, there were one
hundred or more of them watching us from behind a high butte as our
pack-train passed up the valley. As soon as they observed Hauser and
Stickney coming up nearly behind them, they wheeled their horses and
disappeared down the other side of the butte.[B] This early admonition
of our exposure to hostile attack, and liability to be robbed of
everything, and compelled on foot and without provisions to retrace our
steps, has been the subject of discussion in our camp to-night, and has
renewed in our party the determination to abate nothing of our
vigilance, and keep in a condition of constant preparation.


With our long-range rifles and plenty of ammunition, we can stand off
200 or 300 of them, with their less efficient weapons, if we don't let
them sneak up upon us in the night. If we encounter more than that
number, then what? The odds will be against us that they will "rub us
out," as Jim Stuart says.

Jake Smith has sent the first demoralizing shot into the camp by
announcing that he doesn't think there is any necessity for standing
guard. Jake is the only one of our party who shows some sign of
baldness, and he probably thinks that his own scalp is not worth the
taking by the Indians.

Did we act wisely in permitting him to join our party at the last moment
before leaving Helena? One careless man, no less than one who is easily
discouraged by difficulties, will frequently demoralize an entire
company. I think we have now taken all possible precautions for our
safety, but our numbers are few; and for me to say that I am not in
hourly dread of the Indians when they appear in large force, would be a
braggart boast.

Mr. Everts was taken sick this afternoon. All day we have had a cool
breeze and a few light showers, clearing off from time to time,
revealing the mountains opposite us covered from their summits half way
down with the newly fallen snow, and light clouds floating just below
over the foot hills. Until we reached the open valley of the Yellowstone
our route was over a narrow trail, from which the stream, Trail creek,
takes its name. The mountains opposite the point where we entered the
valley are rugged, grand, picturesque and immense by turns, and colored
by nature with a thousand gorgeous hues. We have traveled all this day
amid this stupendous variety of landscape until we have at length
reached the western shore of that vast and solitary river which is to
guide us to the theatre of our explorations. From the "lay of the land"
I should judge that our camp to-night is thirty-five to forty miles
above the point where Captain William Clark, of the famous Lewis and
Clark expedition, embarked with his party in July, 1806, in two
cottonwood canoes bound together with buffalo thongs, on his return to
the states. It was from that point also that some six hundred residents
of Montana embarked for a trip to the states, in forty-two flat boats,
in the autumn of 1865.[C] We learn from Mr. Boteler that there are some
twenty-five lodges of Crow Indians up the valley.[D]

Wednesday, August 24.--It rained nearly all of last night, but
Lieutenant Doane pitched his large tent, which was sufficiently
capacious to accommodate us all by lying "heads and tails," and we were
very comfortable. Throughout the forenoon we had occasional showers, but
about noon it cleared away, and, after getting a lunch, we got under
way. During the forenoon some of the escort were very successful in
fishing for trout. Mr. Everts was not well enough to accompany us, and
it was arranged that he should remain at Boteler's ranch, and that we
would move about twelve miles up the river, and there await his arrival.
Our preparations for departure being completed, General Washburn
detailed a guard of four men to accompany the pack train, while the rest
of the party rode on ahead. We broke camp at 2:30 p.m. with the pack
train and moved up the valley. At about six miles from our camp we
crossed a spur of the mountain which came down boldly to the river, and
from the top we had a beautiful view of the valley stretched out below
us, the stream fringed with a thin bordering of trees, the foot hills
rising into a level plateau covered with rich bunch grass, and towering
above all, the snow-covered summits of the distant mountains rising
majestically, seemingly just out of the plateau, though they were many
miles away. Above us the valley opened out wide, and from the
overlooking rock on which we stood we could see the long train of pack
horses winding their way along the narrow trail, the whole presenting a
picturesque scene. The rock on which we stood was a coarse conglomerate,
or pudding stone.

Five miles farther on we crossed a small stream bordered with black
cherry trees, many of the smaller ones broken down by bears, of which
animal we found many signs. One mile farther on we made our camp about a
mile below the middle cañon. To-night we have antelope, rabbit, duck,
grouse and the finest of large trout for supper. As I write, General
Washburn, Hedges and Hauser are engaged in an animated discussion of the
differences between France and Germany, and the probabilities of the
outcome of the war. The three gentlemen are not agreed in determining
where the responsibility for the trouble lies, and I fear that I will
have to check their profanity. However, neither Washburn nor Hedges

Thursday, August 25.--Last night was very cold, the thermometer marking
40 degrees at 8 o'clock a.m. At one mile of travel we came to the middle
cañon, which we passed on a very narrow trail running over a high spur
of the mountain overlooking the river, which at this point is forced
through a narrow gorge, surging and boiling and tumbling over the rocks,
the water having a dark green color. After passing the cañon we again
left the valley, passing over the mountain, on the top of which at an
elevation of several hundred feet above the river is a beautiful lake.
Descending the mountain again, we entered the valley, which here is
about one and a half to two miles wide. At nineteen miles from our
morning camp we came to Gardiner's river, at the mouth of which we
camped. We are near the southern boundary of Montana, and still in the
limestone and granite formations. Mr. Everts came into camp just at
night, nearly recovered, but very tired from his long and tedious ride
over a rugged road, making our two days' travel in one. We passed to-day
a singular formation which we named "The Devil's Slide," From the top of
the mountain to the valley, a distance of about 800 feet, the trap rock
projected from 75 to 125 feet, the intermediate layers of friable rock
having been washed out. The trap formation is about twenty-five feet
wide, and covered with stunted pine trees. Opposite our camp is a high
drift formation of granite boulders, gravel and clay. The boulders are
the regular gray Quincy granite, and those in the middle of the river
are hollowed out by the action of the water into many curious shapes. We
have here found our first specimens of petrifactions and obsidian, or
volcanic glass. From the top of the mountain back of our camp we can see
to-night a smoke rising from another peak, which some of our party think
is a signal from one band of the Indians to another, conveying
intelligence of our progress. Along our trail of to-day are plenty of
Indian "signs," and marks of the lodge poles dragging in the sand on
either side of the trail.[E]

Jake Smith stood guard last night, or ought to have done so, and but for
the fact that Gillette was also on guard, I should not have had an
undisturbed sleep. We know that the Indians are near us, and sleep is
more refreshing to me when I feel assured that I will not be joined in
my slumbers by those who are assigned for watchful guard duty.

[Illustration: S.T. Hauser]

Friday, August 26.--For some reason we did not leave camp till 11
o'clock a.m. We forded Gardiner's river with some difficulty, several of
our pack animals being nearly carried off their feet by the torrent. We
passed over several rocky ridges or points coming down from the
mountain, and at one and a half miles came down again into the valley,
which one of our party called the "Valley of desolation." Taking the
trail upon the left, we followed it until it led us to the mouth of a
cañon, through which ran an old Indian or game trail, which was hardly
discernible, and had evidently been long abandoned. Retracing our steps
for a quarter of a mile, and taking a cut-off through the sage brush, we
followed another trail upon our right up through a steep, dry coulee.
From the head of the coulee we went through fallen timber over a burnt
and rocky road, our progress being very slow. A great many of the packs
came off our horses or became loosened, necessitating frequent haltings
for their readjustment. Upon the summit we found a great many shells.
Descending the divide we found upon the trail the carcass of an antelope
which the advance party had killed, and which we packed on our horses
and carried to our night camp. In the morning Lieutenant Doane and one
of his men, together with Mr. Everts, had started out ahead of the party
to search out the best trail. At 3 o'clock p.m. we arrived at Antelope
creek, only six miles from our morning camp, where we concluded to halt.
On the trail which we were following there were no tracks except those
of unshod ponies; and, as our horses were all shod, it was evident that
Lieutenant Doane and the advance party had descended the mountain by
some other trail than that which we were following. Neither were there
any marks of dragging lodge poles. There are seemingly two trails across
the mountain,--a circuitous one by as easy a grade as can be found, over
which the Indians send their families with their heavily laden pack
horses; and a more direct, though more difficult, route which the war
parties use in making their rapid rides. This last is the one we have
taken, and the advance party has doubtless taken the other.

Our camp to-night is on Antelope creek, about five miles from the
Yellowstone river. After our arrival in camp, in company with Stickney
and Gillette, I made a scout of eight or ten miles through the country
east of our trail, and between it and the river, in search of some sign
of Lieutenant Doane, but we found no trace of him. Parting from Stickney
and Gillette, I followed down the stream through a narrow gorge by a
game trail, hoping if I could reach the Yellowstone, to find a good
trail along its banks up to the foot of the Grand cañon; but I found the
route impracticable for the passage of our pack train. After supper Mr.
Hauser and I went out in search of our other party, and found the tracks
of their horses, which we followed about four miles to the brow of a
mountain overlooking the country for miles in advance of us. Here we
remained an hour, firing our guns as a signal, and carefully scanning
the whole country with our field glasses. We could discern the trail for
many miles on its tortuous course, but could see no sign of a camp, or
of horses feeding, and we returned to our camp.

Saturday, August 27.--Lieutenant Doane and those who were with him did
not return to camp last night. At change of guard Gillette's pack horse
became alarmed at something in the bushes bordering upon the creek on
the bank of which he was tied, and, breaking loose, dashed through the
camp, rousing all of us. Some wild animal--snake, fox or something of
the kind--was probably the cause of the alarm. In its flight I became
entangled in the lariat and was dragged head first for three or four
rods, my head striking a log, which proved to be very rotten, and
offered little resistance to a hard head, and did me very little
damage. Towards morning a slight shower of rain fell, continuing at
intervals till 8 o'clock. We left camp about 9 o'clock, the pack train
following about 11 o'clock, and soon struck the trail of Lieutenant
Doane, which proved to be the route traveled by the Indians. The marks
of their lodge poles were plainly visible. At about four miles from our
morning camp we discovered at some distance ahead of us what first
appeared to be a young elk, but which proved to be a colt that had
become separated from the camp of Indians to which it belonged. We think
the Indians cannot be far from us at this time. Following the trail up
the ascent leading from Antelope creek, we entered a deep cut, the sides
of which rise at an angle of 45 degrees, and are covered with a
luxuriant growth of grass. Through this cut we ascended by a grade
entirely practicable for a wagon road to the summit of the divide
separating the waters of Antelope creek from those of [F]---- creek, and
from the summit descended through a beautiful gorge to a small tributary
of the Yellowstone, a distance of two miles, dismounting and leading our
horses almost the entire distance, the descent being too precipitous for
the rider's comfort or for ease to the horse. We were now within four
miles of[F]---- creek, and within two miles of the Yellowstone. On the
right of the trail, two miles farther on, we found a small hot sulphur
spring, the water of which was at a temperature a little below the
boiling point, which at this elevation is about 195 degrees. Ascending a
high ridge we had a commanding view of a basaltic formation of
palisades, about thirty feet in height, on the opposite bank of the
Yellowstone, overlooking a stratum of cement and gravel nearly two
hundred feet thick, beneath which is another formation of the basaltic
rock, and beneath this another body of cement and gravel. We named this
formation "Column Rock." The upper formation, from which the rock takes
its name, consists of basaltic columns about thirty feet high, closely
touching each other, the columns being from three to five feet in
diameter. A little farther on we descended the sides of the cañon,
through which runs a large creek. We crossed this creek and camped on
the south side. Our camp is about four hundred feet in elevation above
the Yellowstone, which is not more than two miles distant. The creek is
full of granite boulders, varying in size from six inches to ten feet in

General Washburn was on guard last night, and to-night he seems somewhat
fatigued. Mr. Hedges has improvised a writing stool from a sack of
flour, and I have appropriated a sack of beans for a like use; and, as
we have been writing, there has been a lively game of cards played near
my left side, which Hedges, who has just closed his diary, says is a
game of poker. I doubt if Deacon Hedges is sufficiently posted in the
game to know to a certainty that poker is the game which is being
played; but, putting what Hedges tells me with what I see and hear, I
find that these infatuated players have put a valuation of five (5)
cents per bean, on beans that did not cost more than $1 quart in Helena,
and Jake Smith exhibits a marvelous lack of veneration for his
kinswoman, by referring to each bean, as he places it before him upon
the table, as his "aunt," or, more flippantly, his "auntie." Walter
Trumbull has been styled the "Banker," and he says that at the
commencement of the game he sold forty of these beans to each of the
players, himself included (200 in all), at five (5) cents each, and that
he has already redeemed the entire 200 at that rate; and now Jake Smith
has a half-pint cup nearly full of beans, and is demanding of Trumbull
that he redeem them also; that is, pay five (5) cents per bean for the
contents of the cup. Trumbull objects. Jake persists. Reflecting upon
their disagreement I recall that about an hour ago Jake, with an
apologetic "Excuse me!" disturbed me while I was writing and untied the
bean sack on which I am now sitting, and took from it a double handful
of beans.

It seems to me that a game of cards which admits of such latitude as
this, with a practically unlimited draft upon outside resources, is
hardly fair to all parties, and especially to "The Banker."

Sunday, August 28.--To-day being Sunday, we remained all day in our
camp, which Washburn and Everts have named "Camp Comfort," as we have an
abundance of venison and trout.

We visited the falls of the creek, the waters of which tumble over the
rocks and boulders for the distance of 200 yards from our camp, and then
fall a distance of 110 feet, as triangulated by Mr. Hauser. Stickney
ventured to the verge of the fall, and, with a stone attached to a
strong cord, measured its height, which he gives as 105 feet.

The stream, in its descent to the brink of the fall, is separated into
half a dozen distorted channels which have zig-zagged their passage
through the cement formation, working it into spires, pinnacles, towers
and many other capricious objects. Many of these are of faultless
symmetry, resembling the minaret of a mosque; others are so grotesque as
to provoke merriment as well as wonder. One of this latter character we
named "The Devil's Hoof," from its supposed similarity to the proverbial
foot of his Satanic majesty. The height of this rock from its base is
about fifty feet.

[Illustration: DEVIL'S HOOF.]

The friable rock forming the spires and towers and pinnacles crumbles
away under a slight pressure. I climbed one of these tall spires on the
brink of the chasm overlooking the fall, and from the top had a
beautiful view, though it was one not unmixed with terror. Directly
beneath my feet, but probably about one hundred feet below me, was the
verge of the fall, and still below that the deep gorge through which the
creek went bounding and roaring over the boulders to its union with the
Yellowstone. The scenery here cannot be called grand or magnificent, but
it is most beautiful and picturesque. The spires are from 75 to 100 feet
in height. The volume of water is about six or eight times that of
Minnehaha fall, and I think that a month ago, while the snows were still
melting, the creek could not easily have been forded. The route to the
foot of the fall is by a well worn Indian trail running to the mouth of
the creek over boulders and fallen pines, and through thickets of
raspberry bushes.

At the mouth of the creek on the Yellowstone is a hot sulphur spring,
the odor from which is perceptible in our camp to-day. At the base of
the fall we found a large petrifaction of wood imbedded in the debris of
the falling cement and slate rock. There are several sulphur springs at
the mouth of the creek, three of them boiling, others nearly as hot as
boiling water. There is also a milky white sulphur spring. Within one
yard of a spring, the temperature of which is little below the boiling
point, is a sulphur spring with water nearly as cold as ice water, or
not more than ten degrees removed from it.

I went around and almost under the fall, or as far as the rocks gave a
foot-hold, the rising spray thoroughly wetting and nearly blinding me.
Some two hundred yards below the fall is a huge granite boulder about
thirty feet in diameter. Where did it come from?

In camp to-day several names were proposed for the creek and fall, and
after much discussion the name "Minaret" was selected. Later, this
evening, this decision has been reconsidered, and we have decided to
substitute the name "Tower" for "Minaret," and call it "Tower Fall."[G]

General Washburn rode out to make a _reconnaissance_ for a route to the
river, and returned about 3 o'clock in the afternoon with the
intelligence that from the summit of a high mountain he had seen
Yellowstone lake, the proposed object of our visit; and with his compass
he had noted its direction from our camp. This intelligence has greatly
relieved our anxiety concerning the course we are to pursue, and has
quieted the dread apprehensions of some of our number, lest we become
inextricably involved in the wooded labyrinth by which we are
surrounded; and in violation of our agreement that we would not give the
name of any member of our party to any object of interest, we have
spontaneously and by unanimous vote given the mountain the name by which
it will hereafter and forever be known, "Mount Washburn."

In addition to our saddle horses and pack horses, we have another
four-footed animal in our outfit--a large black dog of seeming little
intelligence, to which we have given the name of "Booby." He is owned
by "Nute," one of our colored boys, who avers that he is a very knowing
dog, and will prove himself so before our journey is ended. The poor
beast is becoming sore-footed, and his sufferings excite our sympathy,
and we are trying to devise some kind of shoe or moccasin for him. The
rest to-day in camp will benefit him. Lieutenant Doane is suffering
greatly with a felon on his thumb. It ought to be opened, but he is
unwilling to submit to a thorough operation. His sufferings kept him
awake nearly all of last night.

Monday, August 29.--We broke camp about 8 o'clock, leaving the trail,
which runs down to the mouth of the creek, and passed over a succession
of high ridges, and part of the time through fallen timber. The trail of
the Indians leads off to the left, to the brink of the Yellowstone,
which it follows up about three-fourths of a mile, and then crosses to
the east side. Hauser, Gillette, Stickney, Trumbull and myself rode out
to the summit of Mount Washburn, which is probably the highest peak on
the west side of the river. Having an aneroid barometer with us, we
ascertained the elevation of the mountain to be about 9,800 feet. The
summit is about 500 feet above the snow line.

Descending the mountain on the southwest side, we came upon the trail of
the pack train, which we followed to our camp at the head of a small
stream running into the Yellowstone, which is about five miles distant.
As we came into camp a black bear kindly vacated the premises. After
supper some of our party followed down the creek to its mouth. At about
one mile below our camp the creek runs through a bed of volcanic ashes,
which extends for a hundred yards on either side. Toiling on our course
down this creek to the river we came suddenly upon a basin of boiling
sulphur springs, exhibiting signs of activity and points of difference
so wonderful as to fully absorb our curiosity. The largest of these,
about twenty feet in diameter, is boiling like a cauldron, throwing
water and fearful volumes of sulphurous vapor higher than our heads. Its
color is a disagreeable greenish yellow. The central spring of the
group, of dark leaden hue, is in the most violent agitation, its
convulsive spasms frequently projecting large masses of water to the
height of seven or eight feet. The spring lying to the east of this,
more diabolical in appearance, filled with a hot brownish substance of
the consistency of mucilage, is in constant noisy ebullition, emitting
fumes of villainous odor. Its surface is covered with bubbles, which are
constantly rising and bursting, and emitting sulphurous gases from
various parts of its surface. Its appearance has suggested the name,
which Hedges has given, of "Hell-Broth springs;" for, as we gazed upon
the infernal mixture and inhaled the pungent sickening vapors, we were
impressed with the idea that this was a most perfect realization of
Shakespeare's image in Macbeth. It needed but the presence of Hecate and
her weird band to realize that horrible creation of poetic fancy, and I
fancied the "black and midnight hags" concocting a charm around this
horrible cauldron. We ventured near enough to this spring to dip the end
of a pine pole into it, which, upon removal, was covered an eighth of an
inch thick with lead-colored sulphury slime.

There are five large springs and half a dozen smaller ones in this
basin, all of them strongly impregnated with sulphur, alum and arsenic.
The water from all the larger springs is dark brown or nearly black. The
largest spring is fifteen to eighteen feet in diameter, and the water
boils up like a cauldron from 18 to 30 inches, and one instinctively
draws back from the edge as the hot sulphur steam rises around him.
Another of the larger springs is intermittent. The smaller springs are
farther up on the bank than the larger ones. The deposit of sinter
bordering one of them, with the emission of steam and smoke combined,
gives it a resemblance to a chimney of a miner's cabin. Around them all
is an incrustation formed from the bases of the spring deposits,
arsenic, alum, sulphur, etc. This incrustation is sufficiently strong in
many places to bear the weight of a man, but more frequently it gave
way, and from the apertures thus created hot steam issued, showing it to
be dangerous to approach the edge of the springs; and it was with the
greatest difficulty that I obtained specimens of the incrustation. This
I finally accomplished by lying at full length upon that portion of the
incrustation which yielded the least, but which was not sufficiently
strong to bear my weight while I stood upright, and at imminent risk of
sinking in the infernal mixture, I rolled over and over to the edge of
the opening; and, with the crust slowly bending and sinking beneath me,
hurriedly secured the coveted prize of black sulphur, and rolled back to
a place of safety.


From the springs to the mouth of the creek we followed along the bank,
the bed or bottom being too rough and precipitous for us to travel in
it, the total fall in the creek for the three miles being about fifteen
hundred feet. Standing upon the high point at the junction of the creek
with the Yellowstone, one first gets some idea of the depth of the cañon
through which the river runs. From this height the sound of the waters
of the Yellowstone, tumbling over tremendous rocks and boulders, could
not be heard. Everything around us--mountains, valleys, cañon and trees,
heights and depths--all are in such keeping and proportion that all our
estimates of distances are far below the real truth. To-day we passed
the mouth of Hell-Roaring river on the opposite side of the Yellowstone.

It was again Jake Smith's turn for guard duty last night, but this
morning Jake's countenance wore a peculiar expression, which indicated
that he possessed some knowledge not shared by the rest of the party. He
spoke never a word, and was as serene as a Methodist minister behind
four aces. My interpretation of this self-satisfied serenity is that his
guard duty did not deprive him of much sleep. When it comes to
considering the question of danger in this Indian country, Jake thinks
that he knows more than the veteran Jim Stuart, whom we expected to join
us on this trip, and who has given us some salutary words of caution. In
a matter in which the safety of our whole party is involved, it is
unfortunate that there are no "articles of war" to aid in the
enforcement of discipline, in faithful guard duty.

Tuesday, August 30.--We broke camp about 9 o'clock a.m., traveling in a
southerly direction over the hills adjoining our camp, and then
descended the ridge in a southwesterly direction, heading off several
ravines, till we came into a small valley; thence we crossed over a
succession of ridges of fallen timber to a creek, where we halted about
ten miles from our morning camp and about a mile from the upper fall of
the Yellowstone. Mr. Hedges gave the name "Cascade creek" to this

When we left our camp this morning at Hell-Broth springs, I remarked to
Mr. Hedges and General Washburn that the wonders of which we were in
pursuit had not disappointed us in their first exhibitions, and that I
was encouraged in the faith that greater curiosities lay before us. We
believed that the great cataracts of the Yellowstone were within two
days', or at most three days', travel. So when we reached Cascade creek,
on which we are now encamped, after a short day of journeying, it was
with much astonishment as well as delight that we found ourselves in the
immediate presence of the falls. Their roar, smothered by the vast depth
of the cañon into which they plunge, was not heard until they were
before us. With remarkable deliberation we unsaddled and lariated our
horses, and even refreshed ourselves with such creature comforts as our
larder readily afforded, before we deigned a survey of these great
wonders of nature. On our walk down the creek to the river, struck with
the beauty of its cascades, we even neglected the greater, to admire the
lesser wonders. Bushing with great celerity through a deep defile of
lava and obsidian, worn into caverns and fissures, the stream,
one-fourth of a mile from its debouchure, breaks into a continuous
cascade of remarkable beauty, consisting of a fall of five feet,
succeeded by another of fifteen into a grotto formed by proximate rocks
imperfectly arching it, whence from a crystal pool of unfathomable depth
at their base, it lingers as if half reluctant to continue its course,
or as if to renew its power, and then glides gracefully over a
descending, almost perpendicular, ledge, veiling the rocks for the
distance of eighty feet. Mr. Hedges gave to this succession of cascades
the name "Crystal fall." It is very beautiful; but the broken and
cavernous gorge through which it passes, worn into a thousand fantastic
shapes, bearing along its margin the tracks of grizzly bears and lesser
wild animals, scattered throughout with huge masses of obsidian and
other volcanic matter--the whole suggestive of nothing earthly nor
heavenly--received at our hands, and not inaptly as I conceive, the name
of "The Devil's Den."

I presume that many persons will question the taste evinced by our
company in the selection of names for the various objects of interest we
have thus far met with; but they are all so different from any of
Nature's works that we have ever seen or heard of, so entirely out of
range of human experience, and withal so full of exhibitions which can
suggest no other fancy than that which our good grandmothers have
painted on our boyish imaginations as a destined future abode, that we
are likely, almost involuntarily, to pursue the system with which we
have commenced, to the end of our journey. A similar imagination has
possessed travelers and visitors to other volcanic regions.

We have decided to remain at this point through the entire day
to-morrow, and examine the cañon and falls. From the brief survey of the
cañon I was enabled to make before darkness set in, I am impressed with
its awful grandeur, and I realize the impossibility of giving to any one
who has not seen a gorge similar in character, any idea of it.

[Illustration: Cornelius Hedges.]

It is getting late, and it is already past our usual bedtime, and Jake
Smith is calling to me to "turn in" and give him a chance to sleep.
There is in what I have already seen so much of novelty to fill the
mind and burden the memory, that unless I write down in detail the
events of each day, and indeed almost of each hour as it passes, I shall
not be able to prepare for publication on my return home any clear or
satisfactory account of these wonders. So Jake may go to. I will write
until my candle burns out. Jacob is indolent and fond of slumber, and I
think that he resents my remark to him the other day, that he could burn
more and gather less wood than any man I ever camped with. He has dubbed
me "The Yellowstone sharp." Good! I am not ashamed to have the title.
Lieutenant Doane has crawled out of his blankets, and is just outside
the tent with his hand and fore-arm immersed in water nearly as cold as
ice. I am afraid that lock-jaw will set in if he does not consent to
have the felon lanced.

Wednesday, August 31.--This has been a "red-letter" day with me, and one
which I shall not soon forget, for my mind is clogged and my memory
confused by what I have to-day seen. General Washburn and Mr. Hedges are
sitting near me, writing, and we have an understanding that we will
compare our notes when finished. We are all overwhelmed with
astonishment and wonder at what we have seen, and we feel that we have
been near the very presence of the Almighty. General Washburn has just
quoted from the psalm:

  "When I behold the work of Thy hands, what is man
  that Thou art mindful of him!"

My own mind is so confused that I hardly know where to commence in
making a clear record of what is at this moment floating past my mental
vision. I cannot confine myself to a bare description of the falls of
the Yellowstone alone, for these two great cataracts are but one feature
in a scene composed of so many of the elements of grandeur and
sublimity, that I almost despair of giving to those who on our return
home will listen to a recital of our adventures, the faintest conception
of it. The immense cañon or gorge of rocks through which the river
descends, perhaps more than the falls, is calculated to fill the
observer with feelings of mingled awe and terror. This chasm is
seemingly about thirty miles in length. Commencing above the upper fall,
it attains a depth of two hundred feet where that takes its plunge, and
in the distance of half a mile from that point to the verge of the lower
fall, it rapidly descends with the river between walls of rock nearly
six hundred feet in vertical height, to which three hundred and twenty
feet are added by the fall. Below this the wall lines marked by the
descent of the river grow in height with incredible distinctness, until
they are probably two thousand feet above the water. There is a
difference of nearly three thousand feet in altitude between the surface
of the river at the upper fall and the foot of the cañon. Opposite Mount
Washburn the cañon must be more than half a vertical mile in depth. As
it is impossible to explore the entire cañon, we are unable to tell
whether the course of the river through it is broken by other and larger
cataracts than the two we have seen, or whether its continuous descent
alone has produced the enormous depth to which it has attained. Rumors
of falls a thousand feet in height have often reached us before we made
this visit. At all points where we approached the edge of the cañon the
river was descending with fearful momentum through it, and the rapids
and foam from the dizzy summit of the rock overhanging the lower fall,
and especially from points farther down the cañon, were so terrible to
behold, that none of our company could venture the experiment in any
other manner than by lying prone upon the rock, to gaze into its awful
depths; depths so amazing that the sound of the rapids in their course
over immense boulders, and lashing in fury the base of the rocks on
which we were lying, could not be heard. The stillness is horrible, and
the solemn grandeur of the scene surpasses conception. You feel the
absence of sound--the oppression of absolute silence. Down, down, down,
you see the river attenuated to a thread. If you could only hear that
gurgling river, lashing with puny strength the massive walls that
imprison it and hold it in their dismal shadow, if you could but see a
living thing in the depth beneath you, if a bird would but fly past you,
if the wind would move any object in that awful chasm, to break for a
moment the solemn silence which reigns there, it would relieve that
tension of the nerves which the scene has excited, and with a grateful
heart you would thank God that he had permitted you to gaze unharmed
upon this majestic display of his handiwork. But as it is, the spirit of
man sympathizes with the deep gloom of the scene, and the brain reels as
you gaze into this profound and solemn solitude.

[Illustration: GRAND CAÑON.]

The place where I obtained the best and most terrible view of the cañon
was a narrow projecting point situated two or three miles below the
lower fall.[H] Standing there or rather lying there for greater safety,
I thought how utterly impossible it would be to describe to another the
sensations inspired by such a presence. As I took in this scene, I
realized my own littleness, my helplessness, my dread exposure to
destruction, my inability to cope with or even comprehend the mighty
architecture of nature. More than all this I felt as never before my
entire dependence upon that Almighty Power who had wrought these
wonders. A sense of danger, lest the rock should crumble away, almost
overpowered me. My knees trembled, and I experienced the terror which
causes, men to turn pale and their countenances to blanch with fear, and
I recoiled from the vision I had seen, glad to feel the solid earth
beneath me and to realize the assurance of returning safety.

The scenery surrounding the cañon and falls on both banks of the
Yellowstone is enlivened by all the hues of abundant vegetation. The
foot-hills approach the river, crowned with a vesture of evergreen
pines. Meadows verdant with grasses and shrubbery stretch away to the
base of the distant mountains, which, rolling into ridges, rising into
peaks, and breaking into chains, are defined in the deepest blue upon
the horizon. To render the scene still more imposing, remarkable
volcanic deposits, wonderful boiling springs, jets of heated vapor,
large collections of sulphur, immense rocks and petrifications abound in
great profusion in this immediate vicinity. The river is filled with
trout, and bear, elk, deer, mountain lions and lesser game roam the
plains, forests and mountain fastnesses.

The two grand falls of the Yellowstone form a fitting completion to this
stupendous climax of wonders. They impart life, power, light and majesty
to an assemblage of elements, which without them would be the most
gloomy and horrible solitude in nature. Their eternal anthem, echoing
from cañon, mountain, rock and woodland, thrills you with delight, and
you gaze with rapture at the iris-crowned curtains of fleecy foam as
they plunge into gulfs enveloped in mist and spray. The stillness which
held your senses spellbound, as you peered into the dismal depths of the
cañon below, is now broken by the uproar of waters; the terror it
inspired is superseded by admiration and astonishment, and the scene,
late so painful from its silence and gloom, is now animate with joy and

The upper fall, as determined by the rude means of measurement at our
command, is one hundred and fifteen feet in height. The river approaches
it through a passage of rocks which rise one hundred feet on either side
above its surface. Until within half a mile of the brink of the fall the
river is peaceful and unbroken by a ripple. Suddenly, as if aware of
impending danger, it becomes lashed into foam, circled with eddies, and
soon leaps into fearful rapids. The rocky jaws confining it gradually
converge as it approaches the edge of the fall, bending its course by
their projections, and apparently crowding back the water, which
struggles and leaps against their bases, warring with its bounds in the
impatience of restraint, and madly leaping from its confines, a liquid
emerald wreathed with foam, into the abyss beneath. The sentinel rocks,
a hundred feet asunder, could easily be spanned by a bridge directly
over and in front of the fall, and fancy led me forward to no distant
period when such an effort of airy architecture would be crowded with
happy gazers from all portions of our country. A quarter of the way
between the verge and the base of the fall a rocky table projects from
the west bank, in front of and almost within reaching distance of it,
furnishing a point of observation where the finest view can be obtained.
In order to get a more perfect view of the cataract, Mr. Hedges and I
made our way down to this table rock, where we sat for a long time. As
from this spot we looked up at the descending waters, we insensibly felt
that the slightest protrusion in them would hurl us backwards into the
gulf below. A thousand arrows of foam, apparently _aimed at us_, leaped
from the verge, and passed rapidly down the sheet. But as the view grew
upon us, and we comprehended the power, majesty and beauty of the scene,
we became insensible to danger and gave ourselves up to the full
enjoyment of it.

Very beautiful as is this fall, it is greatly excelled in grandeur and
magnificence by the cataract half a mile below it, where the river takes
another perpendicular plunge of three hundred and twenty feet into the
most gloomy cavern that ever received so majestic a visitant. Between
the two falls, the river, though bordered by lofty precipices, expands
in width and flows gently over a nearly level surface until its near
approach to the verge. Here a sudden convergence in the rocks compresses
its channel, and with a gurgling, choking struggle, it leaps with a
single bound, sheer from an even level shelf, into the tremendous
chasm. The sheet could not be more perfect if wrought by art. The
Almighty has vouchsafed no grander scene to human eyes. Every object
that meets the vision increases its sublimity. There is a majestic
harmony in the whole, which I have never seen before in nature's
grandest works. The fall itself takes its leap between the jaws of rocks
whose vertical height above it is more than six hundred feet, and more
than nine hundred feet above the chasm into which it falls. Long before
it reaches the base it is enveloped in spray, which is woven by the
sun's rays into bows radiant with all the colors of the prism, and
arching the face of the cataract with their glories. Five hundred feet
below the edge of the cañon, and one hundred and sixty feet above the
verge of the cataract, and overlooking the deep gorge beneath, on the
flattened summit of a projecting crag, I lay with my face turned into
the boiling chasm, and with a stone suspended by a large cord measured
its profoundest depths. Three times in its descent the cord was parted
by abrasion, but at last, securing the weight with a leather band, I was
enabled to ascertain by a measurement which I think quite exact, the
height of the fall. It is a little more than three hundred and twenty
feet; while the perpendicular wall down which I suspended the weight was
five hundred and ten feet.


Looking down from this lofty eminence through the cañon below the falls,
the scene is full of grandeur. The descent of the river for more than a
mile is marked by continuous cascades varying in height from five to
twenty feet, and huge rapids breaking over the rocks, and lashing with
foam the precipitous sides of the gorge. A similar descent through the
entire cañon (thirty miles), is probable, as in no other way except by
distinct cataracts of enormous height can the difference in altitude
between this point and its outlet be explained. The colors of the rock,
which is shaly in character, are variegated with yellow, gray and brown,
and the action of the water in its rapid passage down the sides of the
cañon has worn the fragments of shale into countless capricious forms.
Jets of steam issue from the sides of the cañon at frequent intervals,
marking the presence of thermal springs and active volcanic forces. The
evidence of a recession of the river through the cañon is designated by
the ridges apparent on its sides, and it is not improbable that at no
distant day the lower fall will become blended by this process with the
upper, forming a single cataract nearly five hundred feet in height.

There are but few places where the sides of the Grand cañon can be
descended with safety. Hauser and Stickney made the descent at a point
where the river was 1,050 feet below the edge of the cañon, as
determined by triangulation by Mr. Hauser. Lieutenant Doane, accompanied
by his orderly, went down the river several miles, and following down
the bed of a lateral stream reached its junction with the Yellowstone at
a point where the cañon was about 1,500 feet in depth--the surface of
the ground rising the farther he went down the river.

Mr. Hedges and I sat on the table-rock to which I have referred,
opposite the upper fall, as long as our limited time would permit; and
as we reluctantly left it and climbed to the top, I expressed my regret
at leaving so fascinating a spot, quoting the familiar line:

  "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Mr. Hedges asked me who was the author of the line, but I could not
tell. I will look it up on my return.[I]

Yes! This stupendous display of nature's handiwork will be to me "a joy
forever." It lingers in my memory like the faintly defined outlines of a
dream. I can scarcely realize that in the unbroken solitude of this
majestic range of rocks, away from civilization and almost inaccessible
to human approach, the Almighty has placed so many of the most wonderful
and magnificent objects of His creation, and that I am to be one of the
few first to bring them to the notice of the world. Truly has it been
said, that we live to learn how little may be known, and of what we see,
how much surpasses comprehension.

Thursday, September 1.--We did not break camp till nearly ten o'clock
this morning, the pack-train crossing Cascade creek at its head, and
coming into the river trail about two miles above the upper fall. The
more direct trail--shorter by one and a half miles--runs along the bank
of the river.

If we had not decided, last night, that we would move on to-day, I think
that every member of the party would have been glad to stay another day
at the cañon and falls. I will, however, except out of the number our
comrade Jake Smith. The afternoon of our arrival at the cañon (day
before yesterday), after half an hour of inspection of the falls and
cañon, he said: "Well, boys, I have seen all there is, and I am ready to
move on."

However, the perceptible decline in our larder, and the uncertainty of
the time to be occupied in further explorations, forbid more than these
two days' stay at the falls and cañon. The sun this morning shone
brightly, and its rays were reflected upon the sides of the dismal
cañon--so dark, and gray, and still--enlivening and brightening it.
To-day has been warm, and nature this morning seemed determined that our
last look should be the brightest, for the beauties of the entire
landscape invited us to make a longer stay, and we lingered till the
last moment, that the final impression might not be lost.

Pursuing our journey, at two miles above the falls we crossed a small
stream which we named "Alum" creek, as it is strongly impregnated with

[Illustration: W.C. Gillette.]

Six miles above the upper fall we entered upon a region remarkable for
the number and variety of its hot springs and craters. The principal
spring, and the one that first meets the eye as you approach from the
north, is a hot sulphur spring, of oval shape, the water of which is
constantly boiling and is thrown up to the height of from three to seven
feet. Its two diameters are about twelve feet and twenty feet, and it
has an indented border of seemingly pure sulphur, about two feet wide
and extending down into the spring or cauldron to the edge of the water,
which at the time of our visit, if it had been at rest, would have been
fifteen or eighteen inches below the rim of the spring. This spring is
situated at the base of a low mountain, and the gentle slope below and
around the spring for the distance of two hundred or three hundred feet
is covered to the depth of from three to ten inches with the sulphurous
deposit from the overflow of the spring. The moistened bed of a dried-up
rivulet, leading from the edge of the spring down inside through this
deposit, showed us that the spring had but recently been overflowing.
Farther along the base of this mountain is a sulphurous cavern about
twenty feet deep, and seven or eight feet in diameter at its mouth, out
of which the steam is thrown in jets with a sound resembling the puffing
of a steam-boat when laboring over a sand-bar, and with as much
uniformity and intonation as if emitted by a high-pressure engine. From
hundreds of fissures in the adjoining mountain from base to summit,
issue hot sulphur vapors, the apertures through which they escape being
encased in thick incrustations of sulphur, which in many instances is
perfectly pure. There are nearby a number of small sulphur springs, not
especially remarkable in appearance.

About one hundred yards from these springs is a large hot spring of
irregular shape, but averaging forty feet long by twenty-five wide, the
water of which is of a dark muddy color. Still farther on are twenty or
thirty springs of boiling mud of different degrees of consistency and
color, and of sizes varying from two to eight feet in diameter, and of
depths below the surface varying from three to eight feet. The mud in
these springs is in most cases a little thinner than mortar prepared
for plastering, and, as it is thrown up from one to two feet, I can
liken its appearance to nothing so much as Indian meal hasty pudding
when the process of boiling is nearly completed, except that the
puffing, bloated bubbles are greatly magnified, being from a few inches
to two feet in diameter. In some of the springs the mud is of dark brown
color, in others nearly pink, and in one it was almost yellow. Springs
four or five feet in diameter and not over six feet apart, have no
connection one with another either above or beneath the surface, the mud
in them being of different colors. In some instances there is a
difference of three feet in the height to which the mud in adjoining
springs attains. There may be in some instances two or more springs
which receive their supply of mud and their underground pressure from
the same general source, but these instances are rare, nor can we
determine positively that such is the case. This mud having been worked
over and over for many years is as soft as the finest pigments.

All of these springs are embraced within a circle the radius of which is
from a thousand to twelve hundred feet, and the whole of this surface
seems to be a smothered crater covered over with an incrustation of
sufficient strength and thickness to bear usually a very heavy weight,
but which in several instances yielded and even broke through under the
weight of our horses as we rode over it. We quickly dismounted, and as
we were making some examinations, the crust broke through several times
in some thin places through which vapor was issuing. Under the whole of
this incrustation the hottest fires seem to be raging, and the heat
issuing from the vents or from the crevices caused from the breaking in
of the surface is too intense to be borne by the gloved hand for an
instant. Surrounding the natural vents are deposits of pure sulphur,
portions of which in many instances we broke off, and after allowing
them to cool, brought them away with us. On the top of the mountain
overlooking the large sulphur spring is a small living crater about six
inches in diameter, out of which issue hot vapor and smoke. On the slope
adjoining the mud spring is another crater of irregular shape, but
embracing about one hundred square inches, out of which issues hot
vapor, the rocks adjoining changing color under the intense heat with
every breath blown upon them.

The tramp of our horses' feet as we rode over the incrustation at the
base of the mountain returned a hollow sound; yet while some of our
party were not disposed to venture upon it with their horses, still I
think with care in selecting a route there is very little danger in
riding over it.

On the mountain, large quantities of sulphur formed by the condensation
of the vapor issuing from the crevices, now closed, but once in activity
in the incrusted covering, have been deposited, and we collected many
specimens of pure and crystallized sulphur. Thousands of pounds of pure
and nearly pure sulphur are now lying on the top and sides of the
mountain, all of which can be easily gathered with the aid of a spade to
detach it from the mountain side incrustations to which it adheres in
the process of condensation. We gave to this mountain the name "Crater

Five miles further on we camped near the "Mud geyser." Our course to-day
has been for the greater part over a level valley, which was plainly
visible from the top of Mount Washburn. The water of the river at this
point is strongly impregnated with the mineral bases of the springs
surrounding our camp, and that empty into the river above it.

Friday, September 2.--To-day we have occupied ourselves in examining the
springs and other wonders at this point. At the base of the foot-hills
adjoining our camp are three large springs of thick boiling mud, the
largest of which resembles an immense cauldron. It is about thirty feet
in diameter, bordered by a rim several feet wide, upon which one can
stand within reach of the boiling mass of mud, the surface of which is
four or five feet below the rim enclosing it, the rim being a little
raised above the surrounding level. Some twelve or fifteen rods from
this spring are two other springs from ten to twelve feet in diameter.
Near by is a hot (not boiling) spring of sulphur, fifteen to eighteen
feet in diameter, too hot to bathe in. From these we passed over the
timbered hill at the base of which these springs are situated. In the
timber along the brow of the hill and near its summit, and immediately
under the living trees, the hot sulphur vapor and steam issue from
several fissures or craters, showing that the hottest fires are raging
at some point beneath the surface crust, which in a great many places
gives forth a hollow sound as we pass over it. Through a little coulee
on the other side of the hill runs a small stream of greenish water,
which issues from a small cavern, the mouth of which is about five feet
high and the same dimension in width. From the mouth, the roof of the
cavern descends at an angle of about fifteen degrees, till at the
distance of twenty feet from the entrance it joins the surface of the
water. The bottom of the cavern under the water seems to descend at
about the same angle, but as the water is in constant ebullition, we
cannot determine this fact accurately. The water is thrown out in
regular spasmodic jets, the pulsations occurring once in ten or twelve
seconds. The sides and mouth of this cavern are covered with a dark
green deposit, some of which we have taken with us for analysis. About
two hundred yards farther on is another geyser, the flow of which occurs
about every six hours, and when the crater is full the diameter of the
surface is about fourteen feet, the sides of the crater being of an
irregular funnelshape, and descending at an angle of about forty-five
degrees. At the lowest point at which we saw the water it was about
seven feet in diameter on the surface. One or another of our party
watched the gradual rise of the water for four or five hours. The
boiling commenced when the water had risen half way to the surface,
occasionally breaking forth with great violence. When the water had
reached its full height in the basin, the stream was thrown up with
great force to a height of from twenty to thirty feet, the column being
from seven to ten feet in diameter at the midway height of the column,
from bottom to top. The water was of a dark lead color, and those
portions of the sides of the crater that were overflowed and then
exposed by the rise and fall of the water were covered with stalagmites
formed by the deposit from the geyser.

While surveying these wonders, our ears were constantly saluted by dull,
thundering, booming sounds, resembling the reports of distant artillery.
As we approached the spot whence they proceeded, the ground beneath us
shook and trembled as from successive shocks of an earthquake. Ascending
a small hillock, the cause of the uproar was found to be a mud
volcano--the greatest marvel we have yet met with. It is about midway up
a gentle pine-covered slope, above which on the lower side its crater,
thirty feet in diameter, rises to a height of about thirty-five feet.
Dense masses of steam issue with explosive force from this crater, into
whose tapering mouth, as they are momentarily dispelled by the wind, we
can see at a depth of about forty feet the regurgitating contents. The
explosions are not uniform in force or time, varying from three to eight
seconds, and occasionally with perfect regularity occurring every five
seconds. They are very distinctly heard at the distance of half a mile,
and the massive jets of vapor which accompany them burst forth like the
smoke of burning gunpowder.

Some of these pulsations are much more violent than others, but each one
is accompanied by the discharge of an immense volume of steam, which at
once shuts off all view of the inside of the crater; but sometimes,
during the few seconds intervening between the pulsations, or when a
breeze for a moment carries the steam to one side of the crater, we can
see to the depth of thirty feet into the volcano, but cannot often
discover the boiling mud; though occasionally, when there occurs an
unusually violent spasm or concussion, a mass of mud as large in bulk as
a hogshead is thrown up as high as our heads, emitting blinding clouds
of steam in all directions, and crowding all observers back from the
edge of the crater. We were led to believe that this volcano has not
been long in existence; but that it burst forth the present summer but a
few months ago. The green leaves and the limbs of the surrounding forest
trees are covered with fresh clay or mud, as is also the newly grown
grass for the distance of 180 feet from the crater. On the top branches
of some of the trees near by--trees 150 feet high--we found particles of
dried mud that had fallen upon the high branches in their descent just
after this first outburst, which must have thrown the contents of the
volcano as high as 250 or 300 feet. Mr. Hauser, whose experience as an
engineer and with projectile forces entitles his opinion to credit,
estimates from the particles of mud upon the high trees, and the
distance to which they were thrown, that the mud had been thrown, in
this explosion, to the height of between 300 and 400 feet. By actual
measurement we found particles of this mud 186 feet from the edge of the

We did not dare to stand upon the leeward side of the crater and
withstand the force of the steam; and Mr. Hedges, having ventured too
near the rim on that side, endangered his life by his temerity, and was
thrown violently down the exterior side of the crater by the force of
the volume of steam emitted during one of these fearful convulsions.
General Washburn and I, who saw him fall, were greatly concerned lest
while regaining his feet, being blinded by the steam, and not knowing in
which direction to turn, he should fall into the crater.

Between the volcano, the mud geyser and the cavern spring are a number
of hot sulphur and mud springs, of sizes varying from two to twenty feet
in diameter, and many openings or crevices from which issue hot vapor or
steam, the mouths of which are covered with sulphur deposits or other

From the mud volcano we moved up the valley about four miles to our camp
on the river, passing several mud puffs on the way. One of the soldiers
brought in a large string of river trout, but the water of the river is
strongly impregnated with the overflow from springs near its bank, and
is not palatable. Some of our party who have drank the water are feeling
nauseated. Others think that their illness is caused by partaking too
freely of one of the luxuries of our larder, canned peaches. I assuaged
my thirst with the peaches, and have not partaken of the water, and
there is no one in our camp in finer condition than I am.

Lieutenant Doane's felon has caused him great suffering to-day, and I
have appealed to him to allow me to lance it. I have for many years
carried a lancet in my pocketbook, but I find that I have inadvertently
left it at home. So all this day, while on horseback, I have been
preparing for the surgical operation by sharpening my penknife on the
leathern pommel of my saddle as I rode along. I have in my seamless sack
a few simple medicines, including a vial of chloroform. Lieutenant Doane
has almost agreed to let me open the felon, provided I put him to sleep
with the chloroform; but I feel that I am too much of a novice in the
business to administer it. However, I have told him that I would do so
if he demanded it. Our elevation to-day is about 7,500 feet above sea

Saturday, September 3.--This morning General Washburn and I left camp
immediately after breakfast and returned four miles on our track of
September 1st to Crater Hill and the mud springs, for the purpose of
making farther examinations. We found the sulphur boiling spring to be
full to overflowing, the water running down the inclined surface of the
crust in two different directions. It was also boiling with greater
force than it was when we first saw it, the water being occasionally
thrown up to the height of ten feet. About 80 or 100 yards from this
spring we found what we had not before discovered, a boiling spring of
tartaric acid in solution, with deposits around the edge of the spring,
of which we gathered a considerable quantity. In the basin where we had
found so many mud springs we to-day found a hot boiling spring
containing a substance of deep yellow color, the precise nature of which
we could not readily ascertain. We accordingly brought away some of it
in a bottle (as is our usual custom in such cases of uncertainty), and
we will have an analysis of it made on our return home. In the same
basin we also found some specimens of black lava.

A half mile south of these springs we found an alum spring yielding but
little water and surrounded with beautiful alum crystals. From its
border we obtained a great many curiously shaped deposits of alum
slightly impregnated with iron. The border of this spring below the
surface had been undermined in many places by the violent boiling of the
water, to the distance of several feet from the margin, so that it was
unsafe to stand near the edge of the spring. This, however, I did not
at first perceive; and, as I was unconcernedly passing by the spring, my
weight made the border suddenly slough off beneath my feet. General
Washburn noticed the sudden cracking of the incrustation before I did,
and I was aroused to a sense of my peril by his shout of alarm, and had
sufficient presence of mind to fall suddenly backwards at full length
upon the sound crust, whence, with my feet and legs extended over the
spring, I rolled to a place of safety. But for General Washburn's shout
of alarm, in another instant I would have been precipitated into this
boiling pool of alum. We endeavored to sound the depth of this spring
with a pole twenty-five feet long, but we found no bottom.

Everything around us--air, earth, water--is impregnated with sulphur. We
feel it in every drop of water we drink, and in every breath of air we
inhale. Our silver watches have turned to the color of poor brass,

General Washburn and I again visited the mud vulcano to-day. I
especially desired to see it again for the one especial purpose, among
others of a general nature, of assuring myself that the notes made in my
diary a few days ago are not exaggerated. No! they are not! The
sensations inspired in me to-day, on again witnessing its convulsions,
and the dense clouds of vapor expelled in rapid succession from its
crater, amid the jarring of the earth, and the ominous intonations from
beneath, were those of mingled dread and wonder. At war with all former
experience it was so novel, so unnaturally natural, that I feel while
now writing and thinking of it, as if my own senses might have deceived
me with a mere figment of the imagination. But it is not so. The wonder,
than which this continent, teeming with nature's grandest exhibitions,
contains nothing more marvelous, still stands amid the solitary
fastnesses of the Yellowstone, to excite the astonishment of the
thousands who in coming years shall visit that remarkable locality.[J]

Returning to the camp we had left in the morning, we found the train had
crossed the river, and we forded at the same place, visiting, however,
on our way another large cauldron of boiling mud lying nearly opposite
our camp. Soon after fording the river we discovered some evidence that
trappers had long ago visited this region. Here we found that the earth
had been thrown up two feet high, presenting an angle to the river,
quite ingeniously concealed by willows, and forming a sort of rifle-pit,
from which a hunter without disclosing his hiding place could bring down
swans, geese, ducks, pelicans, and even the furred animals that made
their homes along the river bank.

We followed the trail of the advance party along the bank of the river,
and most of the way through a dense forest of pine timber and over a
broad swampy lowland, when we came into their camp on the Yellowstone
lake two miles from where it empties into the river, and about ten miles
from our morning camp. We passed Brimstone basin on our left, and saw
jets of steam rising from the hills back of it. From all appearances the
Yellowstone can be forded at almost any point between the rapids just
above the upper fall and the lake, unless there are quicksands and
crevices which must be avoided.

Yellowstone lake, as seen from our camp to-night, seems to me to be the
most beautiful body of water in the world. In front of our camp it has a
wide sandy beach like that of the ocean, which extends for miles and as
far as the eye can reach, save that occasionally there is to be found a
sharp projection of rocks. The overlooking bench rises from the water's
edge about eight feet, forming a bank of sand or natural levee, which
serves to prevent the overflow of the land adjoining, which, when the
lake is receiving the water from the mountain streams that empty into it
while the snows are melting, is several feet below the surface of the
lake. On the shore of the lake, within three or four miles of our camp,
are to be found specimens of sandstone, resembling clay, of sizes
varying from that of a walnut to a flour barrel, and of every odd shape
imaginable. Fire and water have been at work here together--fire to
throw out the deposit in a rough shape, and water to polish it. From our
camp we can see several islands from five to ten miles distant in a
direct line. Two of the three "Tetons," which are so plainly visible to
travelers going to Montana from Eagle Rock bridge on Snake river, and
which are such well-known and prominent landmarks on that stage route,
we notice to-night in the direction of south 25 degrees west from our
camp. We shall be nearer to them on our journey around the lake.

Sunday, September 4.--This morning at breakfast time Lieutenant Doane
was sleeping soundly and snoring sonorously, and we decided that we
would not waken him, but would remain in camp till the afternoon and
perhaps until morning. Walter Trumbull suggested that a proper deference
to Jake Smith's religious sentiments ought to be a sufficient reason
for not traveling on Sunday, whereupon Jake immediately exclaimed, "If
we're going to remain in camp, let's have a game of draw."

Last evening Lieutenant Doane's sufferings were so intense that General
Washburn and I insisted that he submit to an operation, and have the
felon opened, and he consented provided I would administer chloroform.
Preparations were accordingly made after supper. A box containing army
cartridges was improvised as an operating table, and I engaged Mr. Bean,
one of our packers, and Mr. Hedges as assistant surgeons. Hedges was to
take his position at Doarte's elbow, and was to watch my motion as I
thrust in the knife blade, and hold the elbow and fore-arm firmly to
prevent any involuntary drawing back of the arm by Lieutenant Doane, at
the critical moment. When Doane was told that we were ready, he asked,
"Where is the chloroform?" I replied that I had never administered it,
and that after thinking the matter over I was afraid to assume the
responsibility of giving it. He swallowed his disappointment, and turned
his thumb over on the cartridge box, with the nail down. Hedges and Bean
were on hand to steady the arm, and before one could say "Jack
Robinson," I had inserted the point of my penknife, thrusting it down to
the bone, and had ripped it out to the end of the thumb. Doane gave one
shriek as the released corruption flew out in all directions upon
surgeon and assistants, and then with a broad smile on his face he
exclaimed, "That was elegant!" We then applied a poultice of bread and
water, which we renewed a half hour later, and Doane at about eight
o'clock last night dropped off into a seemingly peaceful sleep, which
has been continuous up to the time of this writing, two o'clock p.m.[K]

Evening of September 4.--I have been glad to have this rest to-day, for
with the time spent in writing up a detailed diary in addition to the
work about camp, I have been putting in about sixteen hours work each
day. So this afternoon a nap of two or three hours was a pleasant rest.
I strolled for a long distance down the shore, the sand of which abounds
in small crystals, which some of our party think may possess some value.
Craters emitting steam through the water are frequently seen beneath the
surface, at a distance of from forty to fifty feet from its margin, the
water in which is very hot, while that of the lake surrounding them I
found to be too cool for a pleasant bath. In some places the lake water
is strongly impregnated with sulphur. One crater emits a jet of steam
with a hissing noise as loud as that usually heard at the blowing off of
the safety valve of a steam-boat. In the clear light of the setting sun,
we can see the three Tetons in a southwesterly direction.

[Illustration: GRAND TETON.]

Some member of our party has asked what is the meaning of the word
"Teton" given to these mountains.[L] Lieutenant Doane says it is a
French word signifying "Woman's Breast," and that it was given to these
mountains by the early French explorers, because of their peculiar
shape. I think that the man who gave them this name must have seen them
from a great distance; for as we approach them, the graceful curvilinear
lines which obtained for them this delicate appellation appear angular
and ragged. From our present point of view the name seems a misnomer. If
there were twelve of them instead of three, they might better be called
the "Titans," to illustrate their relation to the surrounding country.
He indeed must have been of a most susceptible nature, and, I would fain
believe, long a dweller amid these solitudes, who could trace in these
cold and barren peaks any resemblance to the gentle bosom of woman.

Monday, September 5.--Lieutenant Doane continued to sleep all last
night, making a thirty-six hours nap, and after dressing his thumb and
taking an observation to determine our elevation, which we found to be
7714 feet above the ocean, we broke camp at nine o'clock. After the
train had got under way, I asked Mr. Hedges to remain behind and assist
me in measuring, by a rude system of triangulation, the distance across
the lake as well as to the Tetons; but owing to the difficulty we
encountered in laying out a base line of sufficient length, we abandoned
the scheme after some two hours of useless labor.


Following the trail of the advance party, we traveled along the lake
beach for about six miles, passing a number of small hot sulphur springs
and lukewarm sulphur ponds, and three hot steam jets surrounded by
sulphur incrustations. After six miles, we left the beach, and traveled
on the plateau overlooking the lake. This plateau was covered with a
luxuriant growth of standing pine and a great deal of fallen timber,
through which at times considerable difficulty was experienced in
passing. A little way from the trail is an alkaline spring about six
feet in diameter. We came to camp on the shore of the lake, after having
marched fifteen miles in a southerly direction. We have a most beautiful
view of the lake from our camp. Yesterday it lay before us calm and
unruffled, save by the waves which gently broke upon the shore. To-day
the winds lash it into a raging sea, covering its surface with foam,
while the sparkling sand along the shore seems to form for it a jeweled
setting, and the long promontories stretching out into it, with their
dense covering of pines, lend a charming feature to the scene. Water
never seemed so beautiful before. Waves four feet high are rolling in,
and there appear to be six or seven large islands; but we cannot be
certain about this number until we reach the south shore. From this
point we cannot tell whether the wooded hills before us are islands or
promontories. On the shore are to be found large numbers of carnelians
or crystallized quartz, agates, specimens of petrified wood, and lava
pebbles or globules. We have found also many curious objects of slate
formation, resembling hollowed-out cups, discs, and two well formed
resemblances of a leg and foot, and many other curious objects which
Nature in her most capricious mood has scattered over this watery
solitude. All these seem to be the joint production of fire and water;
the fire forming and baking them, and the water polishing them. We
called this place "Curiosity Point."

If Mount Washington were set in the lake, its summit would be two
thousand feet below the surface of the water.

To-night a conference of the party was held, to decide whether we would
continue our journey around the lake, or retrace our steps and pass
along the north side of the lake over to the Madison. By a vote of six
to three we have decided to go around the lake. Mr. Hauser voted in
favor of returning by way of the north side. My vote was cast for going
around the lake.

As we passed along the shore to-day, we could see the steam rising from
a large group of hot springs on the opposite shore of the lake bordering
on what seems to be the most westerly bay or estuary.[M] We will have an
opportunity to examine them at short range, when we have completed our
journey around the lake.

Tuesday, September 6.--We broke camp at ten thirty this morning,
bearing well to the southeast for an hour and then turning nearly due
south, our trail running through the woods, and for a large part of our
route throughout the day, through fallen timber, which greatly impeded
our progress. We did not make over ten miles in our day's travel.
Frequently we were obliged to leave the trail running through the woods,
and return to the lake, and follow the beach for some distance. We
passed along the base of a brimstone basin, the mountains forming a
semi-circle half way around it, the lake completing the circle. In
company with Lieutenant Doane I went up the side of the mountain, which
for the distance of three or four miles and about half way to the summit
is covered with what appears to be sulphate (?) of lime and flowers of
sulphur mixed. Exhalations are rising from all parts of the ground at
times, the odor of brimstone being quite strong; but the volcanic action
in this vicinity is evidently decreasing.

About half way up the deposit on the mountain side a number of small
rivulets take their rise, having sulphur in solution, and farther down
the mountain and near the base are the dry beds of several streams from
ten to twenty feet in width which bear evidence of having at some time
been full to the banks (two or three feet deep) with sulphur water. The
small streams now running are warm.

The side of the mountain over which we rode, seems for the most part to
be hollow, giving forth a rumbling sound beneath the feet, as we rode
upon the crust, which is very strong. In no instance did it give way as
did the crust at "Crater hill," under which the fires were raging,
though the incrustation appears to be very similar, abounding in vents
and fissures and emitting suffocating exhalations of sulphur vapor.

On the sides of the mountain were old fissures, surrounded by rusty
looking sulphur incrustations, now nearly washed away. The whole
mountain gives evidence of having been, a long time ago, in just the
same condition of conflagration as that in which we found "Crater hill;"
but all outward trace of fire has now disappeared, save what is found in
the warm water of the small streams running down the sides.

Our course for the past two days has been in nearly a south-southeast
direction, or about parallel with the Wind river mountains. We have
to-day seen an abundance of the tracks of elk and bears, and
occasionally the track of a mountain lion.

Wednesday, September 7.--Last night when all but the guards were asleep,
we were startled by a mountain lion's shrill scream, sounding so like
the human voice that for a moment I was deceived by it into believing
that some traveler in distress was hailing our camp. The stream near the
bank of which our camp lay, flows into the southeast arm of Yellowstone
lake, and for which the name "Upper Yellowstone" has been suggested by
some of our party; but Lieutenant Doane says that he thinks he has seen
on an old map the name "Bridger" given to some body of water near the
Yellowstone. We tried to cross the river near its mouth, but found the
mud in the bed of the stream and in the bottom lands adjoining too deep;
our horses miring down to their bellies. In accordance with plans agreed
upon last night, General Washburn and a few of the party started out
this morning in advance of the others to search for a practicable
crossing of the river and marshes, leaving the pack train in camp.

In company with Lieutenant Doane I went out upon a reconnaissance for
the purpose of determining the elevation of the mountains opposite our
camp, as well as the shape of the lake as far as we could see the
shore, and also to determine as far as possible our locality and the
best line of travel to follow in passing around the lake. There is just
enough excitement attending these scouting expeditions to make them a
real pleasure, overbalancing the labor attendant upon them. There is
very little probability that any large band of Indians will be met with
on this side of the lake, owing to the superstitions which originate in
the volcanic forces here found.

We followed along the high bank adjacent to the bottom through which the
river runs in a direction a little south of east for the distance of
about three miles, when we entered a heavily timbered ravine, which we
followed through the underbrush for some three miles, being frequently
obliged to dismount and lead our horses over the projecting rocks, or
plunging through bushes and fallen timber. At the end of two hours we
reached a point in the ascent where we could no longer ride in safety,
nor could our horses climb the mountain side with the weight of our
bodies on their backs. Dismounting, we took the bridle reins in our
hands, and for the space of an hour we led our horses up the steep
mountain side, when we again mounted and slowly climbed on our way,
occasionally stopping to give our horses a chance to breathe. Arriving
at the limit of timber and of vegetation, we tied our horses, and then
commenced the ascent of the steepest part of the mountain, over the
broken granite, great care being necessary to avoid sliding down the
mountain side with the loose granite. The ascent occupied us a little
more than four hours, and all along the mountain side, even to near the
summit, we saw the tracks of mountain sheep. The view from the summit of
this mountain, for wild and rugged grandeur, is surpassed by none I ever
before saw. The Yellowstone basin and the Wind river mountains were
spread out before us like a map. On the south the eye followed the
source of the Yellowstone above the lake, until, twenty-five miles away,
it was lost in an immense cañon, beyond which two immense jets of vapor
rose to a height of probably three hundred feet, indicating that there
were other and perhaps greater wonders than those embraced in our
prescribed limit of exploration. On the north the outlet of the lake and
the steam from the mud geyser and mud volcano were distinctly visible,
while on the southeast the view followed to the horizon a succession of
lofty peaks and ridges at least thirty miles in width, whose jagged
slopes were filled with yawning caverns, pine-embowered recesses and
beetling precipices, some hundreds and some thousands of feet in height.
This is the range which Captain Raynolds, approaching from the east,
found impassable while on his exploring tour to the Yellowstone in the
year 1860. I shall, upon my return home, read Captain Raynolds' report
with renewed interest.[N]

The mountain on which we stood was the most westerly peak of a range
which, in long extended volume, swept to the southeastern horizon,
exhibiting a continuous elevation more than thirty miles in width, its
central line broken into countless points, knobs, glens and defiles, all
on the most colossal scale of grandeur and magnificence. Outside of
these, on either border, along the entire range, lofty peaks rose at
intervals, seemingly vying with each other in the varied splendors they
presented to the beholder. The scene was full of majesty. The valley at
the base of this range was dotted with small lakes. Lakes abound
everywhere--in the valleys, on the mountains and farther down on their
slopes, at all elevations. The appearance of the whole range was
suggestive of the existence, ages since, of a high plateau on a level
with these peaks (which seemed to be all of the same elevation), which
by the action of the water had been cut down in the intervals between
the peaks into deep gorges and cañons. The sides of the mountains formed
in many places a perpendicular wall from 600 to 1,000 feet in height.

This range of mountains has a marvelous history. As it is the loftiest,
so it is probably the most remarkable lateral ridge of the Rocky range.
In the expedition sent across the continent by Mr. Astor, in 1811, under
command of Captain Wilson P. Hunt, that gentleman met with the first
serious obstacle to his progress at the eastern base of this range.
After numerous efforts to scale it, he turned away and followed the
valley of Snake river, encountering the most discouraging disasters
until he arrived at Astoria.[O]

I have read somewhere (I think in Washington Irving's "Astoria" or
"Bonneville's Adventures") that the Indians regard this ridge of
mountains as the crest of the world, and that among the Blackfeet there
is a fable that he who attains its summit catches a view of the "Land of
Souls" and beholds the "Happy Hunting Grounds" spread out below him,
brightening with the abodes of the free and generous spirits.

Lieutenant Doane and I were somewhat fatigued with our climb of four
hours' duration, and we refreshed ourselves with such creature comforts
as we found on the summit; but, although we attained the "crest," we did
not discern any "free and generous spirit," save that which we saw
"through a glass darkly."

At the point where we left our horses there was, on the east slope of
the mountain, a body of snow, the surface of which was nearly
horizontal, and the outer edge of which was thirty feet in perpendicular
height. This body of snow is perpetual. At this point the elevation, as
indicated by our aneroid barometer, was 9,476 feet, while at the summit
it was 10,327 feet, a difference of 581 feet, which was the broken
granite summit.

The descent occupied an hour and a quarter, when we struck the trail of
the pack train near the base of the mountain, which we followed until we
found three poles placed in the form of a tripod, the longer pole
pointing to the right to indicate that at this point the party had
changed its course.

[Illustration: Marker made of sticks.]

Obeying this Indian sign, we descended the bank bordering the valley and
traversed the bottom lands to the river, which we forded at a point
where it was about ninety feet wide and three feet deep, with a current
of about six miles an hour. This was about six or seven miles from the
mouth of the river. We followed the trail of the advance party through a
beautiful pine forest, free from underbrush, for the distance of two
miles, passing two beautiful lakes. By this time night had overtaken us,
and it was with difficulty that we could follow the trail, the tracks of
the horses' shoes, which were our sole guide, being hardly discernible.
But we pressed on, following the dark, serpentine line of freshly
disturbed earth till it turned up the side of the mountain, where we
followed it for upwards of a mile. Fearing lest we were not upon the
right trail, we dismounted, and, placing our faces close to the ground,
examined it carefully, but could not discover the impression of a single
horseshoe. Gathering a few dry branches of pine, we kindled a fire upon
the trail, when we discovered that we had been following, from the base
of the mountain, the trail of a band of elk that had crossed the line of
travel of the pack train at a point near the base of the mountain, and
in the dim twilight we had not discovered the mistake.


The prospect for a night on the mountain, without blankets or supper,
seemed now very good; but we retraced our steps as rapidly as possible,
and on reaching the base of the mountain, struck out for the lake,
resolving to follow the beach, trusting that our party had made their
camp on the shore of the lake, in which case we should find them; but
if camped at any considerable distance from the shore, we should not
find them. Our ride over fallen timber and through morass for the
distance of about two miles to the shore of the lake was probably
performed more skillfully in the darkness of the night than if we had
seen the obstacles in our path, and as we rounded a point on the smooth
beach we saw at a distance of a little over a mile the welcome watch
fire of our comrades. When we arrived within hailing distance we gave a
loud halloo, and the ready response by a dozen sympathetic voices of our
companions-in-arms showed that our own anxiety had been shared by them.
Our camp to-night is on the westerly side of the most southeasterly bay
of the lake. These bays are separated by long points of land extending
far out into the lake. From our camp of two days ago some of these
points seemed to be islands. From the top of the mountain, which Doane
and I ascended to-day, I made an outline map of the north and east sides
of the lake and part of the south side; but on account of the heavy
timber on the promontories I could not make a correct outline of the
south and west shores. General Washburn and Hauser, as well as myself,
have thus far made outlines of the lake shore as best we could from
points on a level with the lake, but these have been unsatisfactory and
have lacked completeness, and Washburn and Hauser have both expressed
their satisfaction with the sketch of the lake shore I made to-day from
the top of the mountain; and Washburn has just told me that Lieutenant
Doane has suggested that, as I was the first to reach the summit of the
mountain, the peak should be named for me. I shall be gratified if this
is done.[P]

7, 1870, AND COMPLETED SEPT. 10 AND 13.]

We have traveled from our morning camp about twelve miles, but we are
not more than four miles from it in a straight line.

Thursday, September 8.--Travel to-day has led us in zigzag directions
over fallen timber some twelve miles. We have halted on a small creek
about one mile from the most southerly arm of the lake and about seven
miles in a straight line from our morning camp.

This has been a terrible day for both men and horses. The standing trees
are so thick that we often found it impossible to find a space wide
enough for the pack animals to squeeze through, and we were frequently
separated from each other in a search for a route. Hedges and Stickney,
in this way, became separated from the rest of the party, and after
suffering all the feelings of desolation at being lost in this
wilderness, accidentally stumbled upon our camp, and they freely
expressed their joy at their good fortune in being restored to the
party. I fully sympathized with them, for, speaking from a personal
experience of a similar character which I had in 1862, I can say that a
man can have no more complete sense of utter desolation than that which
overwhelms him when he realizes that he is lost.

At one point while they were seeking some sign of the trail made by the
rest of the party, a huge grizzly bear dashed by them, frightening
Hedges' horse, which broke his bridle and ran away.

After supper Washburn and Hauser went up on the ridge back of the camp
to reconnoiter and ran across a she grizzly and her two cubs. Being
unarmed, they hastily returned to camp for their guns, and five or six
of us joined them in a bear hunt. The members of this hunting party were
all elated at the thought of bagging a fine grizzly, which seemed an
easy prey. What could one grizzly do against six hunters when her
instinctive duty would lead her to hurry her little ones to a place of

While putting our guns in order and making other preparations for the
attack, an animated discussion took place concerning a proper
disposition of the two cubs which were to be captured alive. Some of our
party thought that they ought to be carried home to Helena, but Bean and
Reynolds, our packers, being appealed to, thought the plan not feasible
unless they could be utilized as pack animals. When we reached the spot
where Washburn and Hauser had last seen the bear, we traced her into a
dense thicket, which, owing to the darkness, we did not care to
penetrate, for not one of us felt that we had lost that particular bear.
Jake Smith, with more of good sense than usual, but with his usual lack
of scriptural accuracy, remarked, "I always considered Daniel a great
fool to go into a den of bears."[Q]

Our journey for the entire day has been most trying, leading us through
a trackless forest of pines encumbered on all sides by prostrate trunks
of trees. The difficulty of urging forward our pack train, making choice
of routes, extricating the horses when wedged between the trees, and
re-adjusting the packs so that they would not project beyond the
sides of the horses, required constant patience and untiring toil,
and the struggle between our own docility and the obstacles in our way,
not unfrequently resulted in fits of sullenness or explosions of wrath
which bore no slight resemblance to the volcanic forces of the country

[Illustration: Benj. Stickney]

On one of these occasions when we were in a vast net of down timber and
brush, and each man was insisting upon his own particular mode of
extrication, and when our tempers had been sorely tried and we were in
the most unsocial of humors, speaking only in half angry expletives, I
recalled that beautiful line in Byron's "Childe Harold," "There is a
pleasure in the pathless woods," which I recited with all the "ore
rotundo" I could command, which struck the ludicrous vein of the company
and produced an instantaneous response of uproarious laughter, which, so
sudden is the transition between extremes, had the effect to restore
harmony and sociability, and, in fact, to create a pleasure in the
pathless wilderness we were traveling.

One of our pack horses is at once a source of anxiety and amusement to
us all. He is a remarkable animal owned by Judge Hedges, who, however,
makes no pretentious to being a good judge of horses. Mr. Hedges says
that the man from whom he purchased the animal, in descanting upon his
many excellent qualities, said: "He is that kind of an animal that
drives the whole herd before him." The man spoke truly, but Mr. Hedges
did not properly interpret the encomium, nor did he realize that the
seller meant to declare that the animal, from sheer exhaustion, would
always be lagging behind the others of the herd. From the start, and
especially during our journey through the forest, this pony, by his
acrobatic performances and mishaps, has furnished much amusement for us
all. Progress to-day could only be accomplished by leaping our animals
over the fallen trunks of trees. Our little broncho, with all the
spirit necessary, lacks oftentimes the power to scale the tree trunks.
As a consequence, he is frequently found resting upon his midriff with
his fore and hind feet suspended over the opposite sides of some huge
log. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He has an
ambitious spirit, which is exceeded only by his patience. He has had
many mishaps, any one of which would have permanently disabled a larger
animal, and we have dubbed him "Little Invulnerable." One of the
soldiers of our escort, Private Moore, has made a sketch of him as he
appeared to-day lying across a log, of which I am to have a copy.


I growled at Hauser and scolded him a little in camp to-night because of
some exasperating action of his. I here record the fact without going
into details. I think that I must try to be more patient. But I am
feeling somewhat the fatigue of our journey. However, there is something
to be said on the other hand, and that is that there is no one of the
party better able to bear its labors and anxieties than I, and therefore
I should be the last man to lose my patience.

I know of nothing that can try one's patience more than a trip of any
considerable length by wagon train or pack train through an uninhabited
region, and the most amiable of our race cannot pass this ordeal
entirely unscathed. Persons who are not blessed with uncommon equanimity
never get through such a journey without frequent explosions of temper,
and seldom without violence. Even education, gentle training and the
sharpest of mental discipline do not always so effectually subdue the
passions that they may not be aroused into unwonted fury during a long
journey through a country filled with obstructions. Philosophy has never
found a fitter subject for its exercise than that afforded by the
journey we are now making, which obliges the members of our party to
strive to relieve each other's burdens.

Friday, September 9.--Last night there occurred an incident which I
would gladly blot from these pages, but a faithful record of all the
events of camp life in connection with this expedition demands that I
omit nothing of interest, nor set down "aught in malice."

Mr. Hedges and I were on guard during the last relief of the night,
which extends from the "Wee sma' hours ayont the twal" to daybreak. The
night was wearing on when Hedges, being tempted of one of the Devils
which doubtless roam around this sulphurous region, or that perhaps
followed Lieutenant Doane and myself down from that "high mountain
apart" where the spirits roam, asked me if I was hungry. I replied that
such had been my normal condition ever since our larder had perceptibly
declined. Mr. Hedges then suggested that, as there was no food already
cooked in the camp, we take each a wing of one of the partridges and
broil it over our small fire. It was a "beautiful thought," as Judge
Bradford of Colorado used to say from the bench when some knotty legal
problem relating to a case he was trying had been solved, and was
speedily acted upon by both of us. But I was disappointed in finding so
little meat on a partridge wing, and believed that Hedges would have
chosen a leg instead of a wing, if he had pondered a moment, so I
remedied the omission, and, as a result, each roasted a leg of the bird.
Soon increase of appetite grew by what it fed on, and the breast of the
bird was soon on the broiler.

In the meantime our consciences were not idle, and we were "pricked in
our hearts." The result was that we had a vision of the disappointment
of our comrades, as each should receive at our morning breakfast his
small allotment of but one partridge distributed among so many, and it
did not take us long to send the remaining bird to join its mate. Taking
into consideration the welfare of our comrades, it seemed the best thing
for us to do, and we debated between ourselves whether the birds would
be missed in the morning, Hedges taking the affirmative and I the
negative side of the question.

This morning when our breakfast was well nigh finished, Mr. Hauser asked
"Newt," the head cook, why he had not prepared the partridges for
breakfast. "Newt" answered that when he opened the pan this morning the
birds had "done gone," and he thought that "Booby" (the dog) had eaten
them. Whereupon Hauser pelted the dog with stones and sticks. Hedges and
I, nearly bursting with our suppressed laughter, quietly exchanged
glances across the table, and the situation became quite intense for us,
as we strove to restrain our risibles while listening to the comments of
the party on the utter worthlessness of "that dog Booby." Suddenly the
camp was electrified by Gillette asking, "Who was on guard last night?"
"That's it," said one. "That's where the birds went," said another. This
denouement was too much for Hedges and myself, and amid uproarious
laughter we made confession, and "Booby" was relieved from his disgrace
and called back into the camp, and patted on the head as a "good dog,"
and he has now more friends in camp than ever before.

Mr. Hauser, who brought down the birds with two well directed shots with
his revolver, made from the back of his horse without halting the
animal, had expected to have a dainty breakfast, but he is himself too
fond of a practical joke to express any disappointment, and no one in
the party is more unconcerned at the outcome than he. He is a
philosopher, and, as I know from eight years' association with him, does
not worry over the evils which he can remedy, nor those which he cannot
remedy. There can be found no better man than he for such a trip as we
are making.

"Booby" is taking more kindly, day by day, to the buckskin moccasins
which "Newt" made and tied on his feet a few days ago. When he was first
shod with them he rebelled and tore them off with his teeth, but I think
he has discovered that they lessen his sufferings, which shows that he
has some good dog sense left, and that probably his name "Booby" is a
misnomer. I think there is a great deal of good in the animal. He is
ever on the alert for unusual noises or sounds, and the assurance which
I have that he will give the alarm in case any thieving Indians shall
approach our camp in the night is a great relief to my anxiety lest some
straggling band of the Crows may "set us afoot." Jake Smith was on guard
three nights ago, and he was so indifferent to the question of safety
from attack that he enjoyed a comfortable nap while doing guard duty,
and I have asked our artist, Private Moore, to make for me a sketch of
Smith as I found him sound asleep with his saddle for a pillow. Jake
might well adopt as a motto suitable for his guidance while doing guard
duty, "Requieseat in pace." Doubtless Jake thought, "Shall I not take
mine ease in mine inn?" I say _thought_ for I doubt if Jake can give a
correct verbal rendering of the sentence. A few evenings ago he jocosely
thought to establish, by a quotation from Shakespeare, the unreliability
of a member of our party who was telling what seemed a "fish story," and
he clinched his argument by adding that he would apply to the case the
words of the immortal Shakespeare, "Othello's _reputation's_ gone."


We broke camp this morning with the pack train at 10 o'clock, traveling
in a westerly course for about two miles, when we gradually veered
around to a nearly easterly direction, through fallen timber almost
impassable in the estimation of pilgrims, and indeed pretty severe on
our pack horses, for there was no trail, and, while our saddle horses
with their riders could manage to force their way through between the
trees, the packs on the pack animals would frequently strike the trees,
holding the animals fast or compelling them to seek some other passage.
Frequently, we were obliged to re-arrange the packs and narrow them, so
as to admit of their passage between the standing trees. At one point
the pack animals became separated, and with the riding animals of a
portion of the party were confronted with a prostrate trunk of a huge
tree, about four feet in diameter, around which it was impossible to
pass because of the obstructions of fallen timber. Yet pass it we must;
and the animals, one after another, were brought up to the log, their
breasts touching it, when Williamson and I, the two strongest men of the
party, on either side of an animal, stooped down, and, placing each a
shoulder back of a fore leg of a horse, rose to an erect position, while
others of the party placed his fore feet over the log, which he was thus
enabled to scale. In this way we lifted fifteen or twenty of our animals
over the log.

Soon after leaving our camp this morning our "Little Invulnerable,"
while climbing a steep rocky ascent, missed his footing and turned three
back summersaults down into the bottom of the ravine. We assisted him to
his feet without removing his pack, and he seemed none the worse for his
adventure, and quickly regained the ridge from which he had fallen and
joined the rest of the herd.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon we halted for the day, having traveled
about six miles, but our camp to-night is not more than three miles from
our morning camp.

Mr. Hedges' pack horse, "Little Invulnerable," was missing when we
camped; and, as I was one of the four men detailed for the day to take
charge of the pack train, I returned two miles on our trail with the two
packers, Reynolds and Bean, in search of him. We found him wedged
between two trees, evidently enjoying a rest, which he sorely needed
after his remarkable acrobatic feat of the morning. We are camped in a
basin not far from the lake, which surrounds us on three sides--east,
north and west. Mr. Everts has not yet come into camp, and we fear that
he is lost.

About noon we crossed a small stream that flows towards the southwest
arm of the lake, but which, I think, is one of the headwater streams of
Snake river. I think that we have crossed the main divide of the Rocky
Mountains twice to-day. We have certainly crossed it once, and if we
have not crossed it twice we are now camped on the western slope of the
main divide. If the creek we crossed about noon to-day continues to flow
in the direction it was running at the point where we crossed it, it
must discharge into the southwest arm of the lake, and it seems probable
that Mr. Everts has followed down this stream.

I have just had a little talk with Lieutenant Doane. He thinks that our
camp to-night is on the Snake river side of the main divide, and there
are many things that incline me to believe that he is correct in his

Last night we had a discussion, growing out of the fact that Hedges and
Stickney, for a brief time, were lost, for the purpose of deciding what
course we would adopt in case any other member of the party were lost,
and we agreed that in such case we would all move on as rapidly as
possible to the southwest arm of the lake, where there are hot springs
(the vapor of which we noticed from our camp of September 5th), and
there remain until all the party were united. Everts thought a better
way for a lost man would be to strike out nearly due west, hoping to
reach the headwaters of the Madison river, and follow that stream as his
guide to the settlements; but he finally abandoned this idea and adopted
that which has been approved by the rest of the party. So if Mr. Everts
does not come into camp to-night, we will to-morrow start for the
appointed rendezvous.

Saturday, September 10.--We broke camp about 10 o'clock this morning,
taking a course of about ten degrees north of west, traveling seven
miles, and coming to camp on the lake shore at about five miles in a
direct line from our morning camp at half past two p.m. No sign of Mr.
Everts has been seen to-day, and on our arrival in camp, Gillette and
Trumbull took the return track upon the shore of the lake, hoping to
find him, or discover some sign of him. A large fire was built on a high
ridge commanding all points on the beach, and we fired signal guns from
time to time throughout the night.

Mr. Hauser and I ascended a high point overlooking our camp, and about
eight hundred feet above it, where from the top of a tall tree I had a
fairly good view of the shore outline of the west and south shores of
the lake, with all the inlets, points and islands. We were also enabled
to mark out our course of travel which it would be necessary to follow
in order to reach the most southwesterly arm of the lake and take
advantage of openings in the timber to facilitate travel. On this high
point we built a large fire which could be seen for many miles in all
directions by any one not under the bank of the lake, and which we hoped
Mr. Everts might see, and so be directed to our camp.

In going to the summit we traveled several hundred feet on a rocky ridge
not wide enough for safe travel by a man on horseback. At an elevation
of about eight hundred feet above Yellowstone lake we found two small
lakes nestled in a deep recess in the mountain and surrounded by the
overturned rocks.

Our route to-day has been entirely through fallen timber, and it has
been a hard day of travel on our horses, necessitating jumping over logs
and dead branches of trees, and thus we have made very slow progress.

The map of Yellowstone lake which we will be enabled to complete from
the observations made to-day will show that its shape is very different
from that shown on Captain Raynolds' map. The lake has but three

We are more than ever anxious about Mr. Everts. We had hoped, this
morning, to make our camp to-night on the southwest arm of the lake, but
the fallen timber has delayed us in our travel and prevented our doing
so. The southwest arm of the lake has been our objective point for the
past three days, and we feel assured that Mr. Everts, finding himself
lost, will press on for that point, and, as he will not be hindered by
the care of a pack train, he can travel twice as far in one day as we
can, and we are therefore the more anxious to reach our destination. We
have carefully considered all the points in the case, and have
unanimously decided that it will be utter folly to remain in camp
here, and equally so to have remained in this morning's camp, hoping
that he would overtake us. On the evening that Mr. Hedges was lost, Mr.
Everts told him that he ought to have struck out for the lake, as he
(Everts) would do if lost. So we will move on to the southwest arm of
the lake and remain three or four days. If Mr. Everts overtakes us at
all he will do so by that time.

[Illustration: Truman C. Everts]

Sunday, September 11.--Gillette and Trumbull returned to camp this
morning, having traversed the shore of the lake to a point east of our
camp of September 9th, without discovering any sign of Mr. Everts. We
have arrived at the conclusion that he has either struck out for the
lake on the west, or followed down the stream which we crossed the day
he was lost, or that he is possibly following us. The latter, however,
is not very probable.

Mr. Hauser, Lieutenant Doane and I saddled up immediately after
breakfast, and, with a supply of provisions for Mr. Everts, pressed
forward in advance of the rest of the party, marking a trail for the
pack animals through the openings in the dense woods, and avoiding, as
far as possible, the fallen timber. We rode through with all possible
dispatch, watching carefully for the tracks of a horse, but found no
sign of Mr. Everts. We followed both the beach and the trail on the bank
for several miles in either direction, but we saw neither sign nor
track. The small stream which we crossed on the 9th does not flow into
this arm of the lake as we thought it might, and it is evidently a
tributary of the Snake river.

The pack train arrived early in the afternoon with the rest of the
party, and all were astonished and saddened that no trace of Mr. Everts
had been found. We shall to-night mature a plan for a systematic search
for him. It is probable that we will make this camp the base of
operations, and remain here several days. Everts has with him a supply
of matches, ammunition and fishing tackle, and if he will but travel in
a direct line and not veer around to the right or left in a circle, he
will yet be all right.

Directly west of our camp on the further side of this arm of the lake,
and about four miles distant, are several hot springs which we shall
visit before leaving the lake.

We were roused this morning about 2 o'clock by the shrill howl of a
mountain lion, and again while we were at breakfast we heard another
yell. As we stood around our campfire to-night, our ears were saluted
with a shriek so terribly human, that for a moment we believed it to be
a call from Mr. Everts, and we hallooed in response, and several of our
party started in the direction whence the sounds came, and would have
instituted a search for our comrade but for an admonitory growl of a
mountain lion.

We have traveled to-day about seven miles. On leaving our camps
yesterday and to-day, we posted conspicuously at each a placard, stating
clearly the direction we had taken and where provisions could be found.

The country through which we have passed for the past five days is like
that facetiously described by Bridger as being so desolate and
impassable and barren of resources, that even the crows flying over it
were obliged to carry along with them supplies of provisions.

Monday, September 12.--In accordance with our pre-arranged programme,
three parties were sent out this morning in search of Mr. Everts. Smith
and Trumbull were to follow the take shore until they came in sight of
our last camp. Hauser and Gillette were to return on our trail through
the woods, taking with them their blankets and two days' rations.
General Washburn and myself were to take a southerly direction towards
what we called "Brown Mountain," some twelve miles away. Smith and
Trumbull returned early in the afternoon and reported having seen in
the sand the tracks of a man's foot, and Smith thought that he saw
several Indians, who disappeared in the woods as they approached; but
Trumbull, who was with him, did not see them, and Smith says it was
because he was short-sighted. For some reason they did not pursue their
investigations farther, and soon returned in good order to camp.

The reconnaissance made by General Washburn and myself resulted in no
discovery of any trace of Everts. We traveled about eleven miles
directly south, nearly to the base of Brown mountain, carefully
examining the ground the whole of the way, to see if any horseshoe
tracks could be discovered. We crossed no stream between the lake and
the mountain, and if Mr. Everts followed the stream which we crossed on
the 9th, he is south of Brown mountain, for it is evident that he did
not pass westward between Brown mountain and Yellowstone lake; otherwise
we would have discovered the tracks of his horse.

It is now night, and Hauser and Gillette have not yet returned.

Two miles on this side (the north side) of Brown mountain, Washburn and
I passed over a low divide, which, I think, must be the main range of
the Rocky Mountains, just beyond which is another brimstone basin
containing forty or fifty boiling sulphur and mud springs, and any
number of small steam jets. A small creek runs through the basin, and
the slopes of the mountains on either side to the height of several
hundred feet showed unmistakable signs of volcanic action beneath the
crust over which we were traveling. A considerable portion of the slope
of the mountain was covered with a hollow incrustation of sulphur and
lime, or silica, from which issued in many places hot steam, and we
found many small craters from six to twelve inches in diameter, from
which issued the sound of the boiling sulphur or mud, and in many
instances we could see the mud or sulphur water. There are many other
springs of water slightly impregnated with sulphur, in which the water
was too hot for us to bear the hand more than two or three seconds, and
which overflowed the green spaces between the incrustations, completely
saturating the ground, and over which in many places the grass had
grown, forming a turf compact and solid enough to bear the weight of a
man ordinarily; but when it once gave way the underlying deposit was so
thin that it afforded no support. While crossing, heedless of General
Washburn's warning, one of these green places, my horse broke through
and sank to his body as if in a bed of quicksand. I was off his back in
an instant and succeeded in extricating the struggling animal, the turf
being strong enough to bear his body alone, without the addition of the
weight of a man. The fore legs of my horse, however, had gone through
the turf into the hot, thin mud beneath. General Washburn, who was a few
yards behind me on an incrusted mound of lime and sulphur (which bore us
in all cases), and who had just before called to me to keep off the
grassy place, as there was danger beneath it, inquired of me if the
deposit beneath the turf was hot. Without making examination I answered
that I thought it might be warm. Shortly afterwards the turf again gave
way, and my horse plunged more violently than before, throwing me over
his head, and, as I fell, my right arm was thrust violently through the
treacherous surface into the scalding morass, and it was with difficulty
that I rescued my poor horse, and I found it necessary to instantly
remove my glove to avoid blistering my hand. The frenzied floundering of
my horse had in the first instance suggested to General Washburn the
idea that the under stratum was hot enough to scald him. General
Washburn was right in his conjecture. It is a fortunate circumstance
that I to-day rode my light-weight pack horse; for, if I had ridden my
heavy saddle horse, I think that the additional weight of his body would
have broken the turf which held up the lighter animal, and that he would
have disappeared in the hot boiling mud, taking me with him.

At the base of Brown mountain is a lake, the size of which we could not
very accurately ascertain, but which was probably about two miles long
by three-quarters of a mile wide. On the south end appeared to be an
outlet, and it seems to be near the head of the Snake river. Owing to
the difficulty of reaching the beach, growing out of the mishaps arising
from the giving way of the turf, as I have described, our nearest
approach to the lake was about one-half of a mile.

During the absence of Washburn and myself Mr. Hedges has spent the day
in fishing, catching forty of the fine trout with which the lake
abounds. Mr. Stickney has to-day made an inventory of our larder, and we
find that our luxuries, such as coffee, sugar and flour, are nearly used
up, and that we have barely enough of necessary provisions--salt,
pepper, etc., to last us ten days longer with economy in their use. We
will remain at the lake probably three or four days longer with the hope
of finding some trace of Everts, when it will be necessary to turn our
faces homewards to avoid general disaster, and in the meantime we will
dry a few hundred pounds of trout, and carry them with us as a
precautionary measure against starvation. At all of our camps for the
past three days, and along the line of travel between them, we have
blazed the trees as a guide for Mr. Everts, and have left a small supply
of provisions at each place, securely cached, with notices directing Mr.
Everts to the places of concealment. The soldiers' rations issued for
thirty days' service will barely hold out for their own use, and we have
little chance of borrowing from them. We left Helena with thirty days'
rations, expecting to be absent but twenty-five days. We have already
been journeying twenty-seven days, and are still a long way from home.

A few nights ago I became ravenously hungry while on guard, and ate a
small loaf of bread, one of five loaves that I found in a pan by the
campfire. I was not aware at the time that these loaves were a part of
the soldiers' breakfast rations, nor did I know that in the army service
each soldier has his own particular ration of bread. So the next
morning, with one ration of bread missing, one soldier would have been
short in his allowance if the others had not shared their loaves with
him. I supposed at the time of my discovery of the five loaves that they
belonged to the larder of the Washburn branch of the party--not to the
escort--and I apologized to the soldiers when I learned the truth, and
we are now as good friends as ever; but, from an occasional remark which
they drop in my presence, I perceive that they think they have the laugh
on me. Unfortunately for them, we will part company before we reach the
settlements, and I will have no opportunity to _liquidate_ my
obligations. Hard work and plain living have already reduced my
superfluous flesh, and "my clothes like a lady's loose gown hang about
me," as the old song runs.

Day before yesterday Mr. Gillette and I discussed the question of the
probability of a man being able to sustain life in this region, by
depending for his subsistence upon whatever roots or berries are to be
found here. We have once before to-day referred to the fact that we have
seen none of the roots which are to be found in other parts of the Rocky
Mountain region, and especially in the elevated valleys. We have not
noticed on this trip a single growing plant or specimen of the camas,
the cowse, or yamph. If Mr. Everts has followed the stream on which we
were camped the day he was lost down into the Snake river valley, he
will find an abundance of the camas root, which is most nutritions, and
which will sustain his life if he has sufficient knowledge of the root
to distinguish the edible from the poisonous plant.

I have been told by James Stuart that in the valley of the Snake river
the "camas" and the "cowse" roots are to be found in great abundance,
and are much prized as food by the Indians. "Cowse" is a Nez Perce word,
the Snake Indians give the name "thoig" to the same root. It grows in
great abundance in the country of the Nez Perce Indians, who eat great
quantities of it, and these Indians are called by the Snake Indians the
"Thoig A-rik-ka," or "Cowse-eaters." The camas is both flour and
potatoes for several wandering nations, and it is found in the most
barren and desolate regions in greatest quantity. The camas is a small
round root, not unlike an onion in appearance. It is sweet to the taste,
full of gluten, and very satisfying to a hungry man. The Indians have a
mode of preparing it which makes it very relishable. In a hole a foot in
depth, and six feet in diameter, from which the turf has been carefully
removed, they build a fire for the purpose of heating the exposed earth
surface, while in another fire they heat at the same time a sufficient
number of flat rocks to serve as a cover. After the heating process is
completed, the roots are spread over the bottom of the hole, covered
with the turf with the grass side down, the heated rocks spread above,
and a fire built upon them, and the process of cooking produces about
the same change in the camas that is produced in coffee by roasting. It
also preserves it in a suitable form for ready use.

The yamph has a longer and smaller bulb than the camas, though not quite
as nutritious, and may be eaten raw. Either of these roots contains
nutriment sufficient to support life, and often in the experience of the
tribes of the mountains winters have been passed with no other food.
There is a poisonous camas, which is sometimes mistaken for the genuine
root, but which cannot be eaten in large quantities without fatal
results. It always grows where the true camas is found, and much care is
necessary to avoid mixing the two while gathering the roots in any
considerable quantity. So great is the esteem in which the camas is held
that many of the important localities of the country in which it is
found are named for it.[S]



Lieutenant Doane was much amazed at the appearance of my horse's legs,
upon our return from Brown mountain, and has asked General Washburn and
myself what can be the nature of the ground where such a mishap could
occur. My theory of the matter is this: We frequently found springs of
hot water--though not boiling--some fifteen or twenty feet in diameter
at the top, the sides of which were funnel-shaped, and converged to a
narrow opening of say three feet diameter at a depth of twelve or
fifteen feet, and which below the point of convergence opened out like
an hour glass. In some of these springs at the point of convergence we
found tree branches that had fallen into the spring and had become
impregnated with the silica or lime of the water; water-soaked we call
it. I saw a number of such springs in which several branches of trees
were lying across the small opening at the point of convergence. When
once these are firmly lodged, they form a support for smaller branches
and twigs, and thus the tufts of grass which the spring floods or
melting snows bring down from the sides of the mountain will, after a
few years, made a sufficiently strong foundation for the earth, which
will also wash down the slopes into the spring. Once a firm footing is
established, it is only a question of time when the spring will be
filled to the brim with earth. Then gradually the seed blown over the
surface of the spring from the weeds and grass near by will take root,
and, in the course of a few years, a strong turf will be formed, through
which the water may percolate in many places, though giving to the
unsuspecting traveler no sign of its treacherous character. I think that
it was through such a turf as this that the fore legs of my horse and my
right hand were plunged.[T]


My pack horse which I rode to-day, a buckskin colored broncho, which is
docile under the pack saddle, "bucked" as I mounted him this morning;
but I kept my seat in the saddle without difficulty. Walter Trumbull,
however, on my return to-night, presented me with a sketch which he says
is a faithful portrayal of both horse and rider in the acrobatic act. I
think the sketch is an exaggeration, and that I hugged the saddle in
better form than it indicates.

[Illustration: MY BUCKING BRONCHO.]

Tuesday, September 13.--It was Jake Smith's turn to stand guard last
night, but he refused to do so, and Washburn took his place.

We have remained in camp all day. At about 9 o'clock this morning it
began to rain and hail, and we have had a little snow, which continued
to fall at intervals all day. At about 6 o'clock this evening Hauser and
Gillette arrived in camp, having returned on the trail to within three
miles of the place where we camped on the night of September 7th. They
examined the trail and the beach with the utmost care, but without
discovering any trace of Mr. Everts. They say that the trail over which
our train passed, or, rather, the path which our train made, was hardly
plain enough to be followed, and in many places where the pine leaves
had fallen thick upon the ground, it was totally invisible, so that no
one could have followed it with certainty except by dismounting and
closely observing the ground at every step. They made the journey very
well, from the fact that they had traveled the route once before, and
their horses instinctively followed the back path for a great part of
the distance without any special guidance. On their near approach to
camp, when the trail was no longer discernible, their dog "Booby" took
the lead when they were at fault, and brought them into camp all right.
They think they might have been forced to lie out all night but for the
sagacity of "Booby." They made on each of the two days nearly as great a
distance as our train traveled in four days. Their report has fully set
at rest the question of Mr. Everts having followed us. It settles as a
fact that he did not again strike our trail, and that had he done so he
could not have followed it, owing to his short-sightedness. Hauser and
Gillette are probably the two best trailers and woodsmen in our party,
and their report of the condition of the trail and the difficulty
experienced in following it has satisfied us that Mr. Everts has either
struck off in a southerly direction, following perhaps the headwaters of
the Snake river, or that he has made an effort to reach the head of the
lake with a view of returning by our trail to Boteler's ranch. It is
snowing hard to-night, and the prospect for a day or two more in this
camp is very good. The murky atmosphere to-night brings to view a number
of springs on the opposite shore of this arm of the lake and farther
back in the hills which we have not heretofore seen, and the steam is
rising from fifty craters in the timbered ridge, giving it the
appearance of a New England factory village.

After holding a council this evening we have resolved to remain at this
place two days more, hoping that Mr. Everts may overtake us, this arm of
the lake being the _objective point_ of our travel, fixed on the day
before that on which Mr. Everts was lost.

Wednesday, September 14.--We have remained in camp all day, as it is
next to impossible to move. The snow is nearly two feet deep, and is
very wet and heavy, and our horses are pawing in it for forage. Our
large army tent is doing us good service, and, as there is an abundance
of dry wood close by our camp, we are extremely comfortable. I am the
only one of the party who has a pair of water-proof boots, and I was up
and out of the tent this morning before daylight cutting into cordwood a
pine log, and before noon I had more than a half cord at the tent door.
Washburn and Hauser offered to do some of this work if I would loan them
my water-proof boots; but, as they are of a full size for me, and would
probably drop off of their feet, I told them that I would get the wood.

Lieutenant Doane to-day requested me to loan him this diary from which
to write up his records, as the condition of his thumb has interfered
with his use of a pen or pencil. I have accordingly loaned it to him,
and Private Moore has been busy the greater part of the day copying
portions of it.

For myself, I am very glad to have a day of rest, for I have felt much
wearied for several days. I think that I am certainly within bounds when
I say that I have put in sixteen hours a day of pretty hard work,
attending to camp duties, and writing each day till late at night, and I
realize that this journal of travel is becoming ponderous. Yet there is
daily crowded upon my vision so much of novelty and wonder, which should
be brought to the notice of the world, and which, so far as my
individual effort is concerned, will be lost to it if I do not record
the incidents of each day's travel, that I am determined to make my
journal as full as possible, and to purposely omit no details. It is a
lifetime opportunity for publishing to all who may be interested a
complete record of the discoveries of an expedition which in coming time
will rank among the first and most important of American explorations.

It is cold to-night, and the water in a pail standing at our tent door
was frozen at 7 o'clock in the evening.

The water fowl are more abundant at this point than they have been
elsewhere on the lake on our journey around it, and we could see to-day
hundreds of swans, geese and ducks, and many pelicans and gulls.

Thursday, September 15.--This forenoon the weather moderated, and
one-half the snow has melted, so that it is but about ten inches deep
to-night. Still, our horses are becoming restless for want of sufficient
food. The patches of grass which may be found under the snow are very
limited in extent, and as the animals are confined to the length of
their lariats, foraging is much more difficult than if they were running
loose. We have seen no signs of Indians following us since we made our
first camp upon the lake, and but little evidence that they have ever
been here, except some few logs piled so as to conceal from view a
hunter who may be attempting to bring down some of the game swimming on
the lake. We feel convinced that Jake Smith drew upon both his
imagination and his fears three days ago, when he reported that he had
seen Indians on the beach of the lake.

[Illustration: LIEUT. GUSTAVUS C. DOANE.]

Each night that we have been camped here we have heard the shrill cries
of the mountain lions, and under a momentary illusion I have each time
been half convinced that it was a human being in distress. Because of
the mountain lions we are keeping close watch upon our horses. They are
very fond of horse flesh, and oftentimes will follow a horseman a
long distance, more to make a meal upon the flesh of the horse than for
the purpose of attacking the rider.

[Illustration: JACK BARONETTE.]

During the three days we have spent in this camp, I have been enabled to
complete my diary for September 8th, 9th and 10th, which were red letter
days--days of great anxiety.

I had a good nap this afternoon while my diary was being used for
Lieutenant Doane, and I feel greatly refreshed. My first thought on
awakening was for poor Everts. I wonder where he can be throughout all
this fierce storm and deep snow! Perhaps the snow did not reach him, for
I noticed to-night that the ground was quite bare on the opposite side
of this arm of the lake, while the snow is eight or ten inches deep here
at our camp. Hauser is not feeling very well to-night.

Friday, September 16.--We this morning resolved to move over to the
vicinity of the hot springs on the opposite side of this arm of the
lake, from which point we will leave the Yellowstone for the Madison
river or some one of its branches. We followed up the beach for half a
mile, and then journeyed along the bank of the lake through the woods
for a mile to avoid the quicksands on the lake shore; then, taking the
beach again, we followed it to the springs where we are now camped.[U]

These springs surpass in extent, variety and beauty any which we have
heretofore seen. They extend for the distance of nearly a mile along the
shore of the lake, and back from the beach about one hundred yards. They
number between ninety and one hundred springs, of all imaginable
varieties. Farthest from the beach are the springs of boiling mud, in
some of which the mud is very thin, in others of such a consistency that
it is heaped up as it boils over, gradually spreading under its own
weight until it covers quite a large surface. The mud or clay is of
different colors. That in some of the springs is nearly as white as
white marble; in others it is of a lavender color; in others it is of a
rich pink, of different shades. I have taken specimens of each, which I
will have analyzed on my return home.[V] In close proximity to these are
springs discharging water nearly clear and apparently odorless, the
bottoms and sides of which, as well as of the channels of the streams
running from them, are covered with soft deposits of some substance they
contain in solution. These deposits and the hard incrustations around
the edges of the springs are of various colors, in some cases being dark
red, in others scarlet, in others yellow, and in still others green.

Along the shore of the lake are several boiling springs situated in the
top of incrusted craters, but which do not boil over, the sediment which
has been deposited around them forming a wall or embankment, holding
back the water.

But the most remarkable of all the springs at this point are six or
seven of a character differing from any of the rest. The water in them
is of a dark blue or ultra-marine hue, but it is wonderfully clear and
transparent. Two of these springs are quite large; the remaining five
are smaller, their diameters ranging from eight to fifteen feet. The
water in one of these latter is thrown up to the height of two feet.
The largest two of these springs are irregular in their general outline
of nearly an oval shape, the larger of the two being about twenty-five
feet wide by forty long, and the smaller about twenty by thirty feet.
The discharge from each of them is about one gallon per minute. The
sides of the springs are funnel-shaped, and converge until at the depth
of thirty feet, the opening is about eight feet in diameter. From the
surface or rim down to the lowest point of convergence where the opening
enlarges, the sides of the funnel (which are corrugated and very uneven
and irregular) are covered with a white deposit or incrustation which
contrasts vividly with the dark opening at its base, which is distinctly
visible at the depth of forty feet. These two springs are distant from
each other about twenty yards, and there is a difference of about four
feet in the elevation or level of the water. One peculiar feature of all
these springs is that they seem to have no connection with each other
beneath the surface. We find springs situated five or six feet apart, of
the same general appearance but of different temperatures, and with the
water upon different levels. The overflow from these springs for a great
number of years has formed an incrusted bank overlooking the border of
the lake, rising to the height of six feet; and, as the streams running
from the springs are bordered with incrustations of various hues,
depending upon the nature of the deposit or substance in solution, so
the incrusted bank, which has been in process of formation for ages,
exhibits all of these varied colors. In a number of places along the
bank of the lake, this incrusted deposit is broken down and has crumbled
into small pieces, upon which the waves have dashed until they have been
moulded into many curious shapes, and having all the colors of the
deposits in the springs--white, red and white blended, yellow and green.
Cavernous hollows which fill the shore incrustation respond in weird
and melancholy echoes to the dash of the billows.

The bottoms of the streams flowing from the deeper springs have for some
distance a pure white incrustation; farther down the slope the deposit
is white in the center with sides of red, and still farther down the
white deposit is hidden entirely by the red combined with yellow. From
nearly all these springs we obtained specimens of the adjoining
incrustations, all of which were too hot to be held for more than a
moment even with the gloved hand.

Between the springs all along the border of the lake were small craters
from which issued hot steam or vapor, besides which there were many cold
craters. Along the edge of the lake, out in the water from ten to thirty
feet from the shore are to be found springs with the water bubbling up a
few inches above the surface. None of the springs in this locality
appeared to be very strongly impregnated with sulphur. Some of the
incrustations on the beach are as white and delicate as alabaster. These
are the springs which we observed on September 5th from our camp on the
eastern shore of the lake.

Our explorations of the Yellowstone will cease at this point, and
to-morrow we start in our search for Firehole Basin. Our journey around
Yellowstone lake in close proximity to the beach is doubtless the first
ever attempted; and, although it has been attended with difficulty and
distress, these have been to me as nothing compared with the enjoyment
the journey has afforded, and it is with the greatest regret that I turn
my face from it homewards. How can I sum up its wonderful attractions!
It is dotted with islands of great beauty, as yet unvisited by man, but
which at no remote period will be adorned with villas and the ornaments
of civilized life. The winds from the mountain gorges roll its placid
waters into a furious sea, and crest its billows with foam. Forests of
pine, deep, dark and almost impenetrable, are scattered at random along
its banks, and its beautiful margin presents every variety of sand and
pebbly beach, glittering with crystals, carnelians and chalcedony. The
Indians approach it under the fear of a superstition originating in the
volcanic forces surrounding it, which amounts almost to entire
exclusion. It possesses adaptabilities for the highest display of
artificial culture, amid the greatest wonders of Nature that the world
affords, and is beautified by the grandeur of the most extensive
mountain scenery, and not many years can elapse before the march of
civil improvement will reclaim this delightful solitude, and garnish it
with all the attractions of cultivated taste and refinement.

Strange and interesting as are the various objects which we have met
with in this vast field of natural wonders, no camp or place of rest on
our journey has afforded our party greater satisfaction than the one we
are now occupying, which is our first camp since emerging from the dense
forest. Filled with gloom at the loss of our comrade, tired, tattered,
browned by exposure and reduced in flesh by our labors, we resemble more
a party of organized mendicants than of men in pursuit of Nature's
greatest novelties. But from this point we hope that our journey will be
comparatively free from difficulties of travel.

Mr. Hauser's experience as a civil engineer has been an invaluable aid
in judging of the "lay of the land," and so in giving direction to our
party in its zig-zag journeying around the lake. In speaking of this,
Hauser says that he thinks that I have a more correct idea of mountain
heights, distances and directions, and can follow a direct course
through dense timber more unerringly than any man he knows, except James
Stuart--a compliment which I accept most graciously. Some of our party
declare that they would have had no expectation of finding their way
back to camp, if they had ventured into the forest in search of Mr.

I recited to Washburn and Hauser to-night an extract from "The Task," by
the poet Cowper, which, in my younger days, I memorized for declamation,
and which, I think, is at once expressive of our experience in the
journey around the lake and of our present relief.

  "As one who long in thickets and in brakes
  Entangled, winds now this way and now that,
  His devious course uncertain, seeking home,
  Or having long in miry ways been foiled
  And sore discomfited, from slough to slough
  Plunging, and half despairing of escape,
  If chance at length he finds a green-sward
  Smooth and faithful to the foot, his spirits rise.
  He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed,
  And winds his way with pleasure and with ease."

It is a source of great regret to us all that we must leave this place
and abandon the search for Mr. Everts; but our provisions are rapidly
diminishing, and force of circumstances obliges us to move forward. We
still indulge the hope that he may have found and followed down some
branch of the Madison river and reached Virginia City, or down Snake
river and reached some settlement in that valley; and but for our
anxiety to reach home and prove or disprove our expectations, we might
have devoted much more time to visiting the objects of interest we have
seen, and which we have been obliged to pass by.

Mr. Hauser has eaten nothing to-day, and this evening he told me that he
felt sick. Such an acknowledgment from him means far more than it would
coming from many another man, for I know from intimate association with
him for eight years that there is no man in our party who will more
uncomplainingly reconcile himself to the hardships and privations of
such a journey as this, and if he is too ill to travel to-morrow
morning, and if the rest of our party think that they ought to take up
the journey homeward, I will remain with him here for a day, and as the
others will have to search out a path through the fallen timber, we can
make their two days' journey in one by following their beaten trail
without obstacles, and overtake them by the time they reach the Firehole
river, if they find it at all.

Saturday, September 17, morning.--We were awakened before daylight this
morning by loud roaring sounds proceeding from the hot springs close by
our camp, some of which were in violent action, though entirely
quiescent yesterday. Some of them in which the surface of the water,
last night, was several feet below the rim, are now overflowing.

My saddle horse broke his lariat, frightened by the roaring of the
springs, and plunged along too near one of them, when the surrounding
incrustation gave way and he sank down to his body, but frantically
extricated himself without standing upon the order of his
extrication;--but he has cut his foot so badly that I do not think it
will be prudent to ride him to-day. In his stead I will ride my smaller
pack horse, who has nearly recovered from the effects of the scalding he
received on my trip to Brown mountain. The hair has come off his legs in
several places as the result of that mishap, yet his wonderful vitality
always leaves him in a cheerful frame of mind and ready for any duty.

This has been a gloomy morning in our camp, for we all have been
depressed at the thought of leaving the lake and abandoning the search
for Mr. Everts. We have discussed the situation from every point of
view, and have tried to put ourselves in his place and have considered
all the possibilities of fate that may befall him. At one moment he may
be buoyed up with hope, however faint--at another weighed down by
despair and fear, with all their mental terrors. Has he met death by
accident, or may he be injured and unable to move, and be suffering the
horrors of starvation and fever? Has he wandered aimlessly hither and
thither until bereft of reason? As I contemplate all these
possibilities, it is a relief to think that he may have lost his life at
the hand of some vagabond Indian.

As the result of this conference we have decided upon a final plan of
action. We will give to Gillette from our remnant of provisions, ten
days' rations, and Lieutenant Doane will detail Privates Moore and
Williamson, with ten days' rations, and the three will continue the
search from this point. Mr. Gillette says that with the ten days'
rations they can devote five days to a continuous search, and the
remaining five days will be sufficient, with forced traveling, for them
to overtake us.

Hauser has endeavored to throw a little cheer into the conference by
saying to Gillette:

  "I think that I should be willing to take the risk of spending
  ten days more in this wilderness, if I thought that by so
  doing I could find a father-in-law." This provoked an uproarious
  shout of laughter, for we well understood that
  Hauser alluded to the many social courtesies which Gillette,
  in Helena, had extended to Miss Bessie Everts, the charming
  daughter of our lost comrade, and one of the most attractive
  of Montana belles. This sally of Mr. Hauser gives to me
  the assurance of his own convalescence; and, if it so happens
  that Gillette finds Mr. Everts, we will have the realization
  of another image in "Childe Harold," "A rapture on the
  lonely shore."[W]

Saturday, September 17, evening.--Gillette, Moore and Williamson left
us this morning about 9 o'clock on their final quest for Mr. Everts, and
the rest of our party soon resumed our journey. We have traveled about
twelve miles to-day, about one-half of the distance being through open
timber, and the other half over prostrate pines unmarked by any trail,
and through which we found it difficult to make our way, although the
obstructions were not so formidable as those on the south shore of
Yellowstone lake.[X] About noon we crossed a high ridge which we had
reached by a steep ascent, and on descending the opposite side we saw
upon our left a large lake which Lieutenant Doane and some others of our
party think is at the head of Firehole river, and they suggested that we
make our way to this lake and take as a guide to the Firehole the stream
which they believe will be found flowing from it. They argued that by
so doing we would be relieved from all uncertainty concerning the course
to be pursued in order to reach the Firehole river; but they were easily
persuaded that if the Firehole does take its rise in that lake, we can
as certainly strike that river by pursuing our present westwardly
direction as if we followed the plan suggested by them. Hauser and I
feel sure that this large lake is the head of Snake river.

In the afternoon we passed another ridge and descended into a small open
valley where we found a spring of good water, and where we are now
camped, near a very small creek, which runs in a direction a little
north of west, and which I believe flows to the Firehole or the Madison
river. Our direction of travel to-day has been governed somewhat by our
compasses, but we have neglected to make allowance for the variation of
the magnetic needle, which I think is about twenty degrees east of the
true meridian. Therefore in trying to follow a westerly course, we have
in reality taken a course about twenty degrees north of west.

As we passed the large lake on our left to-day, I observed that there
was no ridge of land between us and the lake; therefore I believe that
it is in the Snake river valley, and that we have to-day twice crossed
the main range of the Rocky Mountains. The fact that the Snake river
valley is so readily accessible from Yellowstone lake, gives me hope
to-night that Mr. Everts may have made his way out of the forest to some
settlement in the Snake river valley.

There is still four or five inches of snow on the ground, but there is
plenty of long grass under it, and our horses are faring tolerably well,
and will soon fill themselves with either grass or snow. There is no
clear space large enough for us to pitch our tent. We have had our
supper--an indifferent and scanty meal--and each man is now seeking with
varied success a dry spot beneath the sheltering branches of the pines
whereon to spread his blankets.

Some of our party seem terribly fatigued, and others mentally depressed.
The question of our present locality is still unsolved in their minds,
and has been intensified by the discussions in camp to-night as to
whether or not the large lake we saw discharges its waters into the
Snake river, and they ask: "If it does so, have we re-crossed the main
range to the eastern slope?" For myself I do not know of any day since
we left home when I have been in better spirits. I am sure we are on the
right course and feel no anxiety.

The sky to-night is clear and cloudless, but the snow is melting fast,
and there is a peculiar odor in the air that gives assurance of rain
before morning. Hedges (my bed fellow) and I have selected our sleeping
place, and I have placed over it a ridge-pole, supported by branches of
a tree, and have erected a "wickiup" of green pine boughs overlapping
like a thatched roof, which will turn off the rain if it comes, and I
have advised the others of our party to make similar preparations for a
rain. Hedges says that he feels worried and very much discouraged.

Sunday, September 18, 8 o'clock a.m.--There occurred a half hour ago the
first serious mishap affecting the welfare of the entire party; and
while the packers, Bean and Reynolds, are repairing the damage resulting
therefrom, I will go back a few hours and chronicle in the order of
their occurrence the events of the early morning.

Mr. Hedges and I, sleeping securely under the sheltering roof of our
pine-thatched wickiup, were aroused from our sweet dreams of home about
4 o'clock this morning by several members of our party, who sought
shelter from the rain which came down abundantly, or, as a Westmoreland
deacon used to say, "in cupious perfusion." The rain storm broke about 3
o'clock in the morning, and all of the party except Hedges and myself
were well drenched, as their only protection from the rain was their
blankets. An effort had been made by some of the party to kindle a fire
under the shelter of a large standing tree, but with indifferent
success. Hedges and I crawled out of our dry blankets, and sat upright,
so as to make as much room as possible for the others, and we welcomed
all our comrades to our dry shelter. General Washburn, who is suffering
somewhat from a cold, was especially grateful for the protection from
the storm, which continued until about 7 o'clock. The roof of our
wickiup had completely protected Hedges and myself from the rain except
at one spot directly over Hedges' exposed ear, where a displacement of
the pine leaves allowed a small stream to trickle through the roof,
filling his ear with water, much to his discomfort.

Some members of our party, at our early breakfast this morning, sitting
upon logs at various distances from our camp fire in their half-dried
clothing, and eating their scanty meal in silence, presented a sorry
appearance. Some are disappointed that we did not, last night, reach the
Firehole river, or some large branch of the Madison, which may guide us
homeward, and are wondering if we are moving in the right direction. I
feel so perfectly confident that we are traveling the right course that
I am in the best of spirits. It may be that my cheerfulness is owing, in
some degree, to my having dry clothing and a dry skin, which few of my
comrades have, but I see no reason for discouragement. I think that Mr.
Hauser is the best and most accurate judge of distances, of heights of
mountains, and direction of travel, of any man I know, and he does not
doubt that we are moving in the right direction. It is a satisfaction to
have my opinion confirmed by his judgment.

[Illustration: Nathaniel P. Langford]

We had just finished our breakfast a half hour ago when something--some
wild animal, or, perhaps, a snake--moving in the brush near where our
horses were picketed, frightened three of them, and in their violent
plunging they pulled up the iron picket pins attached to their lariats,
and dashed at a gallop directly through our camp, over the campfire, and
upsetting and scattering hither and thither our cooking utensils. The
iron picket pins flying through the air at the lariat ends narrowly
missed several of our party, but became entangled with the only two
sound pack saddles remaining of the entire number with which we started,
and dashed them against the adjacent trees, tearing off the side pieces
of the saddletrees, and rendering them useless. Our first thought was
that the damage done was beyond repair. We had, however, a few thin
boards, the remnants of our canned goods boxes, and from my seamless
sack of personal baggage I produced two gimlets, a screwdriver, a pair
of nippers, some wrought nails and two dozens of screws of various
sizes. When all these things were laid out, my comrades expressed great
surprise, for not one of them or the packers had any idea that there
were any tools or screws in our "outfit." On the other hand, it is a
matter of surprise to me that I am the only member of our party who has
a rubber coat, or a pair of oil-tanned water-proof boots, or who has
brought with him any medicines, tools, screws, etc.; and, except myself,
there is but one member of our party (whom I will not "give away" by
here recording his name) who had the foresight to bring with him a flask
of whiskey. I think we will be known among those who will hereafter
visit this marvelous region as "The Temperance Party," though some of
our number who lacked the foresight to provide, before leaving Helena, a
needed remedy for snake bites, have not lacked the hindsight required in
using it.

Bean and Reynolds have just announced that the pack saddles have been
repaired, and that preparations are being made for the start, so on
this hint I suspend my record until night.

Sunday, September 18, evening.--We left our morning camp about 9
o'clock, pursuing our uncertain course through fallen timber for a
distance of about three miles, when we had all our fears of misdirection
relieved by coming suddenly upon the banks of the Firehole river, the
largest fork of the Madison, down which we followed five miles, passing
several groups of boiling springs and a beautiful cascade[Y] (to which
we gave no name), when we emerged from the dense forest into a
sequestered basin two miles above the union of the Firehole river with a
stream which comes in from the southwest, the basin extending to the
width of a mile, and traversing the river until contracted between
proximate ranges two miles below our camp.

I have spent the entire afternoon and part of this evening in examining
the geysers and springs, but will not further record the explorations of
to-day until we are ready to leave the basin.

Monday, September 19.--When we left Yellowstone lake two days ago, the
desire for home had superceeded all thought of further explorations.
Five days of rapid travel would, we believed, bring us to the upper
valley of the Madison, and within twenty-five miles of Virginia City,
and we indulged the remote hope that we might there find some trace of
Mr. Everts. We had within a distance of fifty miles seen what we
believed to be the greatest wonders on the continent. We were convinced
that there was not on the globe another region where within the same
limits Nature had crowded so much of grandeur and majesty with so much
of novelty and wonder. Judge, then, of our astonishment on entering this
basin, to see at no great distance before us an immense body of
sparkling water, projected suddenly and with terrific force into the air
to the height of over one hundred feet. We had found a real geyser. In
the valley before us were a thousand hot springs of various sizes and
character, and five hundred craters jetting forth vapor. In one place
the eye followed through crevices in the crust a stream of hot water of
considerable size, running at nearly right angles with the river, and in
a direction, not towards, but away from the stream. We traced the course
of this stream by the crevices in the surface for twenty or thirty
yards. It is probable that it eventually flows into the Firehole, but
there is nothing on the surface to indicate to the beholder the course
of its underground passage to the river.

On the summit of a cone twenty-five feet high was a boiling spring seven
feet in diameter, surrounded with beautiful incrustations, on the slope
of which we gathered twigs encased in a crust a quarter of an inch in
thickness. On an incrusted hill opposite our camp are four craters from
three to five feet in diameter, sending forth steam jets and water to
the height of four or five feet. But the marvelous features of this
wonderful basin are its spouting geysers, of which during our brief stay
of twenty-two hours we have seen twelve in action. Six of these threw
water to the height of from fifteen to twenty feet, but in the presence
of others of immense dimensions they soon ceased to attract attention.

Of the latter six, the one we saw in action on entering the basin
ejected from a crevice of irregular form, and about four feet long by
three wide, a column of water of corresponding magnitude to the height
of one hundred feet. Around this crevice or mouth the sediment is piled
in many capricious shapes, chiefly indented globules from six inches to
two feet in diameter. Little hollows in the crust filled with water
contained small white spheres of tufa, of the size of a nutmeg, formed
as it seemed to me around some nuclei.[Z]

We gave such names to those of the geysers which we saw in action as we
think will best illustrate their peculiarities. The one I have just
described General Washburn has named "Old Faithful," because of the
regularity of its eruptions, the intervals between which being from
sixty to sixty-five minutes, the column of water being thrown at each
eruption to the height of from eighty to one hundred feet.

The "Fan" has a distorted pipe from which are projected two radiating
sheets of water to the height of sixty feet, resembling a feather fan.
Forty feet from this geyser is a vent connected with it, two feet in
diameter, which, during the eruption, expels with loud reports dense
volumes of vapor to the height of fifty feet.


The "Grotto," so named from the singularly winding apertures penetrating
the sinter surrounding it, was at rest when we first discovered it.
Externally it presented few indications of its character as a geyser.
Private Williamson, one of our escort, crawled through an aperture and
looked into the discharging orifice. When afterwards, he saw it belching
forth a column of boiling water two feet in diameter to the height of
sixty feet, and a scalding stream of two hundred square inches flowing
from the cavern he had entered a short time before, he said that he felt
like one who had narrowly escaped being summarily cooked.

The "Castle" is on the summit of an incrusted elevation. This name was
given because of its resemblance to the ruins of some old tower with its
broken down turrets. The silicious sinter composing the formation
surrounding it takes the form of small globules, resembling a ripe
cauliflower, and the massive nodules indicate that at some former period
the flow of water must have been much larger than at present. The jet is
sixty feet high by four feet in diameter, and the vent near it, which is
in angry ebullition during the eruption, constantly flows with boiling

One of the most wonderful of the springs in this basin is that of
ultra-marine hue directly in front of the "Castle" geyser. It is nearly
round, having diameters of about twenty and twenty-five feet, the sides
being corrugated and funnel-shaped, and at the depth of thirty feet
opening out into a cavern of unfathomable depth, the rim of the spring
having beautifully escalloped edges. It does not boil over, but a very
small stream of water flows from it, and it is not affected in its
appearance by the spouting of the geyser in its immediate proximity.
There is evidently no connection between this spring and the geyser.

The "Giant" is a rugged deposit presenting in form a miniature model of
the Colosseum. It has an opening three feet in diameter. A remarkable
characteristic of this geyser is the duration of its discharges, which
yesterday afternoon continued for more than an hour in a steady stream
about three feet in diameter and one hundred and forty feet high.

Opposite our camp, on the east side of the Firehole river, is a
symmetrical cone resembling an old-fashioned straw beehive with the top
cut off. It is about five feet in diameter at its base, with an
irregular oval-shaped orifice having escalloped edges, and of
twenty-four by thirty-six inches interior diameter. No one supposed that
it was a geyser, and until this morning, among so many wonders, it had
escaped a second notice. Suddenly, while we were at breakfast this
morning, a column of water shot from it, which by quite accurate
triangular measurement proved to be two hundred and nineteen feet in
height. Our method of triangulation was as follows: A point on the
surface of the ground was marked, which was in a direct line with a
branch of a tree near by, and of the top of the column of water when at
its greatest height. Having obtained the perpendicular height of the
branch of the tree from the ground, and the distance from this
perpendicular to the point of observation and to the geyser cone, we
were enabled to make a very accurate calculation of the height of the
column of water. We named this geyser the "Bee Hive."

Near by is situated the "Giantess," the largest of all the geysers we
saw in eruption. Ascending a gentle slope for a distance of sixty yards
we came to a sink or well of an irregular oval shape, fifteen by twenty
feet across, into which we could see to the depth of fifty feet or more,
but could discover no water, though we could distinctly hear it gurgling
and boiling at a fearful rate afar down this vertical cavern. Suddenly
it commenced spluttering and rising with incredible rapidity, causing a
general stampede among our company, who all moved around to the windward
side of the geyser. When the water had risen within about twenty-five
feet of the surface, it became stationary, and we returned to look down
upon the foaming water, which occasionally emitted hot jets nearly to
the mouth of the orifice. As if tired of this sport the water began to
ascend at the rate of five feet in a second, and when near the top it
was expelled with terrific momentum in a column the full size of the
immense aperture to a height of sixty feet. The column remained at this
height for the space of about a minute, when from the apex of this vast
aqueous mass five lesser jets or round columns of water varying in size
from six to fifteen inches in diameter shot up into the atmosphere to
the amazing height of two hundred and fifty feet. This was without
exception the most magnificent phenomenon I ever beheld. We were
standing on the side of the geyser exposed to the sun, whose sparkling
rays filled the ponderous column with what appeared to be the clippings
of a thousand rainbows. These prismatic illusions disappeared, only to
be succeeded by myriads of others which continually fluttered and
sparkled through the spray during the twenty minutes the eruption
lasted. These lesser jets, thrown so much higher than the main column
and shooting through it, doubtless proceed from auxiliary pipes leading
into the principal orifice near the bottom, where the explosive force is
greater. The minute globules into which the spent column was diffused
when falling sparkled like a shower of diamonds, and around every shadow
produced by the column of steam hiding the sun was the halo so often
represented in paintings as encircling the head of the Savior We
unhesitatingly agreed that this was the greatest wonder of our trip.

Mr. Hedges and I forded the Firehole river a short distance below our
camp. The current, as it dashed over the boulders, was swift, and,
taking off our boots and stockings, we selected for our place of
crossing what seemed to be a smooth rock surface in the bottom of the
stream, extending from shore to shore. When I reached the middle of the
stream I paused a moment and turned around to speak to Mr. Hedges, who
was about entering the stream, when I discovered from the sensation of
warmth under my feet that I was standing upon an incrustation formed
over a hot spring that had its vent in the bed of the stream. I
exclaimed to Hedges: "Here is the river which Bridger said was _hot at
the bottom_."[AA]

How many more geysers than those we saw in eruption there are in this
remarkable basin, it is impossible to determine. We will be compelled
reluctantly to leave it before it can be half explored. At least a
thousand pipes rise to the plain, one or two hundred of which, to all
appearances, are as likely to be geysers as any we have seen.

This entire country is seemingly under a constant and active internal
pressure from volcanic forces, which seek relief through the numberless
springs, jets, volcanoes and geysers exhibited on its surface, and which
but for these vents might burst forth in one terrific eruption and form
a volcano of vast dimensions. It is undoubtedly true that many of the
objects we see are of recent formation, and that many of the
extinguished craters recently ceased their condition of activity. They
are constantly breaking forth, often assuming new forms, and attesting
to the active presence of volcanic force.

The water in some of the springs presents to the eye the colors of all
the precious gems known to commerce. In one spring the hue is like that
of an emerald, in another like that of the turquoise, another has the
ultra-marine hue of the sapphire, another has the color of the topaz;
and the suggestion has been made that the names of these jewels may very
properly be given to many of these springs.

The packers with the pack train and several of our party broke camp at
9:30 this morning, a few of us remaining for an hour, hoping to have
another view of an eruption of the "Giantess;" but in this we were
disappointed, for it gave no sign of an eruption, save that the water,
visible generally at a depth of about twenty feet, would rise suddenly
eight or ten feet in the well, and as suddenly fall again.

We moved down the river on the east bank, part of the way through an
open valley and part through fallen timber. At about eight miles we came
upon an enormous spring of dark blue water, the largest we have seen.
Mr. Hauser measured it, and says it is four hundred feet in diameter.
The mineral solution has been deposited by the overflow on all sides for
two hundred yards, the spring itself being thirty feet above the general
level of the valley. Out near the center of the lake the water boils up
a few feet, but without any especial violent action. The lake has no
well-defined outlet, but overflows on many sides, the water flowing down
the slopes of the incrusted mound about one-quarter of an inch deep. As
we stood on the margin of this immense lake a small flock of ducks came
sailing down as if to alight; but as they skimmed the water a few inches
above the surface, they seemed to scent danger, and with rapid flapping
of their wings, all except one rose into the air. This one, in his
descent, had gained too great an impetus to check his progress, and
came down into the water, and his frantic efforts to rise again were
futile, and with one or two loud squawks of distress, which were
responded to by his mates who had escaped, he was in a moment "a dead
duck." We gave no name to this lake.[AB]

About one hundred yards from the lake on the side towards the river, the
incrustation breaks off perpendicularly, and another large lake is
formed, the surface of which is about fifteen feet below the upper and
larger lake. There are a few other springs near the river farther down
the stream.

Jake Smith, for the first time on this trip, selected at this large lake
a curious specimen of tufa. It was a circumstance so unusual that Hedges
called our attention to it, but as Smith was riding along holding his
treasure carefully in his hand, his horse stumbled, and he accidentally
dropped his specimen, and with a remark which I will not here record,
and which is at variance with his own Bible instruction, he denounced as
worthless all the specimens of the party which he had seen, and
inveighed against the folly of spending any time in gathering them.

From this point we passed down the valley close by the bank of the
river. The valley on our right was very marshy, and we saw at a
considerable distance one very large fountain of water spouting into the
atmosphere to a considerable height, and many steam jets, but, owing to
the swampy character of the ground, we did not visit them.[AC]

When we left Helena on August 17th, we believed that twenty-five days
would be the limit of time which would be consumed before our return;
but to meet all exigencies we laid in a thirty days' supply of
provisions. We have now been absent thirty-four days, and as we cached
some of our supply on Yellowstone lake for Mr. Everts' relief, we are
now on short rations, but the fish we dried while camped on Yellowstone
lake are doing good service.

While riding to-day alongside of Stickney and bemoaning the lack in our
larder of many articles of food, such as sugar, coffee and tea, the
supply of which has become exhausted, I asked him if he was fond of
maple sugar, and would like a lump of it. He requested me not to
tantalize him by mentioning the subject, whereupon I astonished him by
producing a goodly sized cake which I had brought with me from Helena,
and which for five weeks I had preserved untouched in my seamless sack.
It was enjoyed by all who shared it, but Stickney was especially
grateful for his division of the sweet morsel, and received it
gratefully and gracefully, and seemingly without reluctance, at the same
time remarking, "You are always doing something to make me laugh!" and
added, "You always seem to have another card up your sleeve when an
emergency arises." By this last figure of speech he delicately suggested
to me the methods adopted by Jake Smith in playing poker.[AD]

We have traveled to-day about eighteen miles, crossing just before the
day closed a timbered ridge, and we are now camped at the junction of
the Firehole river with a stream coming into it from the east nearly as
large as the Firehole, but to which we have given no name.[AE]

Tuesday, September 20.--We broke camp at half past nine o'clock,
traveling along the rocky edge of the river bank by the rapids, passing
thence through a beautiful pine wood and over a long stretch of fallen
timber, blackened by fire, for about four miles, when we again reached
the river, which here bends in a westerly direction. Lieutenant Doane
and I climbed to the top of one of the two prominent hills on our
course, and had a fine view of the country for the distance of thirty

Last night, and also this morning in camp, the entire party had a rather
unusual discussion. The proposition was made by some member that we
utilize the result of our exploration by taking up quarter sections of
land at the most prominent points of interest, and a general discussion
followed. One member of our party suggested that if there could be
secured by pre-emption a good title to two or three quarter sections of
land opposite the lower fall of the Yellowstone and extending down the
river along the cañon, they would eventually become a source of great
profit to the owners. Another member of the party thought that it would
be more desirable to take up a quarter section of land at the Upper
Geyser Basin, for the reason that that locality could be more easily
reached by tourists and pleasure seekers. A third suggestion was that
each member of the party pre-empt a claim, and in order that no one
should have an advantage over the others, the whole should be thrown
into a common pool for the benefit of the entire party.

Mr. Hedges then said that he did not approve of any of these plans--that
there ought to be no private ownership of any portion of that region,
but that the whole of it ought to be set apart as a great National Park,
and that each one of us ought to make an effort to have this
accomplished. His suggestion met with an instantaneous and favorable
response from all--except one--of the members of our party, and each
hour since the matter was first broached, our enthusiasm has increased.
It has been the main theme of our conversation to-day as we journeyed. I
lay awake half of last night thinking about it;--and if my wakefulness
deprived my bed-fellow (Hedges) of any sleep, he has only himself and
his disturbing National Park proposition to answer for it.

Our purpose to create a park can only be accomplished by untiring work
and concerted action in a warfare against the incredulity and unbelief
of our National legislators when our proposal shall be presented for
their approval. Nevertheless, I believe we can win the battle.

I do not know of any portion of our country where a national park can be
established furnishing to visitors more wonderful attractions than here.
These wonders are so different from anything we have ever seen--they are
so various, so extensive--that the feeling in my mind from the moment
they began to appear until we left them has been one of intense surprise
and of incredulity. Every day spent in surveying them has revealed to me
some new beauty, and now that I have left them, I begin to feel a
skepticism which clothes them in a memory clouded by doubt.

Wednesday, September 21.--We broke camp soon after 9 o'clock, traveling
northwesterly down the stream, which at six miles entered a cañon
extending ten miles in a very tortuous course, the stream gradually
bending to the west. The sides of the cañon are steep, and a great many
small lateral streams flow into it, forming cascades of remarkable
beauty. There are also many springs gushing out from the sides of the
cañon afar up. Below the cañon we traveled over a high ridge for the
distance of ten miles, and camped in a deep coulee, where we found good
water and an abundance of wood and grass. Mr. Hauser and Mr. Stickney
all through the day were a few miles in advance of the rest of the
party, and just below the mouth of the cañon they met two men who
manifested some alarm at sight of them. They had a supply of provisions
packed on riding saddles, and were walking beside their horses. Mr.
Hauser told them that they would meet a large party up the cañon, but we
did not see them, and they evidently cached themselves as we went by.
The Upper Madison in this vicinity is said to be a rendezvous for horse
thieves. We have traveled about twenty-five miles to-day.

As the outcome of a general conversation to-night, I will leave the
party to-morrow morning, and start for Virginia City, where I have a
forlorn hope that some tidings may be had of Mr. Everts. We think that
Virginia City is not more than thirty miles distant; but, as we are not
now on any trail leading to it, I shall have to take my chances of
finding it.

Jake Smith to-day asked me if I expected that the readers of my diary
would believe what I had written. He said that he had kept no diary for
the reason that our discoveries had been of such a novel character, that
if he were to write an account of them he would not be believed by those
who read his record, and he would be set down as a liar. He said that he
did not mind being called a liar by those who had known him well for
many years, but he would not allow strangers that privilege. This
ambiguous remark indicates that Jake has more wit and philosophy than I
have given him the credit of possessing.

Thursday, September 22, Virginia City.--With a small supply of needed
creature comforts (lunch, etc.), I left the party early this morning,
uncertain as to the time which would be required to take me to Virginia
City. About noon I met a horseman who had left Virginia City this
morning, who directed me to the trail leading to the town. He paused
long enough to let me scan a newspaper which he had, from which I
learned of the capitulation of the French at Sedan. I asked him to hand
the newspaper to General Washburn, whose party he would meet in the
Madison valley. He said that he would stop at the cabin of "Bannack

The distance from our morning camp to this place is much farther than we
thought, and it was 9 o'clock this evening before I reached Virginia
City. Nothing has been heard of Mr. Everts, and his friends are shocked
at the intelligence of his loss from our party.

Owing to the late hour of my arrival I have met but few of my old
acquaintances, but these are greatly interested in the result of our
explorations, and I have promised to remain here another day before
starting for Helena, and give them a further description of what I have
seen. I have enjoyed one good square meal.

Tuesday, September 27, Helena.--I reached Helena last night. The
intelligence of my arrival in Virginia City, and of the loss of Mr.
Everts from our party, had been telegraphed to Helena from Virginia
City, and on my arrival I was besieged by many of the friends of Mr.
Everts for information concerning the manner in which he became
separated from our party. I have spent the larger part of this day in
describing the many wonders which we found on our trip, and I shall be
most glad to have a few days' rest and put on some of my lost flesh. At
the outset of this journey I tipped the beam of the scales at a little
over one hundred and ninety (190) pounds, and to-day I weigh but one
hundred and fifty-five (155) pounds, a loss of thirty-five (35) pounds.
One of my friends says that I may consider myself fortunate in bringing
back to civilization as much of my body as I did. I have already
received several invitations from householders to meet their families
and friends at their homes, and tell them of our trip, but the present
dilapidated condition of my toilet renders it necessary for me to
decline their hospitalities until some future period. My first duty to
myself and my fellow citizens is to seek a tailor and replenish my
wardrobe. Jake Smith is the only one of our party who has returned with
a garment fit to wear in the society of ladies.

My narrations to-day have excited great wonder, and I cannot resist the
conviction that many of my auditors believe that I have "drawn a long
bow" in my descriptions. I am perfectly free to acknowledge that this
does not surprise me. It seems a most natural thing for them to do so;
for, in the midst of my narrations, I find myself almost as ready to
doubt the reality of the scenes I have attempted to describe as the most
skeptical of my listeners. They pass along my memory like the faintly
defined outlines of a dream. And when I dwell upon their strange
peculiarities, their vastness, their variety, and the distinctive
features of novelty which mark them all, so entirely out of the range of
all objects that compose the natural scenery and wonders of this
continent, I who have seen them can scarcely realize that in those
far-off recesses of the mountains they have existed so long in
impenetrable seclusion, and that hereafter they will stand foremost
among the natural attractions of the world. Astonishment and wonder
become so firmly impressed upon the mind in the presence of these
objects, that belief stands appalled, and incredulity is dumb. You can
see Niagara, comprehend its beauties, and carry from it a memory ever
ready to summon before you all its grandeur. You can stand in the valley
of the Yosemite, and look up its mile of vertical granite, and
distinctly recall its minutest feature; but amid the cañon and falls,
the boiling springs and sulphur mountain, and, above all, the mud
volcano and the geysers of the Yellowstone, your memory becomes filled
and clogged with objects new in experience, wonderful in extent, and
possessing unlimited grandeur and beauty. It is a new phase in the
natural world; a fresh exhibition of the handiwork of the Great
Architect; and, while you see and wonder, you seem to need an additional
sense, fully to comprehend and believe.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote A: In his diary under date of August 22d General Washburn
wrote: "Stood guard. Quite cold. Crows (Indians) near."]

[Footnote B: On August 23d General Washburn wrote: "Indians of the Crow

[Footnote C: Near where Livingston is now located.]

[Footnote D: Lieutenant Doane in his report to the War Department under
date of August 24th writes: "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, etc., not
to be neglected while traveling through this country."]

[Footnote E: Under date of August 25th Lieutenant Doane writes: "From
this camp was seen the smoke of fires on the mountains in front, while
Indian signs became more numerous and distinct." Under date of August
25th General Washburn wrote in his diary: "Have been following Indian
trails, fresh ones, all the way. They are about two days ahead of us."]

[Footnote F: These blanks were left in my diary with the intention of
filling them, upon the selection by our party of a name for the creek;
but after going into camp at Tower fall, the matter of selecting a name
was forgotten. A few years later the stream was named Lost creek.]

[Footnote G: In making a copy of my original diary, it is proper at this
point to interpolate an account of the circumstances under which the
name "Tower" was bestowed upon the creek and fall.

At the outset of our journey we had agreed that we would not give to any
object of interest which we might discover the name of any of our party
nor of our friends. This rule was to be religiously observed. While in
camp on Sunday, August 28th, on the bank of this creek, it was suggested
that we select a name for the creek and fall. Walter Trumbull suggested
"Minaret Creek" and "Minaret Fall." Mr. Hauser suggested "Tower Creek"
and "Tower Fall." After some discussion a vote was taken, and by a small
majority the name "Minaret" was decided upon. During the following
evening Mr. Hauser stated with great seriousness that we had violated
the agreement made relative to naming objects for our friends. He said
that the well known Southern family--the Rhetts--lived in St. Louis, and
that they had a most charming and accomplished daughter named "Minnie."
He said that this daughter was a sweetheart of Trumbull, who had
proposed the name--her name--"Minnie Rhett"--and that we had unwittingly
given to the fall and creek the name of this sweetheart of Mr. Trumbull.
Mr. Trumbull indignantly denied the truth of Hauser's statement, and
Hauser as determinedly insisted that it was the truth, and the vote was
therefore reconsidered, and by a substantial majority it was decided to
substitute the name "Tower" for "Minaret." Later, and when it was too
late to recall or reverse the action of our party, it was surmised that
Hauser himself had a sweetheart in St. Louis, a Miss Tower. Some of our
party, Walter Trumbull especially, always insisted that such was the
case. The weight of testimony was so evenly balanced that I shall
hesitate long before I believe either side of this part of the story.


[Footnote H: Now Called Inspiration Point.]

[Footnote I: The above quotation is from a poem by John Keats.]

[Footnote J: Dr. P.V. Hayden, geologist in charge of the U.S. Geological
Survey, first visited this region in the summer of 1871--the year
following the visit of the Washburn party, whose discoveries and
explorations are recorded in this diary. Dr. Hayden, on his return,
graphically described the various wonders which he saw, but had very
little to say concerning the mud volcano. This fact was the more
inexplicable to me for the reason that the Washburn party thought it one
of the most remarkable curiosities to be found in that region, and I was
greatly surprised to find that Dr. Hayden made so little allusion to it.

In 1872, the year following Dr. Hayden's first visit, I again visited
the volcano, and the omission by Hayden was explained as soon as I saw
the volcano in its changed condition. The loud detonations which
resembled the discharges of a gun-boat mortar were no longer heard, and
the upper part of the crater and cone had in a great measure
disappeared, leaving a shapeless and unsightly hole much larger than the
former crater, in which large tree-tops were swaying to and fro in the
gurgling mass, forty feet below--the whole appearance bearing testimony
to the terrible nature of the convulsion which wrought such destruction.
Lieutenant Doane, in his official report to the War Department, thus
describes the volcano as it appeared in 1870:

"A few hundred yards from here is an object of the greatest interest. On
the slope of a small and steep wooded ravine is the crater of a mud
volcano, 30 feet in diameter at the rim, which is elevated a few feet
above the surface on the lower side, and bounded by the slope of the
hill on the upper, converging, as it deepens, to the diameter of 15 feet
at the lowest visible point, about 40 feet down. Heavy volumes of steam
escape from this opening, ascending to the height of 300 feet. From far
down in the earth came a jarring sound, in regular beats of five
seconds, with a concussion that shook the ground at 200 yards' distance.
After each concussion came a splash of mud, as if thrown to a great
height; sometimes it could be seen from the edge of the crater, but none
was entirely ejected while we were there. Occasionally an explosion was
heard like the bursting of heavy guns behind an embankment, and causing
the earth to tremble for a mile around. The distance to which this mud
had been thrown is truly astonishing. The ground and falling trees near
by were splashed at a horizontal distance of 200 feet. The trees below
were either broken down or their branches festooned with dry mud, which
appeared in the tops of the trees growing on the side hill from the same
level with the crater, 50 feet in height, and at a distance of 180 feet
from the volcano. The mud, to produce such effects, must have been
thrown to a perpendicular elevation of at least 300 feet. It was with
difficulty we could believe the evidence of our senses, and only after
the most careful measurements could we realize the immensity of this
wonderful phenomenon."

The visitor to the Park who has read the description given by Washburn,
Hedges, Doane or myself, of the mud volcano as it appeared in 1870, will
readily perceive that it has undergone a great change since the time of
its first discovery.

In my account of my trip made in 1872, published in Scribner's (now
Century) Magazine for June, 1873, I say, concerning this change: "A
large excavation remained; and a seething, bubbling mass of mud, with
several tree-tops swaying to and fro in the midst, told how terrible and
how effectual must have been the explosions which produced such
devastation. I could not realize that in this unsightly hole I beheld
all that was left of those physical wonders which filled this
extraordinary region. * * * Great trees that then decorated the hillside
were now completely submerged in the boiling mass that remained."

The trees with their green tops, which were visible in 1872, have now
entirely disappeared. Can any one conjecture what has become of them?]

[Footnote K: Lieutenant Doane, on page 19 of his report to the War
Department, says with reference to this surgical operation:

"I had on the previous evening been nine days and nights without sleep
or rest, and was becoming very much reduced. My hand was enormously
swelled, and even ice water ceased to relieve the pain. I could scarcely
walk at all, from excessive weakness. The most powerful opiates had
ceased to have any effect. A consultation was held, which resulted in
having the thumb split open. Mr. Langford performed the operation in a
masterly manner, dividing thumb, bone, and all. An explosion ensued,
followed by immediate relief. I slept through the night, all day, and
the next night, and felt much better. To Mr. Langford, General Washburn,
Mr. Stickney and the others of the party I owe a lasting debt for their
uniform kindness and attention in the hour of need."]

[Footnote L: Repeated efforts to ascend the Grand Teton, made prior to
the year 1872, all terminated in failure. On the 29th day of July of
that year the summit was reached by James Stevenson, of the U.S.
Geological Survey, and Nathaniel P. Langford, the writer of this diary.
An account of this ascent was published in Scribner's (now Century)
Magazine for June, 1873. The next ascent was made in 1898 by Rev. Frank
S. Spalding, of Erie, Pennsylvania, and W.O. Owen, of Wyoming, and two
assistants. This ascent was accomplished after two failures of Mr. Owen
in previous years to reach the summit. Mr. Owen then asserted that the
summit of the mountain was not reached in 1872 by Stevenson and
Langford. His efforts--in which Mr. Spalding had no part--to impeach the
statement of these gentlemen failed utterly. Mr. Spalding, who was the
first member of his party to reach the summit, writes: "I believe that
Mr. Langford reached the summit because he says he did, and because the
difficulties of the ascent were not great enough to have prevented any
good climber from having successfully scaled the peak, * * * and I
cannot understand why Mr. Owen failed so many times before he

[Footnote M: The bay here referred to is at the "Thumb" Station.]

[Footnote N: Captain Raynolds wrote on May 10, 1860: "To our front and
upon the right the mountains towered above us to the height of from
2,000 to 3,000 feet in the shape of bold, craggy peaks of basaltic
formation, their summits crowned with glistening snow. * * * It was my
original desire to go from the head of Wind river to the head of the
Yellowstone, keeping on the Atlantic slope, thence down the Yellowstone,
passing the lake, and across by the Gallatin to the Three forks of the
Missouri. Bridger said, at the outset, that this would be impossible,
and that it would be necessary to pass over to the head waters of the
Columbia, and back again to the Yellowstone. I had not previously
believed that crossing the main crest twice would be more easily
accomplished than the travel over what in effect is only a spur; but the
view from our present camp settled the question adversely to my opinion
at once. Directly across our route lies a basaltic ridge, rising not
less than 5,000 feet above us, the walls apparently vertical, with no
visible pass nor even cañon. On the opposite side of this are the head
waters of the Yellowstone."]

[Footnote O: Later, in 1833, the indomitable Captain Bonneville was lost
in this mountain labyrinth, and, after devising various modes of escape,
finally determined to ascend the range.

Washington Irving, in his charming history, "Bonneville's Adventures,"
thus describes the efforts of General Bonneville and one of his comrades
to reach the summit of this range:

"After much toil he reached the summit of a lofty cliff, but it was only
to behold gigantic peaks rising all around, and towering far into the
snowy regions of the atmosphere. He soon found that he had undertaken a
tremendous task; but the pride of man is never more obstinate than when
climbing mountains. The ascent was so steep and rugged that he and his
companion were frequently obliged to clamber on hands and knees, with
their guns slung upon their backs. Frequently, exhausted with fatigue
and dripping with perspiration, they threw themselves upon the snow, and
took handfuls of it to allay their parching thirst. At one place they
even stripped off their coats and hung them upon the bushes, and thus
lightly clad proceeded to scramble over these eternal snows. As they
ascended still higher there were cool breezes that refreshed and braced
them, and, springing with new ardor to their task, they at length
attained the summit."]

[Footnote P: Soon after the return of our party to Helena, General
Washburn, then surveyor-general of Montana, made in his office for the
Interior Department at Washington, a map of the Yellowstone region, a
copy of which he gave to me. He told me that in recognition of the
assistance I had rendered him in making a fair outline of Yellowstone
lake, with its indented shore and promontories, he had named for me the
mountain on the top of which I stood when I made the sketch of the south
shore of the lake. I called his attention to the fact that Lieutenant
Doane had been my comrade in making the ascent, and suggested that
Doane's name be given to the adjoining peak on the north. He approved of
this suggestion, and the map, with these mountains so named, was
transmitted to the Interior Department.

Dr. Hayden, the geologist in charge of the United States geological
survey, made his first visit to this region the following year (1871),
and on the map which he issued in connection with his 1871 report, the
name "Mount Langford" was given to another mountain far to the
northeast. Since that time my name has again been transferred to a
mountain on the southeast. I think that Dr. Hayden must have been aware
at that time that this mountain bore my name; for he had read the
account of the Washburn exploration, which was published in Scribner's
Magazine for May, 1871, accompanied by a copy of the map made by General

The significance of connecting my name with this mountain is centered in
the circumstance that it was intended to mark or commemorate an
important event--that of giving to the public a very correct outline map
of Yellowstone lake. In confirmation of the fact that the first outline
of the lake approximating any degree of accuracy was made from the
mountain-top, I here quote from page 21 of Lieutenant Doane's report to
the War Department.

"The view from this peak commanded completely the lake, enabling us to
sketch a map of its inlets and bearings with considerable accuracy."

On page 23 of this report Lieutenant Doane speaks of this mountain as
"Mount Langford." The map last published previous to that made by
General Washburn was that of Captain Raynolds, of which I here present a
copy, as well as a copy of the map made by me.]

[Footnote Q: On our return to Helena, Walter Trumbull published, in the
Helena Gazette, some incidents of our trip, and from his narrative I
copy the following account of our hunt for the grizzly:

"Some of the party who had gone a short distance ahead to find out the
best course to take the next day, soon returned and reported a grizzly
and her two cubs about a quarter of a mile from camp. Six of the party
decorated themselves as walking armories, and at once started in
pursuit. Each individual was sandwiched between two revolvers and a
knife, was supported around the middle by a belt of cartridges, and
carried in his hand a needle carbine. Each one was particularly anxious
to be the first to catch the bear, and an exciting foot-race ensued
until the party got within 300 yards of the place where the bear was
supposed to be concealed. The foremost man then suddenly got out of
breath, and, in fact, they all got out of breath. It was an epidemic. A
halt was made, and the brute loudly dared to come out and show itself,
while a spirited discussion took place as to what was best to do with
the cubs. The location was a mountain side, thickly timbered with tall
straight pines having no limbs within thirty feet of the ground. It was
decided to advance more cautiously to avoid frightening the animal, and
every tree which there was any chance of climbing was watched with
religious care, in order to intercept her should she attempt to take
refuge in its branches. An hour was passed in vain search for the
sneaking beast, which had evidently taken to flight. Then this
formidable war party returned to camp, having a big disgust at the
cowardly conduct of the bear, but, as the darkie said, 'not having it
bad.' Just before getting in sight of camp, the six invincibles
discharged their firearms simultaneously, in order to show those
remaining behind just how they would have slaughtered the bear, but more
particularly just how they did not. This was called the 'Bear Camp.'"

Mr. Trumbull was one of the party of hunters whose efforts to capture
the bear he so well describes.]

[Footnote R: Our subsequent journeying showed that Lieutenant Doane was
right in his conjecture.]

[Footnote S: The Honorable Granville Stuart, of Montana, in his book
"Montana as It Is," published in 1865, says that there is another root
found in portions of Montana which I have never seen. Mr. Stuart says:

"Thistle-root is the root of the common thistle, which is very abundant
in the bottoms along nearly all the streams in the mountain. They grow
to about the size of a large radish, and taste very much like turnips,
and are good either raw or cooked with meat."

Captain William Clark, of the famous Lewis and Clark expedition, dropped
the final _e_ from the word cowse, spelling it c-o-w-s. Unless this
error is noticed by the reader, he will not understand what Captain
Clark meant when he said that members of his party were searching for
the _cows_.]

[Footnote T: Lieutenant Doane, in his official report to the War
Department, says, concerning this episode:

"Washburn and Langford * * * became entangled in an immense swampy
brimstone basin, abounding in sulphur springs. * * * Mr. Langford's
horse broke through several times, coming back plastered with the white
substance and badly scalded."]

[Footnote U: The location of this camp is what is now called the "Thumb"
station on the stage route.]

[Footnote V: Analyses of the various specimens of mud taken from the
springs in this locality, made on our return to Helena, gave the
following results:

   White Sediment.       Lavender Sediment.       Pink Sediment.

Silica......... 42.2   Silica ........ 28.2    Silica ........ 32.6

Magnesia....... 33.4   Alumina........ 58.6    Alumina........ 52.4

Lime........... 17.8   Boracic acid.... 3.2    Oxide of calcium 8.3

Alkalis......... 6.6   Oxide of iron... 0.6    Soda and potassa 4.2

              ------   Oxide of calcium 4.2    Water and loss.. 2.5

               100.0   Water and loss.. 5.2                   -----
                                      -----                   100.0

These analyses were made by Professor Augustus Steitz, assayer of the
First National Bank of Helena, Mont.]

[Footnote W: On our return home, finding that no tidings of Mr. Everts
had been received, Jack Baronette and George A. Prichett, two
experienced trappers and old mountaineers, were provided with thirty
days' provisions and dispatched in search of him, and by them Mr. Everts
was found on October 16th, after wandering in the forest for
thirty-seven days from the time he was lost. From the letter of Mr.
Prichett addressed to Mr. Gillette, myself and others, I quote: "We
found him on the 16th inst. on the summit of the first big mountain
beyond Warm Spring creek, about seventy-five miles from Fort Ellis. He
says he subsisted all this time on one snow bird, two small minnows and
the wing of a bird which he found and mashed between two stones, and
made some broth of in a yeast powder can. This was all, with the
exception of thistle roots, he had subsisted on."

The narrative of Mr. Everts, of his thirty-seven days' sojourn in the
wilderness (published in Scribner's Magazine for November, 1871, and in
volume V. of the Montana Historical Society publications), furnishes a
chapter in the history of human endurance, exposure, and escape, almost
as incredible as it is painfully instructive and entertaining.]

[Footnote X: Our general line of travel from the southwest estuary of
the lake (Thumb) to the Firehole river was about one mile south of the
present stage route. The tourist who to-day makes the rapid and
comfortable tour of the park by stage, looking south from Shoshone
Point, may catch a glimpse of a portion of the prostrate forest through
and over which we struggled, and thus form some idea of the difficulties
which beset us on our journey from the lake to the Firehole river.]

[Footnote Y: Called now Kepler's cascade.]

[Footnote Z: An incident of so amusing a character occurred soon after
my return to Helena, that I cannot forbear narrating it here. Among the
specimens of silica which I brought home were several dark globules
about the size of nutmegs. I exhibited these to a noted physician of
Helena, Dr. Hovaker, and soon after the return of Mr. Gillette from his
search for Mr. Everts, I called upon him at his store and exhibited to
him these specimens of silica. At the same time I took a nutmeg from a
box upon the store counter, and playfully asked Gillette, in the
presence of Dr. Hovaker, if he had found any of those singular
incrustations. Dr. Hovaker, believing of course that the specimen I held
in my hand came from the Yellowstone, took the nutmeg, and with wonder
exhibited in every feature, proceeded to give it a critical examination,
frequently exclaiming: "How very like it is to a nutmeg." He finally
took a nutmeg from a box near by, and balanced the supposed incrustation
with it, declaring the former to be the lighter. Asking my permission to
do so, he took the nutmeg (which he supposed to be an incrustation) to a
jeweler in the vicinity, and broke it. The aroma left him no doubt as to
its character, but he was still deceived as to its origin. When I saw
him returning to the store, in anticipation of the reproof I should
receive, I started for the rear door; but the Doctor, entering before I
reached it, called me back, and in a most excited manner declared that
we had discovered real nutmegs, and nutmegs of a very superior quality.
He had no doubt that Yellowstone lake was surrounded by nutmeg trees,
and that each of our incrustations contained a veritable nutmeg. In his
excitement he even proposed to organize a small party to go immediately
to the locality to gather nutmegs, and had an interview with Charley
Curtis on the subject of furnishing pack animals for purposes of
transportation. When, on the following day, he ascertained the truth,
after giving me a characteristic lecture, he revenged himself by good
naturedly conferring upon the members of our party the title, by which
he always called them thereafter, of "Nutmegs."


[Footnote AA: James Bridger was famous for the marvelous stories he was
accustomed to relate of his mountain life and experiences. He once told
me that he had seen a river which flowed so rapidly over the smooth
surface of a descending rock ledge in the bottom of the stream, that the
water was "hot at the bottom." My experience in crossing the Firehole
river that day, leads me to believe that Bridger had had, at some time,
a similar experience. He well knew that heat and fire could be produced
by friction. Like other mountain men, he had doubtless, many a time,
produced a fire by friction; and he could not account for the existence
of a hot rock in the bed of a cold stream, except upon the theory that
the rapid flow of water over the smooth surface evolved the heat, by


[Footnote AB: This lake is now called "Hell's Half-acre;" and from the
lower lake the "Excelsior" geyser has burst forth.]

[Footnote AC: The fountain and jets here referred to are those of the
Lower Geyser Basin, and the larger column of water which we saw is
undoubtedly the "Fountain" geyser, named by Dr. Hayden in 1871.]

[Footnote AD: In the course of a recent correspondence with Mr.
Stickney, I asked him if he recalled this incident. Under date of May
20, 1905, he wrote me from Sarasota, Florida: "The maple sugar incident
had almost faded from my memory, but like a spark of fire smouldering
under rubbish it needed but a breath to make it live, and I recall my
reflections, after my astonishment, that you did so many quaint things,
that it was quite in accordance with them that you should produce maple
sugar in a sulphurous region."


[Footnote AE: This stream was afterwards named "Gibbon river."]


It is much to be regretted that our expedition was not accompanied by an
expert photographer; but at the time of our departure from Helena, no
one skilled in the art could be found with whom the hazards of the
journey did not outweigh any seeming advantage or compensation which the
undertaking promised.

The accompanying sketches of the two falls of the Yellowstone, and of
the cones of the Grand and Castle geysers, were made by Walter Trumbull
and Private Moore. They are the very first ever made of these objects.
Through an inadvertence in the preparation of the electroyped plates for
the printer, they did not appear in their proper places in this diary.
Major Hiram M. Chittenden, in his volume "The Yellowstone Park," says of
the two sketches made by Private Moore: "His quaint sketches of the
falls forcibly remind one of the original picture of Niagara, made by
Father Hennepin, in 1697."

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