On the 18th, we had rain. I took the lead, and after having walked about ten or twelve miles, on the slope of a mountain denuded of trees, I perceived some smoke issuing from a tuft of trees in the bottom of a valley, and near the river. I descended immediately, and reached a small camp, where I found two men who were coming to meet us with four horses. I made them fire off two guns as a signal to the rest of our people who were coming up in the rear, and presently we heard it repeated on the river, from which we were not far distant. We repaired thither, and found two of the men, who had been left at the last ford, and who, having constructed a bark canoe, were descending the river. I made one of them disembark, and took his place, my knee being so painful that I could walk no further. Meanwhile the whole party came up; they loaded the horses, and pursued their route. In the course of the day my companion (an Iroquois) and I, shot seven ducks. Coming, at last, to a high promontory called Millet’s rock, we found some of our foot-travellers with Messrs. Stewart and Clarke, who were on horseback, all at a stand, doubting whether it would answer to wade round the base of the rock, which dipped in the water. We sounded the stream for them, and found it fordable. So they all passed round, thereby avoiding the inland path, which is excessively fatiguing by reason of the hills, which it is necessary perpetually to mount and descend. We encamped, to the number of seven, at the entrance of what at high water might be a lake, but was then but a flat of blackish sand, with a narrow channel in the centre. Here we made an excellent supper on the wild ducks, while those who were behind had nothing to eat.
Arrival at the Fort of the Mountains.—Description of this Post.—Some Details in Regard to the Rocky Mountains.—Mountain Sheep, &c.—Continuation of the Journey.—Unhappy Accident.—Reflections.—News from Canada.—Hunter’s Lodge.—Pembina and Red Deer Rivers.
On the 19th we raised our camp and followed the shore of the little dry lake, along a smooth sandy beach, having abandoned our little bark canoe, both because it had become nearly unserviceable, and because we knew ourselves to be very near the Rocky Mountains House. In fact, we had not gone above five or six miles when we discerned a column of smoke on the opposite side of the stream. We immediately forded across, and arrived at the post, where we found Messrs. M’Donald, Stuart, and M’Kenzie, who had preceded us only two days.