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THE BAD PASS.

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to entertain doubts that Fitzpatrick and his trappers, who kept profound silence as to their future movements, intended to hunt the same grounds which he had selected for his autumnal campaign; which lay to the west of the Horn river, on its tributary streams. In the course of his march, therefore, he secretly detached a small party of trappers, to make their way to those hunting grounds, while he continued on with the main body; appointing a rendezvous at the next full moon, about the 28th of August, at a place called the Medicine lodge.

On reaching the second chain, called the Bighorn mountains, where the river forced its impetuous way through a precipitous defile, with cascades and rapids, the travellers were obliged to leave its banks, and traverse the mountains by a rugged and frightful route, emphatically called the "Bad Pass."

Descending the opposite side, they again

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made for the river banks; and about the middle of August, reached the point below the rapids, where the river becomes navigable for boats. Here Captain Bonneville detached a second party of trappers, consisting of ten men, to seek and join those whom he had detached while on the route; appointing for them the same rendezvous (at the Medicine lodge), on the 28th of August.

All hands now set to work to construct "bull boats," as they are technically called; a light, fragile kind of bark, characteristic of the expedients and inventions of the wilderness; being formed of Buffalo skins, stretched on frames. They are sometimes, also, called skin boats. Captain Wyeth was the first ready; and with his usual promptness and hardihood, launched his frail bark, singly, on this wild and hazardous voyage, down an almost interminable succession of rivers, winding through countries teeming

BULL BOATS-EMBARKÅTION.

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with savage hordes. Milton Sublette, his former fellow-traveller, and his companion in the battle-scenes of Pierre's Hole, took passage in his boat. His crew consisted of two white men, and two Indians.

We shall hear further of the adventurous captain, and his wild voyage, in the course of our wanderings about the far west.

The remaining parties soon completed their several armaments. That of Captain Bonneville was composed of three bull boats, in which he embarked all his peltries, giving them in charge of Mr. Cerré, with a party of thirty-six men. Mr. Campbell took command of his own boats, and the little squadrons were soon gliding down the bright current of the Bighorn.

The secret precautions which Captain Bonneville had taken, to throw his men first into the trapping ground west of the Bighorn, were, probably, superfluous. It did not appear that

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BULL BOATS-EMBARKATION.

Fitzpatrick had intended to hunt in that direction. The moment Mr. Campbell and his men embarked with the peltries, Fitzpatrick took charge of all the horses, amounting to above a hundred, and struck off to the east, to trap upon Littlehorn, Powder, and Tongue rivers. He was accompanied by Captain Stewart, who was desirous of having a range about the Crow country. Of the adventures they met with in that region of vagabonds and horse-stealers, we shall have something to relate hereafter.

Captain Bonneville being now left to prose

cute his trapping campaign without rivalry, set out, on the 17th of August, for the rendezvous at Medicine lodge. He had but four men remaining with him, and forty-six horses to take care of: with these he had to make his way over mountain and plain, through a marauding, horse-stealing region, full of peril for a numerous cavalcade so slightly manned. He

A CLOUD OF SMOKE.

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addressed himself to his difficult journey, however, with his usual alacrity of spirit.

There

In the afternoon of his first day's journey, on drawing near to the Bighorn mountain, on the summit of which he intended to encamp for the night, he observed, to his disquiet, a cloud of smoke rising from its base. He came to a halt, and watched anxiously. It was very irregular ; sometimes it would almost die away, and then would mount up in heavy volumes. was, apparently, a large party encamped there; probably some ruffian horde of Blackfeet. At any rate, it would not do for so small a number of men, with so numerous a cavalcade, to venture within sight of any wandering tribe. Captain Bonneville and his companions, therefore, avoided this dangerous neighbourhood; and, proceeding with extreme caution, reached the summit of the mountain, apparently without being discovered.

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