Bigger Map
San Rafael
La Contraguia
Cuesta del Susto
La Natividad
Santa Delfina
San Clemente
El Barranco
Arroyo del Cibolo
La Vega de la Cruz
Las Llagas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dominguez and Escalante Journal
Source:
Chavez, A. & Waner, T. (1995) The Dominguez and Escalante Journal,  University of Utah Press, SLC, UT
Disclaimer: Educational Material / Non-Commercial

September 6
We set out toward the west from the river and meadow of San Rafael (which lacks the facilities necessary for a settlement). We traveled downstream half a league, another half through some valleys toward the west-northwest, leaving the river to the south; northwest a quarter of a league and through ravines without stones for a league and a quarter west by westnorthwest. To the west-northwest we went about a mile and then having gone nearly two more leagues west over broken ground with some stones and a great deal of small cactus, we descended to a small valley through which a little river of good water runs. On the bank, near its only cottonwood, we halted at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, sending some companions forward with the pack animals and the loose herd. We made an observation by the meridian and found ourselves in 410 6' and 53" of latitude, and found that in the observation of the previous night there had been no error. We overtook. the others, who having traveled two leagues northwest had stopped. They were disgusted with the guide because, leaving a road which went west upstream and appeared according to reports more direct, he led us by another which, entering a canyon, goes directly north. He said that although that road went north by the canyon it soon turned back toward the west. The companions who knew the Yuta language tried to convince us that the guide Silvestre was leading us by that route either to delay us by winding around so that we could not go on, or to lead us into some ambush by the Sabuaganas who might be awaiting us. In order to make us more distrustful of the guide, they assured us that they had heard many Sabuaganas in the rancheria tell him that he must lead us by a road which did not go to the Lake, and that after he had delayed us for eight or ten days in useless wanderings, he must make us turn back. Although it was not entirely incredible that some of them might have said this, we did not believe that the guide could ever have agreed to it nor even that it had really happened, because up to now none of our companions had told us a thing about it; for at the rancheria they had not neglected to magnify greatly other difficulties, less fearsome and less likely, as well as the fact that in any catastrophe they would risk little less than we. We well knew that if we went to the north we would have to take a more circuitous route. But when Silvestre said he was leading us by that route because on the other there was a very bad hill, we wished to accept his, opinion. But all the companions except Don Joaquin Lain insisted on taking the other road, some because they feared the Cumanches too greatly and without foundation, and some because that route did not conform with their own opinions, which were considerably opposed to ours. Soon a Yuta Sabuagana, one of the most northern, arrived and said the road to the north went up very high. Therefore we had to continue to the west, and having traveled two leagues and crossed another and smaller river we camped on its bank, naming the campsite La Contraguía. - Today seven leagues.

Here were three ranchos of Sabuaganas from which six men came to the camp. Among them there was one who had just come from the land of the Cumanches Yamparicas, whither with four others he had gone to steal horses. He said the Cumanches had withdrawn, and that judging from their trail they were going to the Rio Napeste or to the east. With this report our companions were somewhat encouraged. These Sabuaganas were we would have to make in going up the river in this direction; that the animals would be badly injured, for they were already lame; and that it would be necessary for us to consume many supplies in going to their habitations, we decided to send the interpreter with the guide Atanasio to summon them and to see if any of them or any of the Lagunas would guide us for pay as far as he knew the way. They set forth and the last ones we saw.

September 7
We set out from La Contraguia through a wide valley, and having traveled in it a league to the west we came to a meadow with abundant pasturage. We turned to the northwest in the same valley, and having traveled three leagues we halted for a time so the animals might drink, because we did not know whether we should find water tonight. Afterward we continued in the same direction, and having gone a little more than a quarter of a league we swung to the north-northeast, climbing a grade that was so difficult that we were afraid we could not reach the top, because in addition to being very rugged in places there was not even a trail, and since the soil was very loose the animals could not put their feet down anywhere with safety. The ascent must be about half a league, and at the top there are some benches of very brittle shale where two pack mules lost their footing and rolled down more than twenty varas at the least. But God willed that none of those who were coming behind should be trampled upon and that the mules should not be injured. We climbed the mountain on foot, suffered much fatigue, and had some very great scares, for which reason we called it Cuesta del Susto. On the way up the guide gave us irrefutable proof of his sincerity and his innocence. Having reached the top of the hill we traveled to the north-northwest half a league, descending into a small valley, and camped by a very scanty spring of water," where there was fair pasturage for the animals. We named the campsite La Natividad de Nuestra Señora. - Today a little more than five and a quarter leagues.

September 8
We set out from La Natividad de Nuestra Señora. toward the north, traveled half a league, crossing a permanent arroyo of good water, then ascending a hill which was rugged but without ledges or stones, we struck a trail and better terrain than that of yesterday. Having traveled two and a half leagues northwest through gently sloping hills and some cottonwood groves, we arrived at a high ridge from which the guide Silvestre pointed out to us the sierra on whose northern slope the Cumanches Yamparicas dwell, who are therefore north of the Sabuaganas. And at the point of the same sierra, toward the west of the place from which he pointed it out to us, are his people. We descended from the summit by an extremely long slope, rugged in places but without stones, and with many groves of dwarf oak and chokecherry, which served to prevent the horses from slipping and rolling. We entered a wide canyon with good terrain, and having traveled a league to the north northwest, counting the descent from the summit, we descended by the same canyon to the north a league and a half, and halted in order that the animals might drink, because a goodly amount of water which flows down from here in the bed of the canyon either runs underground or dries up. In the afternoon we continued downstream through the canyon, and having traveled a league to the westnorthwest we camped without water, because the arroyo has none, in a glade with good pasturage which we called Santa Delfina.Today five leagues.

September 9
We set out from the campsite of Santa Delfina down the same canyon, went half a league northwest, then swung north-northwest. Having traveled in the canyon nine leagues in all in this direction, over a very well beaten trail with only one bad stretch which can be avoided by crossing the arroyo a little sooner, and traversing a grove of tall chamise and jara [rockrose] of the kind they call latilla, we emerged from the canyon. Half way down this canyon toward the south there is a very high cliff on which we saw crudely painted three shields or chimales and the blade of a lance. Farther down on the north side we saw another painting which crudely represented two men fighting. For this reason we called this valley Cañon Pintado. It is the only way by which one can go from the summit mentioned to the nearest river, because the rest of the intervening country is very broken and stony. On the same side of this canyon near the exit a vein of metal can be seen, but we did not know the kind or quality, although one companion took one of the stones which roll down from the vein, and when he showed it to us Don Bernardo Miera said it was one of those which the miners call tepustete, and that it was an indication of gold ore. On this matter we assert nothing, nor will we assert anything, because we are not experienced in mines, and because a more detailed examination than the one we were able to make on this occasion is always necessary. Having crossed the canyon we traveled half a league to the northnorthwest, arrived at a river which we called San Clemente, crossed it and camped on its north bank where there is a fairsized meadow of good pasturage. This river is medium-sized, along here runs to the west, and the region adjacent to it does not have advantages for settlement. - Today ten leagues.

September 10
Because, according to the interpreter, the guide declared the next watering place was far distant, and that even if we started early we could not reach it today, we decided to split the journey. And so, after noon we set out from Rio de San Clemente toward the northwest, over hills without stones and small plains without pasturage or trees and of very loose earth, and having traveled a league we swung west-northwest for two leagues, over terrain almost level but with many dry arroyos and ravines. Because night was now coming on, and in the darkness the terrain was impassable and dangerous, we camped in the bed of an arroyo which we called El Barranco. In it there was neither water nor pasturage and so it was necessary to watch the animals and keep them corraled all night. From the river to this place we traveled in a straight line and without a trail, because although there are several, they are trails of the buffalo which come down to winter in this region. - Today three leagues.

September 11
As soon as it was daylight we set out from El Barranco toward the west-northwest, and having traveled a league and a half through arroyos and ravines, some of them deeper than those of yesterday, we found in one of them a small spring of water from which the animals were unable to drink. We continued west-northwest for a league, climbing to a ridge by a good and not very high ascent, and from it traveled three leagues over good country with fair pasturage. In the distance we saw a cottonwood grove and asked Silvestre if the watering place to which he was leading us was there. He said "No," that this was an arroyo, not a river, but that it might have water now. Thereupon we went toward it and found plenty of running water for ourselves and for the animals, which were now very much fatigued from thirst and hunger, and a pack mule was so worn out that it was necessary to remove the pack which it carried. To reach the arroyo we swung half a league to the north. - Today six leagues.

A short distance from the ravine we saw a recent buffalo trail. In the plain we saw it again where it was fresher, and observed that it ran in the same direction in which we were going. By now we were short of supplies because we had found it necessary to travel so far and because of what we had distributed among the Sabuaganas and the other Yutas. And so, a little before reaching the arroyo two companions turned aside to follow this trail. A little after midday one of them returned, telling us that he had found the buffalo. We despatched others on the swiftest horses and having chased it more than three leagues they killed it, and at half past seven at night returned with a large supply of meat, much more than comes from a large bull of the common variety. In order to prevent the heat from spoiling it for us, and at the same time to refresh the animals, we did not travel on the 12th, but camped at this place, which we named Arroyo del Cibolo. Tonight it rained for several hours.

September 13
About eleven o'clock in the morning we set out from Arroyo del Cíbolo through the plain which lies at the foot of a small sierra which the Yutas and Lagunas call Sabuagari. It extends from east to west and its white cliffs can be seen from the high hills which are reached before Cañon Pintado. Having traveled two leagues and three-quarters to the west, we arrived at the watering place known to the guide. It is a small spring at the foot of the sierra, almost at its western extremity. We continued in the same direction for a quarter of a league along a well beaten trail near which, toward the south, rise two large springs of fine water, a musket shot apart, which we named Las Fuentes de Santa Clara and whose moisture produces much good pasturage in the small plain to which they descend and in which they disappear. From here we traveled a league northwest over the same trail and crossed an arroyo which comes from the plain of Las Fuentes, and in which there were large pools of water. From here downstream there is much good pasturage in its bed, which is wide and level. We again crossed the arroyo, ascended some low hills which were stony in places, and after traveling two leagues to the northwest we arrived at a large river which we called San Buenaventura. - Today six leagues.

This Rio de San Buenaventura is the largest river we have crossed, and is the same one which Fray Alonso de Posada, who in the century was custodian of this Custodia of New Mexico, says in a report, divides the Yuta nation from the Cumanche, according to the data which he gives and according to the distance which he places it from Santa Fé. And in fact, on the northeast and the north it is the boundary between these two nations. Its course along here is west-southwest; farther up it runs west to this place. It is joined by San Clemente River, but we do not know whether this is true of the previous streams. Here it has meadows abounding in pasturage and good land for raising crops, with facilities for irrigation. It must be somewhat more than a league wide and its length may reach five leagues. The river enters this meadow between two high cliffs which, after forming a sort of corral, come so close together that one can scarcely see the opening through which the river comes. According to our guide, one can not cross from one side to the other except by the only ford which there is in this vicinity. This is toward the west of the northern crest and very close to a chain of hills of loose earth, some of them lead colored and others yellow. The ford is stony and in it the water does not reach to the shoulder blades of the horses, whereas in every other place we saw they can not cross without swimming. We halted on its south bank about a mile from the ford, naming the camp La Vega de Santa Cruz. We observed the latitude by the north star and found ourselves in 410 19' latitude.

September 14
We did not travel today, remaining here in order that the animals, which were now somewhat worn out might regain their strength. Before noon the quadrant was set up to repeat the observation by the sun, and we found ourselves no higher than 40° 59' and 24". We concluded that this discrepancy might come from the declination of the needle here, and to ascertain this we left the quadrant fixed until night for the north stands on the meridian of the needle. As soon as the north or polar star was discovered, the quadrant being in the meridian mentioned, we observed that the needle swung to the northeast. Then we again observed the latitude by the polar star and found ourselves in the same 410 19' as on the previous night. In this place there are six large black cottonwoods which have grown in pairs attached to one another and they are the nearest to the river. Near them is another one standing alone, on whose trunk, on the side facing northwest, Don Joaquin Lain with an adz cleared a small space in the form of a rectangular window, and with a chisel carved on it the letters and numbers of this inscription-"The Year 1776"-and lower down in different letters "LAIN"-with two crosses at the sides, the larger one above the inscription and the smaller one below it.

Here we succeeded in capturing another buffalo, smaller than the first, although we could use little of the meat because the animal had been overtaken late and very far from the camp. It happened also this morning that the Laguna, Joaquin, as a prank mounted a very fiery horse. While galloping across the meadow, the horse caught his forefeet in a hole and fell, throwing the rider a long distance. We were frightened, thinking that the Laguna had been badly hurt by the fall because when he had recovered from his fright, he wept copious tears. But God was pleased that the only damage was that done to the horse which completely broke its neck, leaving it useless.

September 15
We did not travel today either for the reasons indicated above.

September 16
We set out from the Vega de Santa Cruz on Rio de San Buenaventura, ascended about a mile toward the north, arrived at the ford, and crossed the river. Then we turned west, and having traveled a league along the north bank and meadow of the river, we crossed another small stream which comes down from the northwest and entered it by the same meadow. We swung south-southwest for a league and crossed another small stream, a little larger than the first, which descends from the same northwesterly direction and enters the river. From both of them canals can be made with which to irrigate the land on this bank, which also is very good for crops, although it will not be possible to bring the waters of the Rio Grande to them. We continued to the southwest leaving the river which swings to the south through some hills and ravines which were stony in places. We descended to a dry arroyo by a high and very stony ridge, whose slope on the other side is not so bad. As soon as we reached the top we found a trail, one or two days old, of about a dozen horses and some people on foot, and on examining the vicinity, indications were found that on the highest part of the hill they had been lying in ambush or spying for some time without turning their horses loose. We suspected they might be some Sabuaganas who had followed us to steal the horseherd in this place, where it would be likely that we would attribute the deed to the Cumanches rather than to the Yutas, since we were now in the land of the former not the latter. Besides this, it gave us strong grounds for suspecting the guide Silvestre, because the preceding night he casually and without being noticed went off from the camp a short distance to sleep. During the whole journey he had not worn the cloak that we gave him, but today he left the campsite with it, not taking it off during the whole day, and we suspected that he, having come to an understanding with the Sabuaganas, put it on so that he could be recognized in case they attacked us. Our suspicions were increased when he stopped for a time before reaching the peak where we found the tracks, as if thoughtful and confused, wishing first to go along the banks of the river and then to lead us through here. We gave him no indications of our suspicion, dissimulating it entirely, and in the course of our march he gave us emphatic proofs of his innocence. We continued here along the same trail, descended again to the Rio de San Buenaventura and saw that the people who made the trail had stayed a long time in the leafy grove and meadow which is situated here. We continued on the trail through the meadow, crossed some low hills, and camped in another meadow with good pasturage on the bank of the river, naming the campsite Las Llagas de Nuestro Padre San Francisco. We traveled through the hills, canyons, peaks, and meadows mentioned six leagues to the southwest, and in the whole day's march eight leagues.

As soon as we halted two companions followed the trail southwest to explore the terrain hereabouts and concluded that the Indians had been Cumanches.

September 17
We set out from the meadow of Las Llagas de Nuestro Padre San Francisco toward the southwest, ascended some low hills, and having traveled a league, we left the trail we were following, along which the tracks of the people on foot and of the horses continued. Silvestre told us that they were Cumanches who were going in pursuit of the Yutas, whom they had perhaps learned about while hunting buffalo. We were convinced that this was the case, both because of the direction in which they were traveling and on account of other signs they left. We crossed a dry arroyo, ascended a hill, and having traveled a league and a half to the west over good terrain, dry and almost level, we came to a high ridge from which the guide pointed out to us the junction of the rivers San Clemente and San Buenaventura which, now joined, ran south from this place. We descended to the plain and a large meadow of another river, and having traveled another league and a half to the west we arrived at the junction of two medium-sized streams. These come down from the nearby sierra north of the Rio de San Buenaventura and now being joined flow eastward across the plain until they unite with the Rio de San Buenaventura. The more eastern of the two streams, before reaching the junction, runs southeast, and we called it Rio de San Damián; the other runs to the east and we called it Rio de San Cosme. We continued up the latter stream, and having traveled a league to the west we saw near its banks the ruins of a very old pueblo, where three were fragments of metates, jars, and jugs made of clay. The pueblo was circular in form, judging from the ruins, which are now almost completely leveled to the ground. We turned southwest through the plain which lies between the two rivers, ascended some hills of loose stone, very troublesome for the animals, which were now sorefooted. We descended to another meadow of Rio de San Cosme, and having traveled southwest half a league and west a league and a half through this meadow, we camped in it, naming it Ribera de San Cosme." - Today eight leagues.

A little after crossing we saw columns of smoke at the foot of the sierra, and asking the guide who he thought had sent them up, he said they might be Cumanches, or some Lagunas who were accustomed to range through here hunting.
 

Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the Uintah Basin Teaching American History (UB-TAH.)  We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Please, let us know if you find inappropriate information.

    DISCLAIMER: UINTAH BASIN TEACHING AMERICAN HISTORY
EDUCATION MATERIAL/NON-COMMERCIAL
UB-TAH©2006