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Friday, March 29, 1776

Friday, March 29. -- At a quarter past seven I packed up our equipage and sent it back by the same route over which we had come with orders to await me at the arroyo of San Matheo. Then, with a party of five soldiers and my father chaplain, I continued to explore the district which I had not covered to the southeast, and the region which overlooks the estuary that runs to the south and inland from the port. I again went to the lake with the spring which I mentioned yesterday, and likewise to the spring which I called Los Dolores. About half a league from here, to the southeast, there is a wide and long valley with plentiful moisture where more than a hundred and twenty fanegas of wheat can be sown. There is also a little spring of good drinking water which appears not to dry up, because it has a good-sized village which also enjoys a plentiful supply of firewood . From here forward and until I again struck the road which I followed in coming there is nothing noteworthy. But the exploration that has been made on this occasion, in the region where it was prognosticated that there would be the same sterility as at the west of our port mentioned, shows that this region, with the exception of what relates to timber for large beams, is not only fertile but extremely so.

Therefore, this presidio and fort will have an abundance and variety of water, firewood, and building stone . It will not lack a place in which to plant good fields, although somewhat distant, nor pastures for cattle without equal in quality and abundance. And besides enjoying these fine advantages, of which those who have formerly come as far as the mouth of the port have not even had hopes, it will enjoy even more if established at the place already mentioned, where it is narrowest, to mark which I am leaving erected a cross, as I indicated on the 28th. From this place or point to the opposite point we estimate the distance to be a quarter of a league, for it must be this wide, more or less, as is shown by the maps which must have been presented by the officers of the marine who have entered it to explore, and as also will be seen from our own map.

A short time after I reached the road by which we came I left it at my left, with the intention of exploring the valley of San Andrés and the lake of Merced, and other places intermediate between the coast and the estuary, notwithstanding that others have done this at more favorable times and have reported their explorations to his Excellency . For this reason I omit relating them in detail, saying only that this valley has all the favorable circumstances required for the establishment of a mission, which would have the advantage of plentiful crops, both seasonal and with irrigation, as well as plenty of heathen , and would serve as a way-station between Monte Rey and the port of San Francisco.

From this valley, which is distant about four and a half leagues from the port, there can be taken to it on mules , since in these establishments there are as yet no oxen, all the timber, both of pine and redwood as they call it here, as well as live oak , cottonwood, and willow, which may be needed for building, for it abounds in all of these, and the country being level as far as the port would aid in this. Therefore it appears to me that there is nothing to prevent occupying this most famous port at the place where it ought to be occupied. Moreover, any other place where the establishment of the garrison which ought to protect it might be effected, is distant for the purpose and very unhandy.

Night having fallen, at a quarter past six I went down to the arroyo of San Andrés and to another, that of San Matheo, where it descends to empty into the estuary. There I found in our camp nearly all the men of the village, very friendly, content, and joyful, putting themselves out to serve us in every way, a circumstance which I have noted in all the natives seen from the 26th up to now, but one which I had not experienced theretofore since leaving the people of the Colorado River . These whom I am speaking of now are poorer and more miserable than those others, but because they have been described by others who have dealt with them before me, I refrain from speaking of their characteristics. This afternoon it rained for about an hour and a half, although not very heavily. The same afternoon we succeeded in killing with bullets a monstrous bear which came out upon our road, whose very fat flesh was taken advantage of by those who like it. -- From Tubac , returning from the port of San Francisco to the arroyo of San Matheo, 355 1/2 leagues.




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