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Expanded Diary of Pedro Font
2/23/1776

Friday, February 23.—I said Mass. We set out from Agua Escondida at eight o'clock in the morning, and at half past six in the afternoon arrived at the Santa Clara River, having traveled some fifteen leagues, three to the west-southwest, five to the west, one to the northwest in order to reach the long grade [Footnote 240] and finally, having descended the slope, some six west to the river. [Footnote 241] —Fifteen leagues.

The road in parts is level, and in parts one goes up and down the ridges until one reaches the long grade, from which one sees the sea and the first islands of the Channel of Santa Barbara. Descending this ridge, one finishes crossing the range which, as I said yesterday, extends from the Sierra Madre and ends at the sea. Then one enters a plain extending more than five leagues to the river and beyond. The range has many oaks and live oaks and other trees, and likewise some watering places, like those of E1 Triunfo and Los Conejos, and in it we saw four small villages. The camp site is somewhat lacking in firewood and the river is very miry and bad when it rises, but is was now low. Near it there was a fairly large village whose Indians had fish, because it is near the sea; and on the river there were many geese, ducks, cranes, and other fowl. We saw in the plain a very large drove of antelopes which, as soon as they saw us, fled like the wind, looking like a cloud skimming along the earth.

In the course of today we saw several Indians, all unarmed and naked. The women were very cautious and hardly a one left their huts, because the soldiers of Monterey, since they were not married, had offended them with various excesses which the unbridling of their passions caused them to commit with them. This shyness I observed in all the villages of the Channel. At the foot of the Cuesta Grande, near a small village, there is a spring of water like a well; and at twelve paces from it there is a good-sized spring of asphalt [Footnote 242] which rises right there, and I learned afterward that near the mission of San Gabriel there is another one. At sunset a very thick fog arose from the sea, with which the day ended very much clouded over, and the night was very dark. This matter of the fog is very common and continuous on those seas and coasts, but it is not injurious.



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