Near Hesperus in La Plata County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Dominguez and Escalante
Between August and December, 1776, Dominguez and Escalante and a small group of men attempted to find an overland route between the Spanish villages in New Mexico and the Spanish missions in California.
The expedition crossed the La Plata River near what is now Hesperus. On August 10 and 11, 1776, Escalante wrote:
”... we swung west through the valleys of very beautiful timber and abundant pasturage, roses, and various other flowers.... We were not able to move camp because Father Fray Francisco Atanasio awoke very weak.... For this reason we were not able to go to see the veins and metallic stones of the sierra, although they were nearby, as we were assured by a companion who had seen them on another occasion.”
Although Dominguez and Escalante did not reach California, they are recognized as the first Europeans to traverse and map what is now central Utah and cross the mighty Colorado River, (northeast of the Grand Canyon.) Members of the expedition walked or rode horses nearly two thousand miles as they explored a relatively unknown land. Throughout their journey they encountered
(Lower Left Photo Caption)
An 18th Century monstrance used by Franciscan Fathers in what is now California and New Mexico. A monstrance was used to hold the Eucharist during church services.
(Upper Right Map Caption)
Expedition cartographer Bernard Miera Y Pacheco accompanied Dominguez and Escalante and drew this map of the region in 1778.
– Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society
(Lower Right Map Caption)
Dominguez and Escalante followed a route used by Juan Maria de Rivera in 1765. After crossing the Gunnison River, however, they ventured into a land that had never been seen by Europeans.
Erected by Colorado Historical Society and United States Forest Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Dominguez y Escalante Expedition marker series.
Location. 37° 19.54′ N, 108° 7.978′ W. Marker is near Hesperus, Colorado, in La Plata County. Marker is on U.S. 160 0.8 miles west of Cherry Creek Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hesperus CO 81326, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers Dominguez - Escalante Expedition (here, next to this marker); The Old Spanish Trail (here, next to this marker); [Old] Fort Lewis College (approx. 8 miles away).
More about this marker. Marker is an interpretive sign on the San Juan Skyway scenic highway.
Also see . . . Dominguez - Escalante Expedition - Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on February 6, 2014.)
1. Dominguez and Escalante Marker
The marker states, “This project was partially funded by a State Historical Fund award from the Colorado Historical Society and the Federal Highway Administration - National Scenic Byway Program."
— Submitted February 6, 2014.
Categories. • Colonial Era • Exploration •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 6, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 528 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 6, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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