Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert Visit us on Facebook -- Desert Gazette -- Desert Link
Introduction:: Nature:: Map:: Points of Interest:: Roads & Trails:: People & History:: Ghosts & Gold:: Communities:: BLOG:: :?:: glossary
Search for a Southern Route


Map of the journeys of Father Francisco Garces

More than fifty years passed before the task was taken up by another missionary, Father Francisco Garces, a Franciscan. Cast in Kino's mold and stationed at the southern Arizona mission of San Xavier del Bac, which Kino had founded, Garces made five journeys during his short thirteen-year ministry in the Pimeria that earned for him a reputation as one of the greatest explorers in the history of the American West.

Garces's first two journeys were missionary ventures designed to strengthen the influence of the church as far as the Gila River, but the third expedition was more important as a step toward opening a trail to California. Convinced by the successes of his first two trips that the tribes he had visited were ready for conversion, Garces set out in 1771 to select the best sites for new missions. He traveled from San Xavier to the Gila, then down that stream. Because the Gila was swollen by recent rains, he failed to recognize the confluence with the Colorado, so he continued downstream toward the gulf. Finally deciding that the Colorado lay westward, the padre crossed the river, still thinking he was on the Gila.

In search of the Colorado, Garces, now on the California side of the river, made two treks into the desert. Both times, he started with Indian guides ; both times, his guides deserted him. How far he penetrated on these solitary journeys is not known. On the second, he came in sight of a range of mountains and saw two passes through it, but he despaired of going on and turned back.

Though he was lost part of the time, Garces unknowingly had pioneered a new trail from the Colorado toward the Spanish California coastal settlements. The principal significance of his third expedition was its effect on the fruition of another exploration from the Pimeria Alta just three years later which would reach the California coast.

Previous - Next

Fr. Francisco Garces

On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer

Introduction:: Nature:: Map:: Points of Interest:: Roads & Trails:: People & History:: Ghosts & Gold:: Communities:: BLOG:: :?:: glossary
Country Life Realty
Wrightwood, Ca.
Mountain Hardware
Wrightwood, Ca.
Canyon Cartography
Links to Desert Museums

Grizzly Cafe
Family Dining

Custom Search

Abraxas Engineering
These items are historical in scope and are intended for educational purposes only; they are not meant as an aid for travel planning.
Copyright ©Walter Feller. 1995-2023 - All rights reserved.