Thursday, August 3, 1769
To La Cienega Park, on La Cienega Blvd. between Olympic Blvd. and Gregory Way.
California Registered Landmark - 665 -Portola Trail Campsite (No. 2)



Gaspar de Portolá
The 3rd, we proceeded for three hours on a good road; to the right of it were extensive swamps of bitumen which is called chapapote. We debated whether this substance, which flows melted from underneath the earth, could occasion so many earthquakes. We had much pasture, water, and an abundance of antelope and deer. Here the inhabitants of a village of about thirty natives appeared at our camp; they gave us presents and we made them a suitable return.

Miguel Costansó
We forded the Río de la Porciúncula, which descends with great rapidity from the canyon through which it leaves the mountains and enters the plain. We directed our course to the west-southwest over high level ground and after a march of three leagues, we reached the watering-place, to which we gave the name of the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos. This was a large spring situated in a marshy place where there stood some alder trees of very large girth; the marsh was covered with grass, fragrant plants, and watercress. Hence the water flowed through a deep ditch towards the southwest. All the country that we saw on this day's march appeared to us most suitable for the production of all kinds of grain and fruits. On our way we met the entire population of an Indian village engaged in harvesting seeds on the plain. In the afternoon there were other earthquakes; the frequency of them amazed us. Someone was convinced that there were large volcanoes in the mountain range that lay in front of us extending towards the west. We found sufficient indications of this on the road that lies between the Río de la Porciúncula and the Ojo de Agua de los Alisos, as the scouts saw, adjoining the mountains, some large swamps of a certain material like pitch which was bubbling up.

Fray Juan Crespi
At half-past six we left the camp and forded the Porciuncula River, which runs down from the valley, flowing through it from the mountains into the plain. After crossing the river we entered a large vineyard of wild grapes and an infinity of rosebushes in full bloom. All the soil is black and loamy, and is capable of producing every kind of grain and fruit which may be planted. We went west, continually over good land well covered with grass. After traveling about half a league we came to the village of this region, the people of which, on seeing us, came out into the road. As they drew near us they began to howl like wolves; they greeted us and wished to give us seeds, but as we had nothing at hand in which to carry them we did not accept them. Seeing this, they threw some handfuls of them on the ground and the rest in the air. We traveled over another plain for three hours, during which we must have gone as many leagues. In the same plain we came across a grove of very large alders, high and thick, from which flows a stream of water about a buey in depth. The banks were grassy and covered with fragrant herbs and watercress. The water flowed afterwards in a deep channel towards the southwest.(1) All the land that we saw this morning seemed admirable to us. We pitched camp near the water. This afternoon we felt new earthquakes, the continuation of which astonishes us. We judge that in the mountains that run to the west in front of us there are some volcanoes, for there are many signs on the road which stretches between the Porciuncula River and the Spring of the Alders, for the explorers saw some large marshes of a certain substance like pitch; they were boiling and bubbling, and the pitch came out mixed with an abundance of water.(2) They noticed that the water runs to one side and the pitch to the other, and that there is such an abundance of it that it would serve to caulk many ships. This place where we stopped is called the Spring of the Alders of San Estevan.

(1) Ballona Creek. The spring is now covered and the creek is channelized. The historic marker at La Cienega Park is perhaps near the original location. La Cienega is Spanish for "a marshy place".
(2) La Brea Tar Pits

August 2 To Los Angeles River
August 4 To the grounds of University High School, West Los Angeles (SRL 522).