Portola Expedition: Monday, November 6, 1769

To San Francisquito Creek in Menlo Park
California Historical Marker No. 2, Portola Journey's End
El Palo Alto

PHS WEB 51ElPaloAlto.jpg

Gaspar de Portolá


We travelled, skirting the shore of this arm of the sea or port and halted in a level place, thickly grown with oak trees, having many lagoons and swamps, and surrounded by many villages from which there came out to meet us one hundred and twenty natives. Here we had much water and pasture.

Miguel Costansó


Without leaving this canyon we marched, in the same direction, for three more leagues over pleasanter land, more thickly covered with savins, white oaks, and live-oaks loaded with acorns. Two very numerous bands of Indians met us on the road with presents of pinole and some large trays of white atole, which supplied in large measure the needs of our men. These natives requested us earnestly to go to their villages, offering to entertain us well; they were disappointed because we would not yield to their solicitations. Some of the men asked them various questions by means of signs, in order to obtain from them information they desired, and they were very well satisfied with the grimaces and the ridiculous and vague gestures with which the natives responded a pantomime from which, truly, one could understand very little, and the greater part of the men understood nothing. Meanwhile we arrived at the end of the canyon where the hilly country, which extended to our left and lay between us and the estuary, terminated. At the same time the hills on our right turned towards the east, and closed the valley which contained the waters of the estuary. We likewise directed our course to the east. We proceeded for a short stretch in this direction, and halted on the bank of a deep stream which descended from the mountain range, and flowed precipitately to the calm waters of the estuary.

Fray Juan Crespi


At nine in the morning we set out from the camp, following the same valley. We traveled through it for another three and a half leagues, through very charming country, more thickly grown with redwoods, live oaks, and oaks loaded with acorns. Two numerous villages of heathen came to meet us with demonstrations of great pleasure, bringing us a good present of pinole, black tamales, and porridge made of acorns, which relieved in part the hunger of the men, who were reduced, as I have already said, to only five tortillas a day. The heathen invited us to go and camp in their villages, saying they would feed us. The commander excused himself, saying we had to go on. They were very sorry at this, and although they were given some beads, they still showed sadness and regret because we did not accept the invitation. We followed the valley till we came to the end of it. Here terminate the hills which we have had on our left hand between us and the estuary. At the same time the mountains on the right hand, which with the hills form the valley by which we came, and which was called Nuestro Padre San Francisco, suddenly turn to the east, and enclose the estuary in a spacious valley. We traveled a little farther in the same direction, and in a short time halted on the bank of an arroyo whose waters descend from the mountains and run precipitously to this estuary.



November 5 To campsite, now under Upper Crystal Springs Resevoir
November 7 Day two at San Francisquito Creek
Portola Expedition 1769 Diaries