Portola Expedition: Saturday, October 28, 1769

heading North to Pilarcitos Creek
California Historical Landmark No. 21
Califronia Registered Landmark - 21 - Mouth of Pilarcitos Creek

photo by: Drew Hendricks

Gaspar de Portolá

We travelled for two hours near the ocean. We halted in a gully where there was sufficient water and pasture. Here we had to remain for one day on account of the rain.

Miguel Costansó

We proceeded for two leagues along the coast over a road similar to that of the preceding day's march, and in the same direction. We halted near another stream in the vicinity of the beach. The place was without firewood. Many natives came to our camp, but most of them were from the villages which we had left behind, people who wander over all this land, which is mostly uninhabited. To the northwest of the camp there was a high point of land which terminated in the sea, and in front of it were two large sharp-pointed rocks of very irregular shape.

We did not know what to think of the indications: we were already above 37° 20' north latitude, without being certain whether we were distant from or near Monterey. We experienced frequent rains; our provisions were running short; we had our men reduced to the simple daily ration of five tortillas made of flour and bran; we had neither rain nor meat the four packages that remained were reserved for the sick. It was resolved to kill the mules in order to provide rations for the soldiers, but they put off this expedient until a time of greater need, as, now and then, they would kill some ducks, and as all very willingly ate the pinole and seeds which they obtained from the natives, but only in small quantities.

To our greater misfortune, our commander became sick, as well as the captain of the presidio. The indisposition and disorder of the bowels was very general and affected nearly all of us, and the author of this record did not entirely escape from it. But as there is no bad from which good does not come, it is also true that this was what principally brought about the relief and improvement of the sick. The change of season, the cessation of the northwest winds and the fogs, and the beginning of the land breezes, which blew after the rainy season, contributed to the same result. The swellings, and the contraction of the limbs, which made the sick like cripples, disappeared little by little. At the same time their pains left them, and all symptoms of scurvy disappeared: their mouths became clean, their gums solid, and their teeth firmly fixed.

Fray Juan Crespi

On this day of the Holy Apostles San Simon and San Judas, after we two had said Mass, we set out about ten in the morning, traveling near the beach and over low mesas of good land, although all the grass had been burned. We traveled about two leagues in two hours and a half, and came to a large arroyo near the beach which carries a good volume of running water, halting on its bank. During the entire march the country has been bare of trees, and only behind a mountain range where we saw a higher one are there to be seen some groves, which they say are pines. From the camp a very long point of land which runs out into the sea is visible; at the end of it there is a great deal of low land, with many large rocks, which at this distance appear to be Farallones, and which stretch to the west. The four heathen from the village of our Father Santo Domingo, who are following us and serving as guides, tell us that near that point there is a good village of heathen. These four wished us to camp there, and I wished it as much as they did, in order to see the place and the poor unfortunates who live in it; but we could not do so, as it was late and the men were very tired. I named this arroyo The Holy Apostles San Simon and San Judas. In this place there are many geese, and for this reason the soldiers named it the plain of Los Ansares.* From the camp the above-named point lies to the north-northwest, and the high rocks look like two thick Farallones of an irregular and pointed shape. On seeing these indications we did not know what to think. We believed that we were now in latitude thirty-seven degrees and a half, without being able to say whether we were distant from or near to the port of Monterey. Every little while it rained on us, and the men were downcast and reduced to only five tortillas a day, made of flour mixed with bran. No grain remained, and only a little meat which was reserved for the sick. They talked of killing mules for the healthy ones to eat, but the soldiers refused to accept this relief until the last extremity. The commander, as a consolation for their misfortunes, fell ill; the captain continued to suffer from his sickness; and many were afflicted with a diarrhea which prostrated them. However, it appears that this trouble was remedial, for with it they felt relieved of the greater ill from which many were suffering, the scurvy, which had made even greater ravages on those who had come in the ships, and they were relieved without any other medicine than the new disorder of the diarrhea. They were undoubtedly improving, for by this means nature was discharging the humors which had caused the epidemics. The change of weather contributed to it, also the cessation of the northwest winds, the benefit of the rains, and the beginning of land breezes, which no doubt purified the air that was so noxious to us, for they immediately perceived that the swelling in their legs went down. The acute pains which they had previously felt in all their limbs and which had kept them constantly groaning, ceased, and the swelling of the gums diminished, so that they took some consolation and hope of soon recovering entirely.

October 27 To Purisima Creek (SRL 22).
October 29 Day two at Pilarcitos Creek (SRL 21).

Portola Expedition 1769 Diaries