National Geographic : 1901 Mar
THE OLD in several directions, sifted the local lore of waterpockets in the rocks and coyote holes in the sandwashes, and traced the routes of both prehistoric and present travel, it seems clear that Diaz' detach ment worked northwestward to the Horcacitas and on to Rio San Ignacio, and thence across the plains to Sonoyta, where he must have watered and rested before pushing forward by way of the high waterpockets (Tinajas Altas) to the great " River of Good Guidance " (Rio de Bono Guia, an early name of the Colorado) ; and it must have been by the same route that the leaderless party returned in January, 154r. With this expedition the third chap ter in the history of the Yuma trail ends abruptly; for,through the most astound ing blunder of American geography, the memory of Diaz and the records of Alar con and his predecessor, Ulloa, dropped out of mind for more than a century and a half,during which the Californias were mapped as a great island in the Pacific. THE JESUITS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS. Toward the close of the seventeenth century the era of Jesuit missionizing in Papagueria opened, and not long after Padre Kino and his colleagues struck the tribesmen's trail from Baboquivari to Sonoyta ; and it was in 170r that Kino pushed westward, necessarily by way of Tinajas Altas (which he was the first to map), and rediscovered Rio Colo rado, thereby puncturing the bubble of fictitious geography. The good padres were ideal pioneers ; wherever the Indian trails led, there they followed; and wherever an Indian settle ment was found, there they erected crosses and sought converts. To them the Place of Corn on the slender rivulet was a fertile field. Some fifteen miles down the sandwash from the principal village they found a smaller settlement gathered about a spring of whitish water seeping from potash-bearing granites, YUMA TRAIL IO5 for which they adopted the native name House-ring Spring* (Quitobac), and they set their wooden cross midway be tween the two settlements and called the place Santo Domingo. As missionizing proceeded, routes of travel were opened from tribe-range to tribe-range; and in the course of a few decades the hard trail from Culiacan (or Ures, or Chihuahua, or Fronteras) to Santo Domingo, and thence to the Yuma country on the Colorado and on to the missions of California, became an estab lished route of travel and communica tion. The palmiest days of the Yuma trail rose and set in the century 1740 1840. It was trodden by adventurers too poor to ride, yet too plucky to stay ; it was beaten by hoofs bearing churchly equipage and royal commissions and vice-regal reports too precious to be en trusted to the crude craft then plying the Pacific; it was furrowed by the huge hewn-log wheels of Mexican carts carry ing families a few miles a day, and later by the iron tires of prairie schooners and primitive stages ; its borders were tram pled by stock driven out to enrich the distant province of Alta California ; and its course was marked by the pitiful mile stones of solitary graves, each with its cruciform heap of pebbles. During this period the hard route was dubbed " El Camino del Diablo ; " and it formed (al ternatively with the easier but much * The typical Papago house is of hemispher ical shape and made of grass thatch attached to a framework of mesquite saplings and aka tilla stems; it is called ki or key. The first stage in building is the erection of a first course of thatch in the form of a vertical ring 12 or 15 feet in diameter ; this may be occupied for weeks or months before the upper courses are added to complete the walls and forming the roof ; it is called ki-to. Bac is one of several Papago terms for water or watering place, and is applied specifically to springs. When the missionaries found a larger Papago settlement about a series of mineral springs 30 miles south of Sonoyta, also called Quitobac. they applied a Spanish diminutive to the first found village, and ever since it has been known as Quitoba quito.