The Dominguez-Escalante expedition traveled through eastern Utah in 1776, roughly following the path of today's Hwy 40. On our rides, we've taken note of many of the creeks and springs that this group of Spanish padres recorded. (Escalante was the scribe for the trip, and has since had his name attached to a Utah river, town, and national monument. Dominguez, the expedition leader, has his name attached to nothing, strangely enough. The moral of the story: it pays to be the one who records history, because the scribe shall inherit the names.)
A Ute Indian guide led the expedition through one of the Utes' favorite hunting grounds, a beautiful valley that has since been dammed into what is now known as Strawberry Reservoir. At the time, a river ran through the valley, but there was no lake. Escalante named the series of green meadows Valle de la Purisima, translated as Valley of the Purest, or Valley of the Virgin. Too bad we'll never see those meadows because modern man's lust for water has taken it over. (The 3.5 mile Strawberry Tunnel, 7 feet in diameter, penetrates through the mountains to bring this water to the Wasatch Front - Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.)
Next post, I'll tell you about our ride: the fishing, the horses, the sheep.
Hey, what's up with this sign?