Famed adventure writer David Roberts re-creates the extraordinary 1,700-mile journey of the eighteenth-century Domínguez-Escalante scouting expedition.
In late July 1776, fathers Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Francisco Vélez de Escalante set out from Santa Fe to chart a route to the new Spanish missions in California. The Fransiscans planned to scout the country for mineral wealth and locate the Ute and Navajo tribes for conversion. In present- day Utah, however, the dangers of starvation and hypothermia forced them to turn back. By November the friars were reduced to survival mode: stymied by the raging Colorado River, they had to kill their horses for food. At last they succeeded in fording the river at a place later known as “Crossing of the Fathers.”
In this adventure- history, David Roberts travels the Spaniards’ forgotten route, using Escalante’s first- person report as his guide. Blending personal and historical narrative, he relives the glories, catastrophes, and courage of this desperate journey.
David Roberts is the award-winning author of twenty-nine books about mountaineering, exploration, and anthropology. His most recent publication, Alone on the Wall, was written with world-class rock climber Alex Honnold, whose historic feats were featured in the film Free Solo.