Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: Archeology of the Old Spanish Trail/ Mormon Road

Archeology of the Old Spanish Trail/ Mormon Road: From Las Vegas, Nevada to the California Border, Bureau of Land Management 1990
I thought this might have something to do with the Mormon Trail.  It doesn’t.  It in fact deals with the trail from Las Vegas to California.  This trail had four major uses.  In 1776 it was first used by pack animal by such men as father Escalante.  The route they took became an exchange route.  Also Father Francisco Garces traversed the Mojave Dessert to San Gabriel in 1776.  Jedediah Smith went this way from Great Salt Lake to California in 1826.  He did not want to go over the Sierras.  John Fremont with a military exploring party went this way in 1844. 
The trail was most widely used for 1848 to 1905 as a route for traveling from Utah to California, especially the Mormon community of San Bernardino in California.  Subsequent to this it was parts of the trail were used locally by farmers, ranchers and miners.  Today parts of the trail are underneath Las Vegas, or a highway.  Other parts are used for off road vehicles.  A small percentage of the trail is still pristine.
The researchers concluded that the trail included springs or wells about every 18 miles apart.  The figured they travelers would go from one source of water to another in a day.  They would then perhaps stay and recruit for a day or two before making the next leg of the journey.  “Travelers consumed fruits and meats from cans and swallowed medicinal or alcoholic beverages from bottles. … A cluster of horseshoes and mule shoes south of Las Vegas Springs indicates that this was a rough section to traverse.  An interesting study, mostly of old bottles and cans; as well as determining if some of the trail would be worth preserving.

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