The written history of the Intermountain Region
begins in 1776 with the remarkably accurate diary
of Father Escalante, a Sapnish Franciscan priest.
He and Father Dominguez, together with eight
companions, were the first white men known to
have been here.
On a futile journey, trying to locate a direct route
between Santa Fe, New Mexico, center of Catholic
missionary activities, and the Monterey, California,
recently reestablished Port of Entry for goods
from Spain and southern Mexico, they traversed
most of Utah, east and south fo the Salt Lake
Valley. On the return journey to Santa Fe, they
crossed this divide in October, 1776.
The history of their wanderings over strange
trails, and their missionary work among Indian
tribes, furnishes one of the most impressive
accounts of exploration and heroism in the history
of the West. Their travels extended more than 600
miles over mountains and deserts, without
competent guides or a knowledge of the country
before them, and depending only upon
information and assistance from the Indians, they
endured untold hardship and privation, finally
reaching Santa Fe on January 2, 1777.