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Diario del Viage que Haze por tierra D. Gaspar de Portola, manuscript, 1769

Exhibit item:
Diario del Viage que Haze por tierra D. Gaspar de Portolá, manuscript, 1769

In 1769, Gaspar de Portolá led an expedition north from San Diego in search of the port of Monterey described 170 years earlier by Sebastian Vizcaíno. With him were cartographer Miguel Costanso, Father Juan Crespi and Pedro Fagés, commander of ill and weakened troops. The group had respite from hunger when grizzlies were killed for food in what is now Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County. This was the first time that California grizzlies heard and felt gunfire.

The Narrative of the Portolá Expedition of 1769-1770, translation by Adolph van Hemert-Engert and Frederick J. Teggart, 1910

"Saturday, September 2. - In the afternoon as they had seen many traces of bears, six soldiers went out hunting on horseback, and succeeded in shooting one. It was an enormous animal: it measured fourteen palms from the sole of its feet to the top of its head; its feet were more than a foot long; and it must have weighed over 375 pounds. We ate the flesh and found it savory and good."

Pedro Fagésí diary entry for the same date includes a different description.

in Documents, An Historical, Political and Natural Description of California, 1919. Translation by Herbert I. Priestley

"In this canyon were seen whole troops of bears; they have the ground all plowed up from digging in it to find their sustenance in the roots which the land produces. They are ferocious brutes, hard to hunt; they attack the hunter with incredible quickness and courage, [so that] he can only escape on a swift horse. They do not give up unless they are shot either in the head or in the heart. The canyon was named the Cañada del Oso."

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