Deserters from the army were the first Spanish to enter the Mojave Desert. They were
rumored to be living with the small bands of Indians living in the western Mojave.
an officer whose destiny was to become the first Governor of California, was placed in charge
of a detail to track these criminals down. He left the presidio of San Diego and rode north
through the San Bernardino Valley and into the
He followed along the edge of the
desert at the northern base of the Sierra Madre and then through the
and over the Tehachapis and into the immense San Joaquin Valley beyond. He never found them.
Padre Francisco Garces
was the first Anglo to enter the interior of the Mojave. In 1776 he
traveled from the Mojave village near what is now
on an Indian trail up Piute Creek
and on toward
His journal tells of traveling across Soda Lake and up the
Mojave River. His route, used by the Mojave for trade, became
known as the Mojave Indian Trail.
Spanish names in Mojave History