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the northeasterly air-drift; then rather suddenly so quickly that prompt action was required to protect the wagon as the stock turned tail-the wind stiffened without changing direction, while the shower became a torrent; and ten minutes later a 35-mile gale was driving the drops in a nearly horizontal sheet above the dune tops, while the temperature fell from some 70° to about 35°, and small hailstones formed apparently within a dozen feet of the ground. Ten minutes more and the gale was down to a breeze, the torrent to a sprinkle; then the rearward margin of the cloudbank drifted away before the continuing breeze, and the low-swinging sun shone brightly. The cloud-mass pursued its way toward Sierra Pinta, evidently meeting a misty cape already hung about its shoulders; with the conjunction there was much lightning and some audible thunder; then the vaporbank spread along the range, and either melted away or drifted on northeastward. During the twenty minutes of continuous pour the precipitation was 14 or 13 inches (estimated from catchment in water-pail, etc.); yet over the waste of drifted sand not a rill was formed, not a puddle was produced, not even a watery surface was seen save in the few "slick spots" (i. e., alkaline silt patches) of the cowboys—the sand simply swallowed the flood like a sponge, and was visibly moist only to depths of 3 to 4 inches.

The storm over, the outfit heads again toward the distant pass, though Moberly lifts his voice to tender (thrice over, in typical cowboy emphasis) a "bet that them there fellers let the mules break the tongue when the storm come up on em;" and a half hour later the Mexican gallops up, on a bareback mule with toes locked inside the forelegs, to verify the inference. So camp is made in a woodless spot (save for scattered creosote bushes), while "los gringos" turn back to make repairs and bring up

the supply outfit to a point (about longitude 113° 33' twenty miles short of that specified in the contract with Don Bartolo.

It is the third night's stop, and the second "dry" camp on the old trail-though drenched blankets and hourly showers belie the vernacular designation for a desert camp.


By daybreak of the 19th the wind. shifts from southwest to northwest and grows chill, while gray clouds drive toward the dawn and crowd before the rising sun in a fashion more typical of deserts than of vaporous lands; and feed and water are transferred to the lighter outfit, while the supply team is turned back toward Santo Domingowith a douceur to driver and aid, because they did no worse. The ancient trail forward is a deep furrow in the sands, and as these grade into the silts of the valley-margin toward Tule Pass the furrow becomes a series of sections of arroyos, normally setting obliquely across the trail, but diverted for rods or furlongs by the deeper cut of the wagonway; and within five miles the arroyos bear marks of having run brimful for minutes or hours with the overflow from the sierra on the south. Gradually the way rises through sheet flood-carved footslopes, and then winds among buttes. and granite walls toward an ill-defined divide; graves grow numerous again with the abundance of rocks to mark them; the year-old trail of an American on a shod horse and a Mexican on a shoeless beast forms a clear palimpsest over the 7-year-old tracks of the boundary parties; sign of deer and mountain sheep in pairs and flocks abound in the gulches, while coyote paths (unseen in Tule Desert) reappear. The pass is a meadow-like expanse of coarse granitic sand filmed with scrubby creosote clumps; here the trail divides, and a guide-post of sawn timber stands, soli

tary and incongruous, to attest observance of a territorial law by the road supervisor of Yuma County-and incidentally to indicate "Tule Well" and advertise the name and wisdom of the last passer (the American horseman) in the feeling inscription "Agua Salada 75 miles-go back and fill your canteen. G. O. Taylor." Thenceforward the way is freshened and the mules heartened by the year-old trail of the conscientious supervisor.

Tule well (longitude 113° 45') is a mile or two from the main trail; it is now a name on map and tongue, and a caving pit in rocky detritus with a barrel of liquid at the bottom-liquid even more saline than that of the Gulf, in addition to its overpowering flavor of copper salts and strong tinctures of sodden insects and drowned rodents, from which even the thirstiest horses turn in wry aversion. In the palmy days of the Old Yuma Trail this was a way-station, as adobe ruins still proclaim; before the range was overpastured there was a slender flora which helped to hold moisture, and the water was made tolerable by constant draughts and renewals; now it is but an echo and a delusion, if not a poison-brew for the chance traveler. A league west of the old well and a mile from the main trail there is a high tinaja (water-pocket) in the granite range running down from Blackhead Butte (Cerro de la Cabeza Prieta), in which water may be found by a hard climb in winter and spring or after local storms; but the chance is a desperate one during most of the year.

Beyond the main amphitheater of Tule Pass the trail winds among granite buttes, sierras, peaks, knife-edge crests in bewildering variety and labyrinthine confusion; gray and cream, pink and rosy walls of solid granite rise sheer from flat valley-floors of crumbled granite; the way wanders through a two-mile rincon-a great natural corral-of granite walls, in which a city might be housed

against cyclone or armed invasion; whole cubic miles of granite are constantly in sight-yet all this granite is but as a hand-specimen of northwestern Sonora and adjacent Arizona.


Eight miles west of Tule Pass the rugged mass of Tule Mountains falls away, first on the left and then on the right, giving place to zones of malpais which slope down to Lechuguilla Valley; and here again the ancient trail is a thread of yellow in a field of black. Here, too, the narrow cemetery of the Old Yuma Trail grows more populous, for here the desert is most drear and water most distant; the grave-marks are too many to note-save the 30-foot circle of pebbles with a great pebble cross in the center recording the thirst-death of a family of seven who staked life on a demijohn of water which was accidentally broken. Captain Gaillard pictures this “ cementeria," and adds: "The wagon tracks made when the poor Mexican drove his exhausted team to one side of the road were plainly visible thirty years afterward, and at the very spot still remain pieces of glass and wicker-work from the broken demijohn, and the skulls of the two horses." The sun swings low as we pass this pathetic memorial and others on the desolate malpais; and as it sinks behind Sierra Gila we push out a mile or two on the silty plain (longitude 113° 55') and make the third "dry camp, where the team-mules drink the last of the water, where ablution is not, and where the slender store of hay and grain comes to an end. But the blankets are still damp and the night is chill-than which there are worse things in desert life.

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Lechuguilla Valley is named from an inconspicuous agave-like plant of three or four slender straggling stipes a few inches high; it affects chiefly the roadway and arroyos, leaving the glaring

after drinking deeply at the lowest basin fare sumptuously on their spoil.




Las Tinajas Altas are a series of water-pockets (partly potholes, partly cataract pools) worn in the gulch bottom by torrents following the storms of the region. lowest and largest is confined partly by great boulders and granitic débris, and is reached by stock; 100 feet of fingerand-toe climbing over smooth rock leads to two others, and in 50 feet more there is a third; still higher one of the party climbs to a fourth, and thence on to the tenth, stopping at a smooth slope apparently leading to the eleventh basin holding water the average year round-"Old the Taime," in the quaint spelling of the Yuma supervisor on a guide-board seven miles away. The climb was made partly to examine the Indian mortars ground in the ledges and great boulders about every pool-mortars numbering hundreds if not thousands, some but a few decades old, but most so ancient that the polished bowls rise high above the unpolished rocks around them-mortars recording the visits of uncounted generations of devotees, to whom each laboriously-wrought basin was at once symbol of and invocation for precious food and life-giving water. One boulder bore 40 pits in its upper face, another 28; and up to the highest tinaja rea hed they are found in corresponding profu sion. Most of them must have antedated Padre Kino, who passed this way just two centuries ago and mapped route and "Tinaxa" in 1702; and most of the others must have witnessed the long

"Looking down on threescore cross-marked graves."

silts to wide-scattered tufts of creosote and rare mesquites; and on this waste, with its speck of slow-moving outfit, rises the sun of the fifth day from Santo Domingo, the fourth from the "last water." The Gila range unfolds into another labyrinth of granites; but it is not until high noon that we draw up the sheet-flooded incline (with wheels grinding anon on granites like those of the crests) and pull up the short arroyo to the classic spot of the old trail-las Tinajas Altas (the high tanks, longitude 114° 5'). Here, thirty miles from the nearest habitation, and looking down on threescore cross-marked gravesand how many unmarked no man can tell, we find the outfit of a hunting party (now absent on the chase), and

procession of pioneers who trod the Old Yuma Trail to make California-and then watched the gradual settling of present desolation.*

Besides their historic interest, the high tinajas present problems in geology and in meteorology; but it may be noted merely that they lie on the lee side of a rugged range, the first to catch the humid airdrift from Gulf of Cal ifornia, and that their catchment gulch divides exceptionally long spurs of the narrow sierra.

Six miles north of Tinajas Altas the fifth camp-fire is lighted, and the team-stock revel in corn-meal while the saddle animals experiment suspiciously with hardtack and other man-feed; for the breakdowns of the supply outfit cost a day in dearly borne provender as well as in time.

The next-and last -day is a hard one


"The lowest and largest is confined partly by great boulders and

for the beasts, since the way skirts the lower slopes of a plain (alluvial in the valley bottom, but sheet flood-carved above), over which the waters from a local storm in the mountains flowed yesterday-flowed not in coalescing

*Kino's map is "Tabula California Anno 1702. Ex autoptica observatione delineata à R P. Chino è S. I." The padre's cartography, but not his orthography, has been followed in many if not most later maps of the region.

The colloquial rendering of the name introduces the local laison-it is lumped as Tinahaltas (vowels Spanish).

granitic débris."

streams such as gather on humid soils in humid air, not in the continuous sheet flood formed when soil and air are of the dryness normal to the desert, but in a plexus of interlacing rivulets uniting and dividing every few yards or rods, and digging little arroyos across the trail to the average number of a hundred per mile. Into these the wagon plunges and out of them it is pulled by the fagged mules hour after hour, until the breaks of Gila River give respite. From daybreak onward Castle Dome

looms on the northern horizon 70 miles away, and plays with passing cloudlets made and unmade in swift succession; but the turreted volcanic mass just beyond the Gila (christened "Klotho's Temple" by Mr. Gill*) is more anxiously scanned as a landmark of growing promise. Even before midday stock. trails-the first seen since leaving the Sonoyta range-begin to appear. In midafternoon a stray cowboy is spoken by Carroll; but it is long after nightfall of the sixth day from Santo Domingo before the animals are comforted with hay and barley from the single store in Gila City.

* Eight or nine miles east of Gila City; latitude 32° 46', longitude 114° 14', altitude 1,800 feet.


No traveler over the Old Yuma Trail can fail to feel the incongruity of its present condition with its past history. It is the way of the western world to grow in population and wealth, to increase in industrial and intellectual tension; yet most of this ancient way is peopled only by graves, enriched but by memories, nearly as lost to labor and to thought as the sand-tombed cities. of Arabia and farther Turkestan. The routes of Cabeza de Vaca and de Soto and Coronado are gone save to delving historians, the trans-Appalachian roads. of our own grandsires are largely forgotten, many of the trails of the argonauts are effaced beyond retracing; but America probably presents no other lapse

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