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hundred feet in height. Above and below the gorge the river valley broadens out into rich vegas, or irrigable bottom lands, half a mile or more in width and several miles in length. On the east the valley is walled in by Sierra de Santa Teresa, on the west by the Sierra del Torreón. Closing the lower valley and hiding Cucurpe stands Cerro Prieto; and cutting off the observer's view toward the north rises the grand and rugged Sierra Azul. At the canyon where the river breaks through, the western mesa juts out and forms a cliff approachable only from the east. On this promontory, protected on three sides from attack, and affording a magnificent view, was placed the mission of Dolores. Here still stand its ruins, in full view of the valley above and below, of the mountain walls on the east and west, the north and south, and within the sound of the rushing cataract of the San Miguel as it courses through the gorge. This meager ruin on the cliff, consisting now of a mere fragment of an adobe wall and saddening piles of débris, is the most venerable of all the many
mission remains in Arizona and northern Sonora, V for Our Lady of Sorrows was mother of them all,
and for nearly a quarter of a century was the home of the remarkable missionary who built them.
From his station at Dolores, Kino and his companions, Jesuits and soldiers, pushed the frontier of missionary work and exploration across Arizona to the Gila and Colorado rivers. Most faithful amongst his associates, and his companion on many a long journey over the deserts, was Lieutenant Juan Mange, who, like Kino, has left us excellent accounts of these pioneer days.
Kino began his exploration into what is now Arizona in 1691. He was accompanied on his first journey by Father Salvatierra, who had come from the south as a visitor. They went north as far as Tumacacori, a Pima village on the Santa Cruz River, now the site of a venerable mission ruin. In the following year Kino reached San Xavier del Bac and entered the valley of the San Pedro, north of Douglas. At Bac he spoke to the natives the word of God, “and on a map of the world showed them the lands, the rivers, and the seas over which we fathers had come from afar to bring them the saving knowledge of the holy faith”; so giving them a lesson in geography, as well as a bit of Gospel truth. Two years later Kino descended the Santa Cruz River to the Casa Grande, the famous ruin on the Gila River, of which in his writings he gives us the first description. “The casa grande,"
he observes, “is a four-story building, as large as a castle, and equal to the largest church in these lands of Sonora. It is said that the ancestors of Montezuma deserted and depopulated it, and, beset by the neighboring Apaches, left for the East, or Casas Grandes,' and that from there they turned toward the south and southwest, finally founding the great city of Mexico.” Mange adds a note of description. He mentions the thick walls of “strong cement and clay. . . so smooth on the inside that they resemble planed boards, and so polished that they shine like Puebla pottery.”
Despite his success amongst the Pimas, Father Kino had never lost interest in the Indians of Lower California, and in 1695 he and Salvatierra, still working in unison, went to Mexico to urge a new attempt to found missions there. Two years later the two had the distinction — always cherished by Kino — of being personally named by the King to head the work. But the settlers in Sonora clamored to have Kino remain in Pimería Alta, where he was needed to help keep the Indians quiet, and Father Picolo went with Salvatierra instead. But on Kino's continued support the success of the work largely depended.
? In Chihuahua.
The difficulty of sending supplies across the Gulf to Salvatierra's new missions quickened Kino's interest in northwestern exploration, and brought about a revolution in his geographical notions. He had come to America with the belief that California was a peninsula, but, under the influence of current teachings, he had accepted the theory that it was an island. During his journey to the Gila in 1699, however, the Indians had made him a present of some blue shells, such as he had seen on the western coast of California and nowhere else. He now reasoned that, as the Indians could not have crossed the Gulf, California must be, after all, a peninsula, and that it might be possible to find a land route over which to send provisions and stock to Salvatierra's struggling establishments. To test this theory was the principal object of Kino's later explorations. By 1702 he had explored the Colorado from the mouth of the Gila to the Gulf and had proved, to his own satisfaction at least, that Lower California was not an island but a peninsula. The map which he made of his explorations, published in 1705, was not improved upon for more than a century.
As Kino explored and questioned natives about blue shells and hidden trails over the arid deserts and the stark peaks, he baptized and taught in little huts which the wondering Indians built to serve as chapels. Kino's diaries reveal not only a consuming zeal for his faith, but a deep love and paternal care for his red-skinned flock. He was not satisfied with itinerant preaching, which left the Indians to revert to their pagan ways between his visits; but he gathered them into missions as the law required. By 1696 Kino had begun to prepare for resident missions in Arizona by founding stock ranches in the Santa Cruz and San Pedro valleys, and four years later had begun the building of San Xavier del Bac, near the present Tucson, which is in use to this day. On April 28, 1700, he wrote in his diary: "... we began the foundations of a very large and capacious church and house of San Xavier del Bac, all the many people working with much pleasure and zeal, some in digging for the foundations, others in hauling many and very good stones of tezontle, * from a little hill which was about a quarter of a league away. For the mortar for these foundations it was not necessary to haul water, because by means of the irrigation ditches we very easily conducted the water where we wished. And that house, with its great court and