In 1806, U.S. Army General James Wilkinson assigned Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers. Throughout the journey, Pike maintained a journal, describing terrain, Indians, hardships, and the group's daily activities. In present-day southern Colorado's San Luis Valley, Pike and his men were captured by the Spanish. Many of his papers were confiscated by Spanish authorities, not to be uncovered until the early twentieth century. This long-out-of-print edition of Pike's journals, edited by Hart and Hulbert, provides extensive commentary, as well as significant essays on Pike's papers and the purpose of his famed expedition.
Stephen Harding Hart was a prominent Denver attorney and longtime president of the Colorado Historical Society. Archer Butler Hulbert was a professor of history at Colorado College, Colorado Springs, and author of Forty-Niners: The Chronicle of the California Trail. Mark L. Gardner is a professional historian who lives in Cascade, Colorado, and author of Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade (UNM Press).