Mission San Javier
03 December 2012 | twenty miles from Loreto
Connie, in the 70's and overcast
Mission San Javier
While we were in Puerto Escondido we decided to take a road trip and visit Mission San Javier, which is about 20 miles away from Loreto and up in the mountains. It was a beautiful drive with the road winding up through the hills and canyons, and following the river. The hills were green with a variety of plants and trees, including lots of different wildflowers. There was still quite a bit of water in the river and we had to ford the river several times as the water was flowing over the road instead of under it. There were areas where the road was partially washed away (with only 1 lane instead of 2) from the flooding from Hurricane Paul. In some areas the road was just dirt and rock and you could see where the force of the flood washed rocks and boulders across the road and down the canyon. When we got up to the top of the hills it opened up into a large valley with several ranchos (one of which had its own small church). We had to watch out for cattle walking alongside the road and crossing the road in front of us. They seemed to be very curious about us as they watched us go by. We left the valley and started down the other side of the hills, still following the river, and in the distance we could see the mission and a small pueblo (town) next to the river. As we came near the entrance of the town there were men and women of all ages along both sides of the road, pulling weeds to keep their road into town neat and clean. The town of San Javier had dirt and cobblestone roads and the mission was at one end of it. It’s a pretty little town with compact homes that are neat and tidy. There’s an elementary school, with students’ work displayed on the windows, and across the street is the high school with an outside covered lunch area and a basketball court with a high cover for shade. The mission was over 200 years old and made of blocks of rock. On one side was a small, old cemetery with casket shaped cement tombs on top of the ground. The mission is very pretty inside with high, arched ceilings. The front wall behind the altar is painted gold and has pictures and statues on it. (see the pictures) The location is beautiful in this narrow valley alongside the river surrounded by mountains. It’s amazing to think about how the missionaries (like Junipero Serra) walked all over these mountains looking for a site to build a mission on. Then once a site was found, how difficult it must have been to build a mission in these remote locations.