In Loreto Bay: Journey to Mission San Javier

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Clint in front of the Mission San Javier. We have finally arrived after a long, bumpy, hot trip. There is a restaurant to the right with a sign for cold beers. I think Clint was ready for one of those.

While rummaging through my piles of paper, trying to find some artifacts from my last visit to one of my Adobe government customers, I stumbled across two sheets of paper marked with my familiar scribble.

On the top of the first page were the words, “San Javier” and “Danny”. And so dear readers, I bring you the last installment from our latest trip to Loreto Bay.

After several visits to Loreto, Clint and I finally decided we had to take the journey to the Mission San Javier. I emailed a couple of tour operators before we flew out to Loreto but was not able to arrange anything prior to arriving. This turned out not to be a problem as Roberto, the Inn at Loreto Bay concierge, made a few phone calls to arrange a private tour with Daniel Gallardo, who introduced himself as “Danny” – the name we proceeded to use throughout the trip.

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The adventure begins, heading to San Javier along the arroyo.

Saturday arrived and promised to be a scorcher. Danny picked us up promptly at 9 am in a well air-conditioned, shiny white jeep and took us up a rough road to the mission. As we bumped along, Danny shared with us some interesting stories. Here is a recounting of them, deciphered from messy scribbles on my two pieces of paper and my memory:

– He pointed to some wild fig trees (“higuera”) that were growing along and inside large boulder formations telling use that when food was scarce, people would take the fig, smash it up and make tortilla. When water was scarce, the locals use to follow the roots of these trees to locate water.

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Wild fig tree. Amazing how the roots have been able to penetrate into the rock in search of water and nutrients.

– December 1-3 is the San Javier Festival where people from all over Mexico come to party and there is only 1 hotel that has 4-5 rooms so most of the visitors sleep in cars, tents and no one sleeps for days.

– The silhouette of the mountains as you drive up to San Javier have the profile of a sleeping woman. Clint saw the silhouette correctly before I did. I mistakened the “head” for another part of the female anatomy which made both Clint and Danny chuckle.

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Silhoutte of the mountains on our way to San Javier, can you see the Sleeping Woman?

– Zumba, a latin dance exercise craze has reached Loreto where they hold classes. Danny says only the women participate as the men don’t think it is very macho.

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This is a shrine, I did not write down the significance of this in my notes. For any of our smart readers, if you know the significance of this, please write in.

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The cactus that is all over the desert. Danny told us it is illegal to chop down cactus this large, however, some people still do it to make products such as floor lamps.

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The fruit on a cactus. Danny noted this fruit was not very tasty.

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Photo opp! Danny and I in front of his jeep. Clint, behind the camera.

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Before we reach our final destination, we stop to look at some cave paintings.

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The black markings here are part of a larger cave painting. Danny noted that many of the areas with cave paintings have been destroyed due to the illegal cave painting trade. People would carve out large pieces of cave paintings and sell them on the black market. The government has put in legislation to protect them as national treasures but this has not stopped this practice.

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A leaf.

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Clint went exploring as Danny and I continued to talk.

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Winding path to San Javier. I was glad it was Danny driving.

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Small mission on the way. To the left of this mission is an orchard. Unfortunately the owner was not home so we couldn’t go visit the orchard.

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Inside the mission.

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We arrive in San Javier.

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Building details above the front door.

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Old mission door. I have a thing for doors.

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Inside the mission. The two women on the left had a guest book that both Clint and I signed. On the right is a women who had travelled for several days to arrive at this mission to pray for her sick husband.

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Sign inside the mission.

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Front of the mission which is still very well preserved.

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The cemetery to the left of the mission.

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Prison cell on the left side of the building. There are rumours that it once held a nun and her lover. [Clint: I believe it was a priest that was jailed when he made a woman pregnant. I could be wrong on that, but I think that’s the story…]

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Nice details on ths side of the building.

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Behind the Mission: an orchard and farm.

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Standing beside a very old tree.

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Danny showed me these beans(?) which are used by locals to make necklaces and other jewelry.

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The restaurant in San Javier where we stopped for lunch.

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Inside the restaurant.

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Lunch looked very good after a long trek to San Javier. The refried beans were exceptional, the best I’ve ever had. When we asked the restaurant owner about them, it turns out she actually grows the beans and has a special recipe for them. They were the best part of the meal. [Clint: the best part of the meal was actually the ice cold Corona. On a day that was scorching hot, well above 105F, it was the absolute best beer I have ever had!]

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As dessert, the owner made us some crackers with home made fig jam. The fig jam was delicious but unfortunately we could not buy any because she had sold out of last season’s jam stock and would not have any more until later in the year.

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View as we left the restaurant, got back into the jeep and headed back to Loreto Bay.

If you’re interested in an adventurous trip to Mission San Javier, here’s Danny’s contact information, or you can talk with Roberto at the Inn at Loreto Bay.

Tour Guide Contact
Daniel Esquivel Gallardo
(044) 613-116-7089
huachapory (at) hotmail.com 

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