Almost every time we come to Loreto we drive up into the mountains to the San Javier Mission, about 30 km from Loreto. Not so much because of the Mission itself, but the scenic drive is spectacular. Especially this time with the vegetation being so green.
On the drive up, forgetting what we learned previous times, we wondered aloud why on earth anyone would establish a mission this far back into the mountains (with no paved road as there is today!). But of course it was because of the fresh water and more fertile soil than down near the sea. They built wells, dams and irrigation channels that allowed for growing plants to provide food; the grapes produced the very first wine in the Californias. There are some very old olive trees still standing.
|Olive tree trunks.|
Prior to arriving at the Mission, we stopped for a hike along the way. We only lasted a couple hours in the heat but it was a beautiful hike up a valley to find a waterfall and observe the birds along the way. It's too bad that turkey vultures have a face only a mother could love because, otherwise, they really are beautiful birds.
These little red-spotted toads were everywhere! We had to be careful not to step on them.
Lots of egrets too.
And one lone owl.
A trail leading to a series of waterfalls and a small dam.
A geologist would have been fascinated by all the volcanic intrusions!
And then we found a couple places by the water to have a late lunch, relax and read our books for a while. All in all, a lovely day!