Las Animas, Punta Ballena, Misíon Santa Gertrudis
Santa Maria Magdalena
I visited Santa Maria Magdalena, the "Lost
Mission" site rediscovered by David Kier (See also, "The
Mysterious Magdalena Ruins".) On the top of a hilltop with an excellent
view of Bahía de las Animas are some old stone walls.
In a hillside cave, I found a very fuzzy creature busily wandering among the animal turds — that turned out to be a little gray spider.
Bahía de las Animas
I wonder what's under these boards...? A well!
Playa San Rafael
Playa Morro Blanco & Punta Ballena
I camped again at this remote beach.
Interesting beachcombing finds: crabs & crab shells, pelican skulls (lots!), another fuzzy gray spider, and a whale vertabra as big as my head! The whale bone was still somewhat greasy and smelly so I didn't take it home with me. In any case, I usually don't like to take souvenirs other than photographs.
El Arco Road
Mesa el Carmen Cave Paintings
A short unsignposted hike (there are cairns) leads to these amazing hillside cave paintings. Huge red men, women, and animals tower above on the cave walls and ceiling. Representations of breasts are depicted on the sides of the female figures. The sign — found inside the cave — says, "This forms part of your identity. Help us to continue protecting it."
Misíon Santa Gertrudis
Gertrudis de Cadacaman was a Jesuit mission in use from 1751 through 1822.
It was extensively restored in 1997, and so I assume it has lost some of the
weathered decaying character that I love to experience. When I visited, the
building was locked (and no one was around) so I was not able to go inside.
Round back, I found a collection of palm leaves, and the remains of some animal legs.
This mission's bells are part of a separate structure, in the square in front of the church building.
I have heard that there are some cave paintings nearby, but the guide office in town was closed (the use of a guide is required by law) — and, besides, my idea of adventure doesn't include guided tours. I had fun exploring the little community around the mission building — with a palm tree oasis, old stone walls, and crumbling adobe. I saw no people out there with me in the afternoon's 98°F sun.