On January 24, we went to San Juan Bautista for the Mission 10 5k race. It was dark when we set out and we enjoyed a slightly misty sunrise as we traveled down the coast. We arrived an hour before race time and parked a block from the starting line, across the street from a ranger station.
It was cloudy and cold. Registration was set up in front of the old mission on Second Street. The mission sits on a bluff, looking out over miles of agricultural farm land with mountains in the distance. Dark clouds with small patches of sunlight and low hanging fog created a beautiful pastoral scene.
We registered and warmed up while the crowd of participants and families grew. By the time the race began, the clouds had thinned. Running made the chill much more bearable as we set out on the course. It was a hard race for me. I started too fast and walked just after the turn around point.
After the race, I headed for the Mission. Visiting all of the California Missions is on my Wish List. So far, I've been to the mission in Carmel, San Francisco and Santa Rosa.
The artifacts inside fascinated me. These people attempted to recreate their home in Spain in the wild west. I envisioned ornate objects being hauled over steep trails and wicked switchbacks by horse and Indian. The cemetery shows the sad facts of the impact on the local people: over 4000 graves, mostly Indians.
I went through the mission while my partner watched the awards and claimed his prize. The church reminded me of churches in Mexico, the clothed statutes, copious blood on Christ. I love visiting churches and other places of worship. Something struck me at this church that I thought different. Behind the alter, the statues were displayed in the wall, very theatrical and a little strange.
All but one corner of the garden was being renovated. The orange trees were heavy with fruit and flowers proliferated. It was quiet, serene, timeless. I took a deep breath, a last look at the parlor and then rejoined the world outside the mission.