25 November 2016

La Purisima Mission grounds

La Purisima Mission State Historic Park

The mission of La Purisima is quite an elaborate set up these days with a giant visitor center full of displays showing what once stood here and details about life, and buildings around the place appointed like they might have been while it was a working mission. We are skipping all of this for the trails around the buildings today. The trails are a wide dirt road and a lot of sandy tracks that are generally named. First, we head up the hill toward the cross. Today, the sand is wet and generally holds together well under our feet as we climb. It is not consistently sand, but quite a lot is, so the little bit of extra firmness is quite nice.

mission buildings
A few of the mission buildings and the wide road that goes past them to the grounds further.

cross on the hillside
A large cross on the hillside above.

We quickly turn off the wide and solid road to climb the hillside toward the cross. It is a short, steady climb to get to this viewpoint.

long buildings
Halfway up and the buildings are starting to be more clearly laid out below.

below the cross
Arriving at the cross on the hillside.

There is a picnic table next to the cross. The buildings are spread out below. Past this, more trail crosses the top of the hill and splits into various other paths. We turn to make a little loop and come down again by the visitor center. This passes through more chaparral and a eucalyptus grove.

sandy trail
Sandy trail along the top of the eucalyptus grove.

Once back down, we continue along the wide road again. This passes by more mission buildings and foundations of buildings that have not been restored. A sign marks these as residences for the converted native Americans. The road splits and a bridge crosses over a creek to the aqueduct and even more buildings. We poke around a little and it is surprising to see the creek is flowing below the bridge.

madrone tree
A massive madrone in a large group picnic area.

creek water
Creek beside the road. It flows!

We head further along the road into the larger grounds.

mission grounds
Some fall color remains out on the mission grounds.

As we leave the main compound of buildings, there are still a few buildings to be found. These far ones are all nearly all related to one thing: water. First, there is a spring house. Water is directed beside it instead of into it now. It would have been nice to hear it trickling through the double thick adobe and feel the cool by the door that this setup generates, but I suppose this reduces the upkeep required for the building.

spring house
The spring house as it stands today. The adobe walls seem particularly thick.

outside pool
A pool outside where water gathers before being directed into the spring house.

spring water
Spring water, now directed beside the spring house instead of into it.

We seem to be following the aqueduct as we go.

aquaduct with a little water
The aqueduct has a little bit of water here, though it does not seem to be flowing. It has stone sides and tile on the bottom.

We head up a thin track beside the road. This gets into some thick trees and passes more ruins that the road bypasses. It goes past the one thing that is not water related. The tanning vats would have been particularly stinky, so it makes sense that they are far from where anyone is forced to experience them.

spring box
A sort of spring box in one creek gathers water to go toward the holding tanks of the mission.

tanning vats
Tanning vats, the source of quite a stink in their day.

water tank, probably
An unmarked structure is probably a water tank.

After the tanning vats and an unmarked tank, the trail drops again to the road. There is a large cistern near it. It has steps leading up the side in a couple places and an aqueduct through the trees brings water to it. The rocks are slightly stained where the water flows in.

cistern steps
Steps up the side of the cistern near where water can be directed from it and into the aqueduct.

A path follows the incoming aqueduct through the trees.

cistern input
Where water enters the cistern beside a box that the water can be redirected to.

We take another little trail off the side next to the cistern, but not for long before turning back. The parking lot will be locked in another hour and the sun will go down a few minutes before.

flat land
Further along the road beside the flats.

water tank
Along the road we missed taking the trail is a cistern that actually is holding water.

Back at the mission buildings, we decide to walk past a few of them. There are gardens and animals kept here as well.

blacksmith shop
Entering the courtyards around the mission buildings next to the blacksmith shop.

The buildings are already closed up, so we just wander among them.

potbellied pigs
The pigs were being rather active. This is just after the spotted one ran around the side of the pen to head butt the black and white one.

fountains in the courtyard
Most the people are here among the courtyards and fountains.

bells in the wall
Every mission needs bells and they sit here by a walled courtyard.

cattle and sheep
Cattle and sheep in their own yards.

Finding ourselves by the parking lot again, it is time to take off.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 26 November 2016

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