Today, I think that Alisa and I bit off more than we could chew. We decided that we wanted to check out a few Missions by way of the river walk. The portion of the trail that we wanted to do is ten miles long. Five miles in and five miles out. Now, those who know Alisa and Me know that we hike a lot, and we have done quite a few long and steep ones. However, this hike was different. It was a scorching 98 degrees today with the sun blazing down on our us while we walked.
We started the hike at Mission Espada which was partly under construction but still beautiful to look at. We walked around the perimeter and talked to one of the rangers who gave us a map to help us on our walk.
Once we started on the trail, reality set in. We started sweating bullets and drinking a lot of water. We decided to take a detour and check out the old Espada aqueduct. It was pretty cool and an amazing feat of engineering. We learned that they built this duct in order to supply Mission Espada (nearly 2 miles away at that point) with enough water to irrigate the land and keep the people hydrated.
When we finally made it to Mission San Juan, we were exhausted. We had to go inside and cool off
for a bit before we looked around. We had an opportunity to read about the
history of the mission while inside. We went inside an incredibly beautiful restored church that is still in use to this day. We took a few photos, and it was really amazing to see the care that went into restoring it. Alisa noted how cool it was inside the church even though there was no air conditioner. When found a water fountain and I took out my camel-pak in order to top it off just in case we couldn’t find any other water source. It was at that moment that we realized that we had already consumed more than half of a hundred ounces. I was shocked because often times when we do ten mile hikes, I can do the entire hike only consuming about 20 ounces. At that point we had only hiked about two and a half miles. Covered in sweat and tired, we kept moving.
As we continued on the river walk, we were able to see a lot of beautiful animals such as big white egrets, eagles, frogs and big lizards. We also saw a really beautiful bush that, once close to it, you notice right away that you shouldn’t touch it because it has giant spikes. The trail is well built and very friendly to out of town visitors. There were markers about every half mile and optional bicycle rentals for those who would rather breeze along the trail. There were many times we considered renting a couple of bikes and just riding it. We decided to wait until we got to Mission San José before we would rent a bike.
Once we got to the Mission, we were so exhausted it was incredible. I was really surprised how tired I was having only hiked five miles. Before we left for this trip, Alisa and I had hiked trails which
varied from 10 – 14 miles to prepare ourselves. Once we got to the visitors center, the only thing we wanted to do was get into some air conditioning. We managed to find a water fountain that dispensed refrigerated water and, man, was that the greatest thing ever. As we were sitting there recovering, one of the park rangers asked if we were ok. We told him about our walk and that we were planning to walk back. He told us to take as much time as we needed and to fill up on some refrigerated water before we took off. He must of had pity on us because after a while he offered us a ride back to our car. We thought about it for a little while and decided that it would be safer to take his offer (we didn’t even stick around to look at the mission). He introduced us to one of his officer rangers, and she gave us a ride back. I feel bad that we didn’t ask for her name because we chatted the whole time and really enjoyed her company. As for us, we threw in the towel. Come to think of it, I think this is the first time that Alisa and I have ever called it quits on a trail. Im just glad that there was someone around to help us out. Im pretty confident that we could have made it back, but we would probably be sleeping right now rather than writing this blog.