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Heroica Mulege: Quiet vibes and pig races

We had a wonderful stay at the Huerta Don Chano RV Park and met some amazing travelers. The RV park is located right on the river where a boardwalk is being constructed just down from the beach. On the beach is another abandoned lighthouse which you can partially climb up offering an amazing view of the surrounding landscape.
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Fishermen in the river
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The view of the river meeting the Sea of Cortez
In 1702 a Jesuit priest Juan Maria de Salvatierra decided that the area would make an excellent location for a mission to bring Christianity to the Indians but it wasn’t until 1754 that construction of the mission, called called Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé, actually began. The mission, which deserves a visit,  was built from local stone and still serves as the community’s Catholic Church.
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Misión Santa Rosalía de Mulegé
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Interior of the prison turned museum
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Cannon in the prison turned museum
Just up the hill is the Museo Comunitario de Mulegé, or Community Museum. The museum is housed in what used to be a prison with sort of an odd history. The prison functioned on only what could be described as an honor system in which prisoners were allowed to leave for the day to work as long as they returned each night. There are stories of prisoners who tried to take advantage of this and escape only to be caught and returned by the other prisoners who didn’t want to lose this valuable perk. The museum itself has an interesting mix of displays some of which are housed in the old jail cells. There is art, native artifacts, antiques and even a satellite that crashed in a nearby farmer’s field.
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A satellite that fell from space onto a farmers ranch
A visit to Mulegé also offers another opportunity to visit local cave paintings. We inquired with the Museum director, and she told us her husband Jose gives tours to the area out of town. We called him and arranged a time the next day. He told us that the trip to the cave paintings would require wading through water up to about neck level, but that it was slow and easy.

We picked him up the next day and he directed us out of town down some rough dirt roads and at one point down a dry river bed. He directed us to some closed gates that he opened to let us through, past some farms, and eventually to Rancho La Trinidad, a working ranch that also operates as a historical preservation society for the cave paintings. It was about an hour and a half total drive, with slow going for most of it.

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View on the way to the cave paintings
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Walking to the mountain base to see the cave paintings
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We paid the historical society fees and hiked about one kilometer further up the river to the foot of the mountains. Here is where we had to cross the river to get to the other bank, with no traversable path otherwise. Apparently the other tour guide in the area works more regularly and has a small boat docked for this part. It was, however, chained with a padlock.

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So the three of us stripped down to our skivvies and waded through the river with our phones and cameras over our head, and were greeted with a fantastic overhanging wall of ancient cave art.
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Our host Jose told us of the different representations on the paintings, of deer, turtles, arrows, man, and children’s hands. Though we were dubious of how nice the paintings were preserved considering the overhang above them was fairly open, it was our first experience with cave art and we are not experts. Just the knowledge of how long ago these carved paintings existed was awe inspiring.

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Cave painting of children’s hands
Like in Bahia de los Angeles, we happened to be in town during another annual event. The International Rotary Club of Mulegé has an annual pig race fund-raiser, with local bands performing, T-Shirt sales, food vendors, and of course piglet races. The animal activists in us were a little disconcerted by the handlers running the piglets around and scaring them, but no animals were harmed. The piglets were simply harnessed and attached to one of three ropes running down the track, then they were let go.
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Resident ex-pat wearing the 2014 Rotary Club Mulege Pig Races T-Shirt
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Local resident showing the piglet he is entering in the races
Naturally, the piglets did not run in a straight line. Some hardly ran at all. Some ran far off course, but were limited by their harness that they couldn’t simply run into the crowd. The handlers couldn’t touch the piglets once the race began, and simply had to see if they were lucky and their pig ran relatively straight. The races were short and simple, and the Rotary Club took bets and used the extra money from the gambling, T-shirt and food sales towards helping with community projects.
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Pigs in the race not exactly running a straight line
In a small town like Heroica Mulegé, it’s nice to see any event, even a bit strange, in which the foreign ex-pat community and local residents get together to have fun and raise money for a good cause.

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