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Discovering the Cave Paintings and Petroglyphs of Baja

rock art

I was fortunate to visit some of the cave paintings in Baja on the extension of one of Bill’s Baja tours shortly before the Corona Virus exploded in our lives, changing what we could and wanted to do. And further fortunate to have Don Chicho as one of my guides. Don Chicho was one of the guides Harry Crosby, the author of Cave Paintings of Baja California, used for some of his explorations.

a man sitting on a rockThe first day a guide from Desert & Sea in Loreto picked me up early for a ride to Mulege, where we picked up Don Chicho and signed the register to visit the caves. We visited several newly discovered sites the first afternoon, then returned to Mulege where we spent the night in a lovely B&B, Casa Granada, after a seafood dinner with the locals. (And the margaritas were wonderful!)

The following morning we drove 17 miles in a four-wheel van, back deep into the mountains, crossing and re-crossing the same river multiple times, until we came to a small hacienda. There we parked and headed on foot, probably half a mile, over a dusty trail to one of the great caves in Baja: San Borjitas. It has an impressive cave ceiling with more than 50 large monos (drawings of human figures). I took a whole lot of pictures and then we headed back, slowly to enjoy the views, to the hacienda where the guides set up a small table and prepared a wonderful lunch of sandwiches and freshly cut fruit, before dropping off Don Chicho and heading back to Loreto.

It is a moving experience, full of questions of the what’s and whys of what these people left for us hundreds, and possibly thousands of years ago. To stand and look up at their representations of human figures, one giving birth and others shot full of arrows. Why are they there? How do they relate to other cave paintings still being discovered in Mexico and throughout the world?

The few days I was able to explore there left me with so many questions, wanting to explore more.

Author: Nancy Cochran, Guest