Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As we neared Cataviña on our way north, the sun was getting low in the sky and turning the hills such a beautiful color! We had driven all the way from Bahia Concepcíon that morning and pulled into an RV park off the highway in Catavińa just as it was getting dark. It was so still and quiet. Another family pulled in around the same time and so of course we got to talking with them. We'd hardly met any other traveling families during our time in Baja. They were also from Oregon and had two boys. I pulled out a package of glow sticks and the kids had a blast racing around and playing while the adults visited. It was very cool compared to the weather on the beaches further south, and the sky was dark and sparkled with stars. We saw several meteorites streak through the sky that night. 
I lived in the High Desert of California for four years when I was a teenager, and ever since I've not been particularly fond of deserts in general. I'm glad we gave this one a chance! It is a truly beautiful place with its rugged hills and rock piles. 
Just north of Cataviña, we stopped to see some cave paintings left by the people who originally dwelled in this area. I can hardly imagine living there now, let alone back then. This is really a "middle of nowhere" place! Thankfully we didn't see any snakes, although the sign warned of them.
We saw about a jillion cardón cacti during our jaunt through the Baja, but I never saw another quite like this. Usually they grow straight and tall, their many arms reaching for the sky. This one was gnarled and twisty.
This unusual plant is a cirios, or "Boojum" tree. This is El Valle de los Cirios, and they grow abundantly in the region. They look like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, and we must not have been the only ones to think they were rather fantastical, as the English name of Boojum comes from a Lewis Carrol poem, The Hunting of the Snark:
 `But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
        If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
   You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
        And never be met with again!'

It was such a beautiful, clear day to be on the road!

Following the trail up to the cave. When I was just a baby, my Dad brought back pictures of a trip he took with my great grandfather in Baja. They too had explored and found cave paintings. Although these aren't the ones they saw on that trip, I felt like seeing this was part of my family legacy, something I wanted to pass on to my own kids.
The rock formations were pretty amazing! How did that get there? 
Found them! Poppy showcases some markings on the rocks.
You had to crouch down to get inside the cave, which was at the top of a hill. From within, the inhabitants would have had an excellent view of the surrounding area while remaining hidden themselves. There must have been a water source nearby as a few palm trees grew around the base of the hill.
A happy little Pearlie in the cave.
More interesting rocks next to the cave.
I was always amazed at the lines and layers in the rocks. 
Do you see the cave? It's up there in the center of the picture, although the entrance is so low it's not really obvious that it's there! 


  1. I see the cave!!

    Wow, that sky is unimaginably blue! I don't think Crayola has a color like that! It's so stunning to see sky that's so blue while outside my window tonight it's winter sky and 30 degrees!

    Cactus are so interesting. One year Husband went to TX for a film festival and he brought back some cactus candies that we all loved. Apparently some cactus plants can also be very hydrating.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures!

    1. You're most welcome!
      My inlaws, who lived in Arizona, gave us some cactus candy once... very interesting! In Mexico they eat the pads of the nopal cactus and they're pretty yummy!

  2. The gnarled Saguaro is called a "Crested Saguaro". They're pretty rare as you note, and scientists aren't in agreement as to why they happen. We blogged about finding one by us in Mesa, AZ:

    1. Thanks for the info! Interesting that they don't know why they happen. Thanks for the link too!


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