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World Heritage Cave Paintings
The Sierra San Francisco is one of Baja’s World Heritage areas for the vibrant and lively cave paintings they harbor. The mysterious origins of the paintings coupled with their super-human size and their height above the ground led some to believe they were painted by a race of giants. They pre-date the native people encountered here by the Padres. With those Padres came a military force to support them. The tenacious ranch culture here today descends from the union of military and native people. Ride a mule or hike for 5 days, immersed this landscape and hosted by its inhabitants.
To get there from Loreto, we ride in a private van to San Ignacio, past Baja’s most recent eruption, the Tres Virgines volcano. Visit the mission at San Ignacio with its impressive stonework and its well-labeled garden of native plants, and the town square lined with huge trees. Either camp or upgrade to a yurt at the Ignacio Springs Bed & Breakfast, Both are beside the freshwater lagoon and serenaded by an amusing chorus of coots and bullfrogs.
Transition back in time as we drive into the Sierra San Francisco, into some of Baja’s most rugged terrain. According to UNESCO’s website, “From c. 100 B.C. to A.D. 1300, the Sierra de San Francisco (in the El Vizcaino reserve, in Baja California) was home to a people who have now disappeared but who left one of the most outstanding collections of rock paintings in the world.”
Meet your cowboy guides who, along with your SKBM guides, will take you deep into the canyon and to the painted caves. The way is rough and steep but the mules are sure-footed. Cave paintings are accessible only by foot, which does require a moderate degree of fitness and confidence on loose terrain along sometimes steep canyon walls. Hiking the entire trip is also an option for the fit.
Honestly, we never intended to offer mule trips, but we went ourselves to tick it off the bucket list, and were absolutely enthralled, not just by the cave art and the birds, but even more by the ranch culture that has survived relatively unchanged for hundreds of years in this rugged land.
See more photos at Mule trip Photo Gallery from March 2016
Read the Cave Art & Cowboys mule trip blog.
Read more about the cave art in Archaeology.Org
Terrific documentary about Baja ranch culture: La Recua