Every shower I took in Mexico was different. Sometimes the handle marked hot was actually the one for the cold water. Sometimes the handle for the hot water was on the right hand side. Sometimes there was no hot water no matter which side the handle was on. Sometimes there was simply no water at all.
After a night spent in a fit of insomnia while Mark snored peacefully beside me, I was extremely grateful for hot water and machaca con huevos before we headed off for our next destination, Catavina.
Our first stop was El Rosario for gas and groceries. It’s the last town on the Pacific side of Baja before the highway heads east into the desert. Mark finally found the orange juice he’d been craving as until then he’d only been able to find orange punch-like drinks, and I grabbed some fresh baked pan dulce. El Rosario looked like a sweet town with several tortillerias, panaderias, restaurants and a giant flea market. Both Mark and I wished that we had stayed there instead of San Quintin.
We then began the winding journey over the inland mountains and through the desert. The landscape changed from lush green fields to shrubby brown hillsides as the air got warmer and warmer. Then the shrubby brown hillsides began to turn green again as they became covered with forests of cacti. And then, before we even realized things were changing again, we entered the boulder fields of Catavina.
Everywhere we looked, gigantic rocks, polished and shaped by the wind for millions of years, were stacked on top of each other, some in formations that looked like they would topple over at any second. Punctuated throughout the boulders were enormous cacti, some over 40 feet high. I felt like I was on some other planet.
Mark had read that there were ancient cave paintings in the area, so we decided to find a place to stay and then go hiking to look for them. We pulled into Linda’s Cabanas and were followed by several cars full of children and a woman who I presumed was Linda. “Rrrrroom?” she asked us. Immediately the children began giggling and imitating her. Cries of “rrrrrroom” echoed out across the gravel lot. She showed us to our very pink room with creative outdoor seating and let us know that we would have electricity from 6 to 11 p.m.
We drove to a pullout on the side of the road where we got out and began hiking up an arroyo. Mark showed me what rattlesnake tracks looked like, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t stop looking up with gaping mouth at the giant cacti. Let me just apologize right now to all the tourists I’ve made fun of who do the exact same thing at the redwoods. Now I understand.
We hiked for a couple of hours, but we never found the cave paintings, although we did locate a more modern version.
Tired from the drive and the hike, we didn’t have the energy to find a place to eat. We dined on peanuts, leftover bread and bananas while watching the desert sunset from an old abandoned bus seat.
To be continued…