A look at Baja’s plants, animals, and human creations, through Steve’s camera. 20 photos added 5/14/2023.
Who is Steve Silver and what brought him to Baja California? See Steve’s biography at the bottom of the page, following his photos.
Plants (7 new added)
Landscapes (3 new added)
Humans and what they make (6 new added):
Animals & Critters (4 new added)
*** I’ve lived in Seattle for all of my near 78 years and didn’t leave home until I was almost thirty. I was a hippie backpacker in 1973, and then I road a mountain bike around Europe in 1985. A friend of mine from work, Jacqueline, had just gone to Baja with her boyfriend in 1994 and told me to go there, that I would fall in love with it and return there the rest of my life. That’s what happened. And I got over my fear of Mexico pretty quickly.
*** I was a struggling commercial artist for years, a freelance illustrator and had a basic fear of cameras. Then I got a job that required I learn how to use a computer and work with digital fotos. That involved using Photoshop, which saved me from the harsh chemicals of the darkroom. Taking digital fotos is so easy that I stopped drawing almost completely.
*** First trip to Baja involved flying to San Diego and renting a VW bug in Tijuana and driving slowly down the peninsula to Cabo San Lucas and back. I was afraid to speak any Spanish at first for fear of making mistakes but got over it. Nearly passed out lugging my gear across the border, thought It was the heat, but I was just coming down with a mild respiratory infection. I’ve amused many Mexicans with my imaginative use of their language while speaking with them but have gotten better through years of practice. Many times I’ve been told “Speak English, my English is better than your Spanish”. Sometimes I reply, “And your English is probably better than my English”, hah.
*** On the first trip I stopped at a roadside cafe just south of Camalu run by the Zuñiga family. It got dark before I realized how late it was, they told me to put up my tent on the side of their building. My first experience of Baja hospitality. When I got to Cataviña I stayed at Rancho Santa Ynez and had meals with Oscar and Matilda. My room had four or five beds! In Santa Rosalia a small dog befriended me and protected me from a pack of angry dogs while I was taking fotos. I saw graffiti that said “Matando Gringos” [Kill Gringos]
*** Lately I stay at places a lot longer, spending less hours or days in a row driving. It’s far more humane and allows me to to get to know my neighbors better. I really like camping next to people with dogs, have made lots of dog buddies. I enjoyed staying at Camp Gecko at Bahía de Los Angeles until they sold all the cabins, now I stay at Campo Archelon when I’m in that city. It is wonderful to pitch a tent under a palapa right on the Sea of Cortez, with my kayak, and be able to get espresso and great meals a hundred yards away. And sometimes a young woman drives up in a cart with bread and flan for sale!
*** My first vehicle driven to Baja was an ‘89 Jeep Cherokee that made four roundtrips, then an old ’88 Mazda wagon without a working oil gauge so I had to check the oil twice a day. A ’92 Subaru Legacy wagon made four trips and finally a 2007 Mazda3 hatchback getting ready for its third time down and back. No breakdowns in all these years but I have gotten stuck in sand numerous times and have been helped out graciously by Mexicans every time. The worst thing that every happened was getting cursed out by a ten or twelve year old on his way to school in Santa Rosalia. I was in a tiny cafe and I think his buddy said “go hassle the gringo”. He came in and said “gimme money”, I replied “no gracias”. At that he cursed me out and left. The lady who ran the place came over and said something in Spanish that sounded like “his parents must have been cousins”. Hah.
As I’ve gotten older it seems that the most memorable thing about traveling is the people I meet. The rest is wonderful too but the people are the tops! Steve Silver, 2023