The army hasn’t allowed the public to visit La Cueva Pintada (on Fort Hunter Liggett) in something like 10 years, so when the San Antonio Valley Historical Association succeeded in navigating the bureaucratic maze and getting permission for a public tour a lot of people jumped at the opportunity. A lot more people than the Historical Association had been counting on. They’d told the army they’d be bringing about 20 people – but closer to 150 of us showed up. This initially caused a lot of consternation and high blood pressure among our hosts, but everyone, we’re glad to say, was eventually allowed to proceed to the cave. The guys on the right are taking pictures of a Mariposa Lily.
Here’s the Mariposa Lily (Calochortus sp.)
Walking to the cave
The cave entrance complete with chain link fence and concertina wire (this is the army, after all).
The walls are absolutely covered with the prehistoric art that gives the cave its name.
A lot of people have tried to decipher the meaning of these images, but we suspect their guesses reveal more about themselves than about the people who did the painting.
Deeper in the cave the walls are more fire-blackened and the art sometimes better preserved.
On some parts of the wall the images overlap one another to the point that it’s hard to tell what’s what. This woman has been hired to help demystify the situation by doing careful sketches of individual images. One (quite possibly apochrophal) story we’ve heard is that the paintings in this cave escaped destruction during the taliban mission era, due to the presence of this cross.
There’s definitely enough to keep her busy for awhile …
Interesting how different this art is …
From the famous images in the caves near Tassajara.
View of Cone Peak from the cave entrance.
A close-up of the Sticky Monkey-Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) growing by the gate.