The Cow That Ate Baja

There are endless stories about camp robbing animals; javalenas, raccoons, blue jays, seagulls and bears but, the one animal that caused us the greatest grief was an old yellow cow that hung around Bahia de los Frailes. That's a beautiful, secluded beach at the very eastern tip of Baja about sixty miles from Cabo San Lucas. Other than several hours of driving over bad roads, the only way to get there is by flying. There's a rough dirt strip that is always a thrill to land on and an even bigger one when you leave. Some friends and I used to fly there each February for a week of camping on the beach.

Our first encounter with the cow came the night we arrived. We woke up the next morning to find our camp in shambles. I don't know if all of us were sleeping that soundly or if she was that quiet but, she had slipped into camp and eaten everything she could find. She put away a five pound sack of flour, all except what she scattered around on everything else. She had learned how to get plastic lids off cans and had slurped up three pounds of coffee, four pounds of Crisco and a big can of mixed nuts. She also gulped down all our fruit, bread and several sweet rolls that were in a nylon bag. Guess she ate the bag too because it was nowhere to be found.

About the only food that she hadn't been able to get into was cans, but she had learned how to open an ice chest and gulped down a big pot of left over spaghetti, a dozen eggs and some raw fish. Who knows, she will probably know how to run a can opener before long. What the heck, she will likely be able to hot wire a car. When the pescadores heard of the raid, they laughed and called her la vaca ladron (the cow thief). One of them brought a lobster trap for us to store food in. We had to fly 60 miles into la Paz for supplies after she cleaned us out.

She was a smart old cow, seeming to know just how far a gringo could throw a rock and would stand about four feet beyond that range waiting for a chance to raid a camp. We kept all our food in the lobster trap and tied the lid shut on the ice chest but other campers didn't believe the story about the cow so she had a free shot at most of them. One couple in a pickup with an overhead camper had bought ten pounds of raw peanuts and spread them out on the hood to dry in the sun. They walked down to the beach and returned just in time to see her standing with her front feet on the bumper and lapping up the last of them.

A couple who arrived on bicycles pitched their tent but foolishly left the flap open. When they returned from a trip to the well for water, they found that old yellow cow with her head inside their tent. They grabbed a stick and gave her a good whack on the rear. She bolted forward, jerking the tent stakes out of the ground and headed out in a dead run with the tent draped over her head. Not being able to see where she was going, she crashed through bushes and trees until she ripped the tent to shreds.

So if you are ever camped at Los Frailes and an old yellow cow with sad brown eyes come wandering by, better watch her closely because she's a pro when it comes to raiding a camp.

Links to other Baja stories:
When Pigs Fly
Going Tubeless
Speedy Gonzales
The Baja Bunch
The Baja Van
Los Cobos [Free Book]

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Copyright 2000 by Jim Foreman