The Photographers

Don Liponi

I was introduced to the desert and the Kumeyaay or Tipai Native Americans by my father as a teenager. My father was developing a small RV park in the Jacumba region and some of the Tipai men worked with him. They also showed us a number of sacred sites and art sites in the area. This initial exposure led me on a long road of discovery of the Southwest and the Colorado Plateau assisted by Fran Barnes, Michael Kelsey and Edward Abbey. Within my family, my father-in-law was an Apache from Globe, AZ, who was as solid as Wingate Sandstone and his lessons to me were just as immutable. In San Diego, I was very fortunate to be befriended by the inimitable Bob Begole who shared with me his skills of observation and passion for the Colorado Desert. The idealism and purity of what Bob was accomplishing has always stayed with me and it has served all of us well. Bob’s influence led to meeting many other desert devotees including Daren Sefcik. Daren is so devoted to exploring and experiencing the land. His hiking abilities are so far superior to mine as are his skills in finding traces of pigment. He was the perfect complement to work on this book. We both wanted to take the reader to places that they probably could not go or find. We had plenty of help from the skills of friends Gary, Jeff Joel, Ken, Rick, Tom, Wade, and Will over the past three years. Enjoy the book, but please, as you can, help us save what is left of this spiritual communication of the Tipai. As successful and peaceful caretakers of this land for the past 15,000 years, they have much to teach us. 

Daren Sefcik

Born and raised in arguably one of the best climates in the world, San Diego, California, I have always been drawn to the outdoors. I cannot remember a time in my entire life that I was not active outdoors in some area of our local deserts or mountains, whether as a Boy Scouting event or just camping and hiking with family and friends. As I grew older and developed more interests in understanding many of the intriguing artifacts and rock art found in my explorations of the desert and local mountains I became involved with local groups who also shared the same passion for documenting and preserving the precious and forgotten past of the native peoples of this area. It is hard to express in just words the enjoyment of walking the desert land and finding artifacts that tell the story of people who lived for thousands of years on what most people now consider a wasteland, the desert is rich in so many ways and I am hopeful this book will put new perspective and appreciation for those riches in the minds of the readers.

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