Statement of Purpose and Intent

On March 12th, 2011 I began a 400 mile trek along the Arizona-Mexico border from Agua Prieta to San Luis Rio Colorado, an adventure with a purpose I am calling BorderVenture.

Through BorderVenture I hope to raise awareness of border issues, expose exaggeration of border violence, combat the racial profiling, discrimination, and often outright racism that seems prevalent of late, and to record and recount personal stories of people living near or trying to cross the border. I will record my experiences and stories in this blog, and hope to have them further covered by supportive media, organizations, and other websites and blogs. I plan to aggressively publish my experiences through media outlets, interested groups, the Internet, and through whatever other avenues I am able. I will write tirelessly and advocate my findings to all who will listen, publish, and share them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So I'm back in Flagstaff again.  Water is tenuous in the Sonora, and the desert is a very serious, desolate, vibrant, lovely, and lonely place.  I suppose I am perhaps not "hard core" enough, but I ended up bailing to the town of Arivaca rather than finishing the leg connecting Nogales to Sasabe.  The day started out great, I felt great, and it is beautiful out there.  It was slow going because of the off-trail hiking and running over mountains and through valleys and canyons, but I was able to find water relatively often in the larger valley bottoms, and I often found myself using migrant trails to ease travel.  However, after cresting the highest of the mountain ridges, I found myself looking down on a much drier and more rugged landscape.  These lower elevation mountains were characterized by steep rocky cliffs and deep canyons- difficult terrain to move through.  I chose a route that I thought best and seemed to follow the border relatively closely, and eventually ended up in large, steep-walled canyon.  Though the canyon was generally headed west and water was very plentiful there, it took me approximately 2 hours to travel only about a mile as the crow flies when I actually likely traveled more like 6 miles due to the winding nature of the canyon.  When I was able to leave the canyon out of another side canyon, I was traveling cross country again but without the benefit of migrant trails anymore, and the much drier landscape was not providing water where I was hoping to find it.  As evening quickly approached, I headed north for some easier terrain, and found myself upon a Forest Service dirt road.  I hiked into the night until I came to an intersection in the road.  I had approximately 2.5 liters of water, and had to decide whether I would continue west toward Sasabe with the hope of finding water at one of the cattle tanks I had spotted using satellite imagery, or if I would head north on the Forest Service road toward Arivaca.  It had taken me 13 hours to move 14 miles (as the crow flies), when I had realistically ran and hiked more than 35 miles.  If it was going to be that difficult to move the remaining 20 miles or so to Sasabe, it was going to take me 2 more days.  I only had enough food for 1 more day, and I had enough water to last me until maybe noon.  So when I was eating "breakfast" and heard a truck coming down the road at 5:30am, I made the choice to flag him down and caught a ride back into Arivaca.  In retrospect, I probably could have made it to Sasabe a little hungry but fine, but at the time I wasn't willing to take the risk.

I'm not done with BorderVenture despite the second setback.  What I am opting to do instead, and what I think might be more productive in terms of telling the story properly, is to finish BorderVenture in pieces on the weekends.  The next step will be to go to Sasabe, a place I've been told is a staging area for a lot of immigrants and has some issues with cartels, and just spend a day talking to people there.  I will also look into setting up more caches for the 90 miles or so west of Sasabe, where water looks to be scarce, or potentially revising the route northward a bit to utilize some other roads.  The following weekend would be running from Sasabe to Lukeville/Sonoyta, and the weekend after that would conclude BorderVenture by running from Lukeville/Sonoyta to Yuma.  That's the plan right now, though plans don't seem to mean much of anything so far.  Thanks for following along so far, and sorry for the let down and change in plans.  Perhaps less epic this way, but hopefully a better way to tell the story (and perhaps a little easier for me to do so).  I'll try to do another post soon about my time and experiences in the mountains west of Nogales.