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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

West of Nogales

Another picture-heavy post, this one documenting my most recent trip into the mountains west of Nogales

On the outskirts of Nogales, headed west.  The bright lights up ahead are Border patrol lights for monitoring the border at night

The perils of hiking in the desert at night.  Those took a while to pluck out when I stopped hiking for the night

 The first water source I used the next day.  It tasted...interesting.  And minutes later I found a much cleaner little pool. 

An idea of the terrain that occupied a good portion of the day's traveling

Quite beautiful, really.  I think I will this region will be one of my new favorite non-summer hiking destinations

Some valleys/washes, many of which had large cottonwood trees.  I was able to find water relatively frequently, especially in some of the deeper and more narrow valleys. 

If you look closely you can see one of the better-defined migrant paths that I walked on that day, going up the far mountain side.  Shortly after cresting that next mountain I ran into a group of four migrants.  I saw the four men first, resting in the shade of some trees.  When I announced my presence with "Hola, soy un amigo", they immediately took off running, leaving all their things behind.  I tried yelling after them to stop them from running with no luck.  I certainly can't blame them- most of the gringos they might run into out there are the kind that are going to throw you in prison and deport you.  No one should have to live in that kind of fear.  And I won't lie, it was a bit nerve-wracking approaching a group of men (who could be drug smugglers, potentially carrying weapons) in the middle of nowhere.  So I'm sure they had similar concerns when I approached them.

This is my short Water in the Desert series.  It may not look like much to you, but finding these small pools of water out there was down right miraculous for me.  The last one, immediately above, is a deer carcass- likely taken by a mountain lion (nom noms).  Life, and death, in the desert revolves around these small water sources. 

This was after having crested the tallest of the mountains, entering a lower, more arid, and more rugged landscape.

Entering the canyon that would become my travel-corridor for a couple hours.  You can see a "window" through the rock formation there- the canyon walls and the surrounding mountains were quite spectacular, reminiscent of Sedona.

Some pictures more of the canyon.  There were a few points that it got really narrow and I was concerned about getting cliffed out (didn't bring my rope), but it quickly grew in size.  I believe this was Sycamore Canyon (haha), there were lots of big Sycamore trees, plentiful water (sometimes even with surface flow!).  Pretty spectacular (the pictures don't do it justice), but the meanders of the canyon and the difficulty of walking and running on cobble slowed travel greatly.  I filled my water containers and I bailed out of the canyon shortly after it took a decidedly southward turn, and entered a much more arid landscape.  Had I enough food for 2 or 3 more days of travel, I would have just stayed in the canyon and enjoyed hiking a leisurely pace in a pleasant canyon until I reached a road or some other form of civilization.  There was heavy trailing from migrant use, and I saw many migrant camps, so it certainly would have been interesting to stay in the canyon for longer.  I don't have any pictures after this one because it was getting late and I was focusing on just covering ground (with much difficulty), and I hiked and ran until dark (when it then proceeded to rain on and off for several hours).  Brrr.