What a trip it must be for these people. No wonder some of them give up! Unfortunately, many don't give up. They simply die.
We did an 8 mile (13 km) hike yesterday in the hot desert sun. Good thing we knew enough to have lots of water with us. You really do get parched quickly in this dry environment.
These are one-way distances.
Our plan was to get to the Victoria Mine, and then decide whether we felt like going to the Lost Cabin Mine. Keeping in mind that we had to retrace our steps to get back to the campground.
Out in the desert.
Prior to the year 2000, most illegal border crossings occurred through border cities, not out in the wilderness. But the building of millions of dollars worth of fencing in the built up areas have pushed the migrants out into the remote areas. And in order to attempt to combat this, they've had to hire more border patrol agents. In fact, the number of U.S. border agents has more than doubled from 10,000 in 2004 to 21,140 in 2012. 18,000 of them work along the U.S. - Mexican border.
Today, more than half of all attempted migrant crossings occur here in the hot Sonoran Desert.
There sure are some big cactus out here!
And some oddball shapes and sizes.
In 2012, there were 463 recorded migrant deaths in the desert.
A support group called Humane Borders have even installed emergency water stations in the hope that their efforts will save a life. As we hiked, we occasionally came across the empty black water bottles that the migrants often use because they think they are less visible. We were surprised at the amount of left over trash and the fact that it doesn't get cleaned up by park staff or volunteers.
We made it to the old Victoria Mine, and decided to keep going.
Kevin and an Organ Pipe Cactus.
I had climbed up to that easily recognizable cactus where I found what appeared to be a stash of water in black bottles hidden in a crevice. Sometimes the "coyotes" (the people who organize illegal crossings) will hide water stops along the way. Usually for themselves, not the migrants!
Many of the successful migrants will have hiked more than 75 miles (120 kms) across the baking hot desert.
Our path towards Lost Cabin Mine.
Whats left of a dead Saguaro Cactus.
A little bit of shade.
We found a spot that had some shade where we stopped for lunch. There's not much shade available here, and you could tell this spot had been used many times by migrants. There were many leftover empty water bottles left in the crevices to the left.
Sunset at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
We completed our 8 mile (13 km) hike without any problems. But we had lots of water, lots of food, and sufficiently layered clothing that we could have survived longer if necessary. Many migrants also begin their hike with probably the same amount of supplies that we had. However their hike is 10x longer!
With the recent increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar, many more migrants will head north in an attempt to make a better life for themselves. While many will cross successfully, the number of deaths will also increase.