Friday, October 14, 2011


We are winding up Fall Break! I took advantage of this week to go hiking with some friends from the parish. Now, they are experts at hiking as they hike down into the Grand Canyon every year. I learned alot the 2.5 hours I was with them. We went hiking at Coronado National Park and in particular Montezuma Point. As we hiked the mountain that overlooks Mexico we chatted. They told me the noise alerts the animals that we are here and also any undocumented that might be passing through.

We have alot of international soldiers at the Army Fort here-Fort Huachuca. They are being trained to fight as NATO soldiers. My friends often take these soldiers hiking as it is one way for them to get off the Fort and to see part of AZ and these soldiers love hiking.

We saw the black fence that the U.S. put up between Mexico and U.S to keep undocumented out and when the fence hits the mountains it turns into a barb wire fence.  The international soldiers laugh at this fence because " you are the most powerful nation on earth, and you have to put up a fence to keep out people?"

I learned that before the fence was put up 1,000 people a day came across the Mexican border but now it is only about 600. Also, it isn't just Mexicans coming across the border now but Chinese, Somalians and many other countries.

They pointed out to me the "legal" hiking trail, that we stayed on and the "illegal" trails that those who cross the border take.

Many volunteers take time to pick up all the trash in the mountains left behind by hikers and the undocumented coming through.

When hiking at these high elevations-we were at  6, 755 feet, and with the very dry air, one needs to stop and hydrate every 15 minutes.

I saw where the summer fires burned and new life is beginning to come.  They told me the fire moved like a "fire devil". It spun like a tornado and that is why some houses got burnt and the one across the road didn't.

I saw four deer traveling down to the water hole and I finally asked, "What are these animal droppings I keep seeing?" They told me "bear", but not to worry because he had bear spray and as long as we keep talking the bear will hear us and stay away.

Black straight line is the border fence.
Border patrol vehicles were all over the area. We were leaving at dusk with a full moon when the shift of border patrol was changing. There was a bright light by the black fence so we knew there was activity down there and border vehicles were moving fast. Each vehicle has a spot to stay by themselves to monitor the foot traffic. At night they wear night goggles. When we met them we turned our lights off so as not to ruin their night vision. The couple always stopped to talk to the border patrol and thanked them for what they were doing.

Hiking trail
Full Moon to the East

And at the same time the glow of the setting sun in the West! What a contrast we saw from 6,500 feet!
Next week we are back in school and shortly my students should be hearing a presentation from the Jesuit Fathers who have a mission at Nogales, AZ and in Nogales, Mexico. They help the undocumented families who are being deported to Mexico. It will be interesting to hear how they view the  border and the black fence.

No comments:

Post a Comment