Sunday, July 31, 2016

Louis in the Huachucas

In 2009, I had been camping in the Huachuca mountains of south Eastern Arizona for 65 days before I headed south of the border all the way to the Panama canal and back. During my 65 days camp out and survival outing, I enjoyed getting up early in the mornings, brewing a cup of Montana guides coffee and sitting by the creek to watch the animals come down to drink. Over a period of time I have seen many deer – both “Mulies” and white tails, Antelope, coatimundi,and other species come to slake their thirst.

One morning in particular, I was sitting on my pack in the shade of a live oak tree, sipping a cup of guides coffee ,waiting on my friend Matt AKA “The wildcat missionary” to show up so we could drive his truck deeper into the mountains to explore a trail to a remote spring. Suddenly I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye, Looking in that direction and saw an illegal alien limping down the trail wearing torn pants and sporting an injured knee.

Hailing the man in Spanish, and told him to take it easy and that I was friendly. After his initial "deer in the head lights look", he approached me, stuck out his hand and said "Hello, my name is Louis, I can speak English".

I shook his hand and introduced myself as Tomas. I asked about his torn pants and injured knee. Louis told me that he ran after seeing a "Fucking Oso"(Bear), fell and hurt his knee.

After talking for a bit I asked him if he was hungry and he said "Yes". I fired up my stove and made some more Guides coffee and broke out some of the grub I had in my pack.Louis in turn got out a large bag of "Carne seca"(dried meat), this was the good stuff, slowly dried over a smoky mesquite fire - not the over priced, chemical filled "Jack links" type junk you get in the USA.

Taking a look at his injury, I had him clean it with some hand sanitizer and baby wipes, next I made some ointment for it by mixing crushed aspirin, garlic powder with a few drops of olive oil.

After he applied my home made ointment to his injury, we covered it with a bandage made from a napkin and some duct tape, which I peeled from my Nalgene brand bottle. All in all not a bad job for and adhoc first aid application. we couldn't do much for his torn pants other than sew them up but Louis declined the use of my sewing kit.

We sat there chatting over coffee and jerky , he showed my pictures of his wife and 3 boys in Maryland. I was told by him that he had been living and working in Maryland for 12 years , he was deported back to Honduras after being caught driving without a license.

Personally, I really appreciated the fact that he preferred to speak English to me instead of his native Spanish.

Louis told my that he had been traveling for 68 days since leaving his parents home in Honduras. He jumped the Border into Arizona at Nogales Mexico and had been walking across the Canelo(cinnamon)hills and Huachuca mountains for 4 days when I ran into him.

Being a world traveler, survival oriented, minimalist type of guy, 68 days of trekking is pretty impressive to me. He had only the clothing he was wearing,150 bucks of Mexican pesos, and a small day pack with some food, water and medicines in it.

No Knife, shelter, maps, etc. It impresses me that Louis would take off alone across an unknown range of mountains with very little in the way of equipment.Shoot... he still had to get past the Border Patrol, and get all the way back to Maryland to be with his family again. I'm not sure but it has to be around 2000 miles to Maryland from this part of Arizona.

After answering a few of his questions about the town of sierra vista, and filling his water bottle in the stream, Louis shouldered his pack, and handed me the rest of his "Carne seca" as a gift for helping him. I wished him "Bueno suerte" and "adios".

The last I saw of this tough little Indian guy was as he took off at a trot over the hill heading for town. I dont agree with Illegal immigration but, I have a grudging admiration for the guts and desire it takes to complete the type of trek Louis had made. I hope he makes it.

See you on the trail,


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