I came back to my property in Van Horn today. It's been raining so much the desert is unusually green. Pulling my teardrop trailer back to my land, somehow I got distracted and missed the last turn to park my trailer. In retrospect, I'm glad I did.
I noticed I had went too far when a familiar cow carcass was too close to me. This was frustrating in that I'd have to back up the trailer in the dirt with no easy way to turn around. But, it didn't take long for me to see some people about a quarter mile ahead dressed in black, crossing over the "road".
To put some context on this, Culberson county has a population density around two square miles per person. One of the least populated areas in the country. The fenced "subdivision" my property sits in has practically no one or anything for many sections (a section is a square mile). I've ridden miles of it without seeing hardly any structures, let alone people.
In the "area", I once saw some side-by-sides drive by. Not really concerning, there's a rancher who lets cattle graze on the land here. I've also seen two hunters, who were wearing orange like they should. I think the hunters were just as scared as I was, but meeting them went well.
So seeing people here is questionable. Seeing people dressed in all black is very questionable. I'm barely at the edge of cell coverage, no radio repeaters that I can hit, and I haven't had a chance to mount my scope to my Scout rifle. My AR-15 had the trigger retainin pin walk out and I fixed it not long ago, only had a very partial magazine loaded. It also only has iron sights, which is not favorable with the distances involved. My locking front hubs to engage 4x4 are manual, so I'd have to go out and turn them with a crescent before using 4x4 if I really have to make a run for it. And I have a trailer hitched, so really I have little chance at all. I'm carrying a snub nose revolver and have a single-stack Glock in my backpack. Against my guess of a half-dozen assailants, my odds aren't good especially if they are armed. Given that they are dressed in black, something seems more professional about them. They seem less innocent and more dangerous.
I'm also still not all that great about backing up trailers. I decide to take a quick video (where you can see almost nothing but the faintest black dots moving if you look closely) and get back to my land. They don't seem to notice me. Maybe they are exhausted from walking all day, I'm not sure.
I only have to go forwards once to correct my trailer reversing. For me this is pretty good. I park next to my large, rat infested trailer. I can see them walking in the distance still.
At this point, my primary focus is on having a weapon I can engage them at over these distances. I'm guessing 200-300 yards. This is much of the point behind my Scout rifle.
I find my scope in the box and see if I can spot them with it. I've almost never used a scope before, especially an intermediate eye relief scope, and in retrospect it's embarrassing how long it took me to get the scope oriented correctly so it was magnifying. Either way, I don't get a clear picture of them. I run over to the trailer roof top and they seem to be out of sight. Still, I need to be able to defend myself. I'm 15 minutes from town (a town of 2,500 people) and have no one who can protect me other than me in this moment. I also feel some duty to pursue them and find out what's going on. Maybe they aren't just crossing the border, I wonder. Maybe they're hunters who forgot to wear orange. But surely, I would have noticed if they had rifles. I guess that also rules out a military training exercise.
It's not long after this that I figure out I can't mount my scope how I was intending. The scope rings included are for mounting over the action, which is too close for an intermediate eye relief scope. I ditch that plan. At this point it becomes clear they are likely not interested in me and I'm also just too out numbered. I send some texts from a phone that will barely charge through a hotspot whose battery suddenly went on the frits. A particularly beautiful woman suggests calling Border Patrol. This was probably the best option for me.
The 800 number is useless. IVR with a bunch of options that don't seem relevant. I find the Van Horn station number and call. Immediately, someone picks up. I explain and they transfer me to a supervisor. I explain again. About thirty minutes later, to my surprise, two agents between two different vehicles showed up. Keep in mind I can't exactly give them a street address, this is rather off the grid. One of them had called a couple of times from his own cell phone clarifying directions. They were very friendly and their vehicle wore the same tires as mine, meant for mesquite thorn resistance.
They left in pursuit of the footprints. This was 80 minutes after they crossed the section of road, they were easily a few miles further by now. Some time passed and one of them drove off, leaving the other behind to keep walking. I started to get a bit concerned if the agent was alright as he'd been on foot for over 90 minutes. I hadn't heard gun shots, so at least that was promising.
Eventually, a Border Patrol truck came up the road with someone in the back. It went down the road with an empty bed, and then the SUV (Tahoe or Suburban) drove off as well.
To my surprise, I got a text from the agent. I had sent him the video I took and asked for him to let me know if I could help in any way. He said thank you, and that they caught them. I couldn't believe it. They were some kind of border crossing invaders after all, quite literally almost in my backyard. This has me elated.
Now as I write to you from my teardrop trailer, I'm not so elated. I keep hearing noises that I can't explain. Visibility out of the teardrop is poor, but the thuds that come from around my truck seem to have no source. There's lots that can make noise out here. But somehow realizing that invading foreigners could be walking right by me is very, very concerning. Maybe they have a new route now. And I think quite likely, perhaps they were also smuggling drugs. Either way, there was some type of "professional" help and likely a caravan service involved. Somehow, my property is on their route. Maybe they will change the route now, I don't know. I thought being 60+ miles from the border and north of I-10 instead of south, would help. It was not enough.
I've never had anything of mine messed with out here. Now I realize how easy it would be for them to see it and with any curiousity, take my things to be their supplies.
The reality is that these people are knowingly crossing illegally. They know the risks. They have little incentive to not steal while they are at it. They are already "in trouble," and their demeanor is likely not one of innocence. Sure, some do cross intending no harm and only to better their families. I think in reality, citizens of broken countries tend to just make more broken countries. These are foreign invaders, plain and simple.
It was hard enough to become comfortable out here at all. My little bit of peace has subsided. Now I wish the only thing I had to worry about was a selection of mountain lions and coyotes.
Part of me wants to leave and feels scared. Another part wants to build a fort of a house and help catch more of these people who think they can just waltz on into out nation without any issue.
I went out and took some photos of the foot prints and path where they must have been when I saw them. It's pretty eerie. I think they cross more than we realize. Supposedly, El Paso alone has 12,000 caught last month. Imagine how many weren't caught.
I hope I can sleep. I wonder if I will ever regain trust in this place, now offically my home. Although in reality, I'm still a vagabond.
Thanks for reading.
Video I took: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIFRBbeO6oc