I had to find something to do while I waited for the desert soil to dry out after the recent rain (so I can start dry-wash prospecting again.) It seems I’ve found it in studying the Border Patrol.

After my recent encounter with an illegal alien (see last blog post) I’ve been intrigued by the whole process of eluding the Border Patrol. Since I have the luxury of U.S. citizenship, I figure I have nothing to fear and I guess I’d come to think of it as a sort of cat and mouse game. As a little experiment I decided to take a hike over a nearby mountain and along the back side to see if anybody got suspicious. I wondered if the Border Patrol only monitored along the highway or if they kept an eye on the wide open spaces. After all, we hear that thousands of illegals enter the country each month and I wondered how they do it.

So I hiked a couple of miles into the desert and over a ridge of hills and walked along the back side. After I had been walking for about two hours I thought to myself:

“Ha! Those stupid Border Patrol guys are so easy to elude, any moron could do it.”

A few minutes later I heard the pounding of hoofs and saw two mounted and armed agents charge out of a gully and bring their horses to a skidding halt right in front of me.

“How’s it going?” shouted one of them in a friendly voice as his horse pranced in place and snorted saliva (or something) all over me from mere inches away. I know from experience that this is cop talk for “what the hell are you doing here?” It’s also Border Patrol talk for “say something so I can hear your accent.” Accent is better than passports for pegging someone’s nationality.

“Oh, just fine” I said, and wondered if that was enough speech to convince them of my U.S. citizenship.

It must have been because the agent chuckled and said “Darnit! We thought we had one.”

The agents and I then had a short, friendly conversation in which they disclosed that my presence had been detected by several observation posts. I congratulated them on a job well done. They wished me to “Have a nice hike!,” waved their caps and galloped off down the wash in a scene out of the old Roy Rogers TV show.

My little encounter left me more impressed than ever by those who make it into this country illegally. Any moron might be able to elude the Border Patrol – but I didn’t.