Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands

Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands

Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands

Dead in Their Tracks: Crossing America's Desert Borderlands

Synopsis

In one of the hottest, loneliest spots on earth, John Annerino hooked up with four Mexican nationals determined to cross the border illegally. Their choice was simple: risk their lives crossing the desert for a poorly paid job in El Norte or stay in Mexico and watch their families starve. Annerino and his companions would have died in that vast, unforgiving land had they not shared the water they had and helped one another with the encouragement that seemed pointless at the time. Dead in Their Tracks is the true story of a desperate human struggle in a bleak, beautiful wilderness.

Excerpt

"The Tinajas was a vast graveyard of unknown dead . . . the scattered bones of human beings slowly turning to dust . . . the dead were left where they were to be sepulchered by the fearful sand storms that sweep at times over the desolate waste."

Don Francisco Salazar, 1850 on the Camino del Diablo

DUST DEVILS whirl around us as the raw sun torches the bleak landscape. The hot sand blisters our feet. The vast desert swallows our footsteps. And the distant mirages consume our dreams.

We plod on, breathing in the scorched air of the morning sun. The wet bandanas covering our mouths do little to soothe our parched throats. And the hot water steaming in our plastic jugs does little to slake our incurable thirst.

Yet every ten to fifteen minutes I stop and force myself to choke down a mouthful or two of the putrid liquid. And each time the hot water washes across my stomach I gag. But it is the only way to stave off dehydration and death in the merciless Lechuguilla Desert.

For the last five days I've coaxed my two companions to do the same. And now that we've entered the heart of this killing ground, I'm berating them to guzzle their water as well. But they will have none of it. Fatigue and heat stress have fogged their thinking. And they insist on sipping and saving their water, even as they fall further and further behind.

Dave is the first to go down, staggering then collapsing in the hot . . .

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