As you walk the desert of Organ Pipe you may occasionally see gallon jugs of plastic water bottles spaced here and there under trees or bushes. We asked about this at the visitor center and learned that these are a water supply for Mexicans coming across the border illegally. Although you will see many border patrol cars and patrolmen in this area of Arizona, Mexicans still use this area as an illegal entry point. As we sat outside our camper in Gringo Pass we sometimes saw them passing through the campground. Mostly you will see young and middle aged men of working age, but some times you will see complete families with woman walking hand and hand with young children. Some only have the clothes on their backs, some have backpacks, a few may have suitcases, but most that we saw were just fat with layers of clothing topped with a winter coat. One morning we saw a group of men come illegally through the campground lead by a coyote, which is a man hired to scout out an area and then lead groups out of Mexico. We watched this man as he checked out the campground, then went back to Mexico and return with the group of six men who walked slowly through the campground. The same coyote led at least three other groups of six or seven people out of Mexico during that day. These people never look around at all and walk a steady slow to medium pace. Another day while walking behind the campground I saw a group of 9 or 10 young men and women, some carrying suitcases, and all wearing what appeared to be layers of clothing and heavy coats walking down the wash away from Mexico obviously illegal. Again they did not look at me at all. It is rather sad to see these people, hoping for a better life. We only saw two groups caught, one by an undercover agent whom we had previously seen in uniform, and another by a patrol car. In both cases they were simply lead back across the boarder from where they had come.
In the Organ Pipe area of Arizona you will see Mexican influences, which is not surprising as this National Monument is only a short distance from the boarder. Be sure to try some Mexican food while you are in the area. Here is a simple recipe for Frijoles Refritos, or Refried Beans as we English speaking people call them. You will find these with almost any Mexican meal that you order.
Mexican Refried Beans
2 Tablespoons bacon fat (for a more heart healthy version substitute olive oil)
2 cups cooked pinto beans (canned works well, if you wish to start from scratch using dry beans 1 cup dry makes about 2 1/2 cups cooked.)
1/2 cup cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated (optional)
Heat the bacon fat or olive oil in a frying pan. Add the cooked pinto beans and a little of the bean liquid. Mash the beans in the pan well. Fry the mashed beans for a few minutes, turning to prevent burning, until they form a thick paste. Top with the optional shredded cheese and briefly place a cover on the pan to melt the cheese.
Many saguaros are pock-marked with holes. Several animals find it convenient to nest inside a saguaro. The screech owl and the gila woodpecker are two that particularly favor saguaro nests.
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