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Team: South
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
The Journey Begins with Hiking the Chihuahuan Desert
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The trekkers are dwarfed by the enormous open spaces of the BLM lands in the Chihuahuan desert

The trekkers are dwarfed by the enormous open spaces of the BLM lands in the Chihuahuan desert
Courtesy Catherine Kiffe

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A horny toad is one of the more unusual creatures of the Chihuahuan desert.

A horny toad is one of the more unusual creatures of the Chihuahuan desert.
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

Team South starts a long and historic journey today by hiking across BLM lands in southern New Mexico. These bumpy lowlands are at the northwestern corner of the Chihuahuan desert, which stretches far east into Texas and far south into Mexico. The Chihuahuan has none of the spectacular plants of other deserts, like the Joshua tree or the saguaro, but this modest landscape has sheltered quite a variety of human and animal life over the years.

These lands were originally part of the domain of the ancestral Pueblo people. About a thousand years ago, Athapaskan tribes came down from the north, and many of the people who later became known as Apache settled here. Spanish colonists settled along the Rio Grande, but feared Apache raids. When New Mexico became part of the US, the American Army pursued the Apache until it was deemed safe for homesteaders, miners, and the railroad

July 31, 2002
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The Trek: A Public Lands Journey
The Journey, or Trek, involved two groups of travelers: one starting north from the Mexican border and the second headed south from the Canadian. Their route lay entirely on public lands, a feat that has never been accomplished before. The trek began on July 31, 2002 and ended two months later when the two teams met in Wasatch-Cache National Forest near Salt Lake City, Utah on September 27.

Read about the trek, check out journal entries and photos, and browse our educational exhibits.




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