We accomplished our goal!
The ten of us, hand in hand, reached the border as we had left the state line with Oregon: together. With us were some 40 other hikers who represented the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who made the entire walk possible. Today, an additional two volunteers, Jeff Crooks and Greg Abbott from the Tijuana River Reserve, helped by taking us across the Tijuana River in their boats.
From the Mexican side of the border Ing. Raul Soria Mercado from Playas de Tijuana spoke his words of greeting to us and literally showered us with gifts of fruit.
Showering us with fruit means that these tokens of friendship and solidarity had to be thrown over the monstrosity of a fence that serves as the border between the two countries.
It seems fitting that this rusting hulk of disparity should be the end of this walk and the beginning of the work that follows towards creation of a continuous trail from Oregon to Mexico. With few exceptions, every single day we were confronted over and over again with fences, within this State the boundaries of class. ?Keep Out?, ?No Trespassing ? Armed Response?, ?No Public Beach Access?; all too often this was our greeting. But the joining of sea and land is a commons; a place for all of us: a place to renew our spirits, a place to come to so that we can contemplate our own place in the universe or just enjoy the water, the sand, the rocks, each other.
Finally, a personal note. It takes, I suppose, a special (or at least odd) person to contemplate a journey such as the one we have just made. Maybe strong willed is the appropriate term. Moreover, among such people conflicts are bound to arise and will. Our little walk was no exception and I want to thank Vina, my wife, who helped us formulate a resolution of conduct to minimize such conflicts and who helped by mediating when an impartial helping hand was needed. Thank you.
Amin Maalouf in his book Leo Africanus described what a group of travelers is really like. I think we came as close to meeting his description as is now possible:
?Seen from afar, a caravan looks like a procession; from close to, it is a village, with its stories, jokes, nicknames, intrigues, conflicts, reconciliations, nights of singing and poetry, a village for which all lands are far away, even the land one comes from, or the land one is crossing.? (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)
NOTE: The Board of Directors of Coastwalk wants to thank the Expedition members and the many, many volunteers, organizations, towns, cities and State agencies who contributed to the success of the Coastal Trail Expedition 03.
Left: June 3rd, the hikers pose on Pelican State Beach at the Oregon stateline. Center: Approaching the border.
Right: The finale at the Mexican - United States border.