Do not discount yourself from walking the Migrant Trail Walk based on your age. We have had people under ten and into their 90s walk with us, and we support each other to make it out of this hostile environment safely. However, sixteen years of walking together has given us some useful insight to share. While we aim to be as inclusive as possible to our community with its varied needs and gifts, we are a volunteer effort. Much of our journey takes place far away from basic accessibility resources and medical services. With that said, here are some considerations that might help you decide if walking the Migrant Trail Walk is a good fit for you.
Temperatures: The Migrant Trail Walk happens in the Arizona desert at the start of the heat season. Temperatures vary from the low 40s to 117 F during the walk. It can get very cold at night and very hot in the day! How do you handle these temperatures? What is your tolerance for cold? What is your tolerance for extreme hot weather?
Flora, Fauna and Allergies: The Migrant Trail Walk is a solidarity experience that happens in a desert ecosystem, and we spend the first days of the walk several hours from emergency medical assistance. We may come into contact with dangerous plants, snakes, scorpions, spiders and other insects, and our camp has been invaded by bee colonies in the past. Bee stings are not uncommon. While we can carry an epinephrine pen, we recommend you bring what you need for known allergies and carry it with you at all times. If you are extremely allergic to something and know you may be exposed during the Walk, we recommend you consider your wellbeing and support us in another way.
Heavy lifting: Most participants bring a tent, sleeping pads/bags, clothing and hygiene items. Each person’s gear will weigh between 30-50 pounds. Are you able to carry your gear for short periods of time during loading, unloading and set up each day? Are you able to set up your own sleeping space? If not, will you be accompanied by someone you can support you in these tasks? Have you made arrangements with that person and are you both clear on the expectations?
Vehicle entry and exit: Are you able to get in and out of a large passenger van or 4×4 truck on your own?
Navigating uneven terrain: Are you able to walk 50-100 feet in desert terrain (avoiding thorny plants, on uneven ground, etc.) during the day? Are you able to use a flashilight to do this in the absence of light? (Portable toilets are set up a short distance from our camp to offer privacy.)
Team work: Although we do not expect everyone to walk the 75+ miles during the week, we do expect everyone to be able to work as a team and support the walkers. The Walk requires a high level of support from everyone.
If you believe that walking the Migrant Trail Walk may not be a good fit for you physically, there are a number of very important ways you can support the journey.
You can follow our media posts and help us distribute the information.
You can sponsor a walker by donating for their registration.
You can share in your social media spaces about the walk and about migrant deaths.
You can encourage journalists at your local paper to cover the walk and/or write a letter to the editor. Contact our media team for more info!
You can enroll in our list serve to receive the latest news about the Walk and migrant deaths in the Arizona desert and how to advocate.
You can share information about the migration related work of our sponsors – visit azmigranttrail.com for a list of our sponsors.