You have to wonder what caused those early pioneers -- bound for the West Coast, motivated by the promise of gold or, more simply, water -- to plunk down and set up camp here in the Sonoran Desert. The Native populations -- Navajo, Pima, Apache -- who had inhabited the land for more than 10,000 years had slowly learned over time how to survive in the desert. How to irrigate and farm. How to, almost literally, extract water from stones. Yet in the case of those who settled before reaching that utopian vestige of Manifest Destiny -- the Pacific Ocean -- the decision to stay, to establish cities and lives, seems in hindsight almost defeatist, as if they felt physically unable to go on. Or, possibly, they found something out here... More >>>
Giant steps: Joey Burns (left) and John Convertino are Calexico.