They told him, “You won’t make it! They will kidnap and kill you!”
Undeterred, he left his family and his job for a 1,000-plus mile trek along the Texas-Mexico Border. And on the banks of the Rio Grande, he began to realize just how wrong we are, about virtually every aspect of life and death along La Frontera.
Mark Hainds put the toes of his hiking boots into the Pacific Ocean Thursday with the U.S.-Mexico border just off to his left — where it has been during his entire 700-mile journey.
“I dunno,” Hainds said, his clothes covered in dust and his face well-tanned and garnished with a scruffy beard. “It’s a weird thing. I should be feeling celebratory, but I haven’t figured it out.”
Since December, Hainds has hiked in two-week clips from El Paso, Texas, to Friendship Park at the southwestern edge of San Diego County. It was the culmination of a trip he started three years ago, also from El Paso, but headed east, along the Rio Grande to Brownsville, Texas, where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. He finished the first leg on Dec. 21, 2014, and started the second jaunt exactly two years later.
He’s one of the few people to hike the United States’ border with Mexico, and between the two legs of his trip, the views of that geopolitical boundary have shifted dramatically and promise to change the relationship between the two countries. On the campaign trail and now as president, Donald Trump pledged to build a wall along the border to prevent unauthorized immigration, hire 5,000 border patrol officers, and cancel or dramatically change the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal that made it easier for cross-border business. –
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