Warm Southern Breeze

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Close To Home: An Alabama Native was First to Hike the Entire US/Mexico Border

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 9, 2019

“Border Walk,” by Mark J. Hainds, an Andalusia, Alabama native, documents his journey as the first individual to have trekked along the 1954 miles of the US/Mexico border.

While the Washington Post is getting clicks on their news feature story headlined “Is the border actually lawless? This father and son are hiking all 1,954 miles to find out.,” it was actually Mark J. Hainds, an Andalusia, Alabama resident, who was the first person to have ever hiked the length of the US/Mexico border.

In November 2014, the Research Associate and Research Coordinator with Auburn University and the Longleaf Alliance, resigned his 20-year-plus positions, and took temporary leave of his family, to hike the 1,954 miles of the US/Mexico border.

PBS documented his journey in a full-length feature film named “La Frontera,” which can be viewed for free at the link below:

https://southdocs.org/project/lafrontera/

His book “Border Walk” which describes his journey, was published in March 2018, and in April he authored an article which was published on Daily Kos website (“I Walked the Entire US-Mexico Border”) about his journey which also referenced his book.

He leads that story by writing, “On November 24th, 2017, I became the first person in history to have walked the length of the US-Mexico border.”

His feat was reported by:

• The Houston Chronicle in October 2016 (“A walk along the border: Man traverses Texas-Mexico line for documentary“)

Vice in October 2016 (“We Talked to the Man Walking the Length of the US-Mexico Border“)

• The Associated Press April 2017 (“Day 14: Fellow border travelers meet, in the middle of nowhere“)

• The San Diego Tribune July 2017 (“For 700 miles, hiker kept the border in view, and on his mind“)

among others, and included interviews on Fox Business News, and a 15-minute segment on the syndicated radio program, the Jim Bohannon Show.

Nick (L) and father Paul Pineda

The WaPo story mentions Paul Pineda, age 58, part owner of a Seattle, WA investment firm, and his son Nick, who are hiking all 1,954 miles of the US/Mexico border to see for themselves how it really is.

The elder Pineda grew up in El Paso, TX, and his four grandparents all hailed from Chihuahua state in Mexico, and came into the United States in the early 1900’s.

The father & son Pinedas are planing their hike in three stages, with the first leg of their journey taking them from the Pacific Ocean, south of San Diego, CA to Nogales, AZ – about 400 miles – in less than 3 weeks, or about 20 miles/day, and will then fly back home before beginning the second leg.

Most of the US land along the US/Mexico border is privately owned, and is not under Federal control. Trump’s wall would confiscate that land from the families who have owned it for many generations – in some cases, a hundred years, or more.

“Hike The Line,” featuring Tenny Ostrem and Claire Wernstedt-Lynch, two 27-year-old hikers who hiked the length of the US/Mexico border with assistance from Mark J. Hainds, was a finalist in the 2019 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

They’re planning on posting about their journey on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.

The WaPo story also mentions two young women – Tenny Ostrem from Kentucky, and Claire Wernstedt-Lynch from Maryland, who met on the Appalachian Trail in 2013 – who were among the first to have hiked the US/Mexico border, and acknowledge that they prepared for the trek for over a year with assistance from Mark J. Hainds, who was the very first person to have done it, which took him 3 years to complete.

Tenny and Claire documented their 175-day journey in a website/blog https://WalkTheBorder.com/, which has also been documented in a 33-minute film entitled “Hike The Line,” which was a finalist in the 2019 Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (British Columbia).

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