Heat has Hainds walking border at night

Published 3:03 am Thursday, June 29, 2017

“About a week,” that’s what Andalusia’s Mark Hainds said of how long it will take him to complete the last piece of his quest to walk the entire U.S. Mexico border.

Wednesday, the Star-News caught up with Hainds, who was resting at an underpass near I-8.

“I have made it all the way through Arizona with the exception of 32 miles of El Camino Del Diablo,” he said. “I plan to go back and do that during Thanksgiving break. The heat was just too much.”

Hainds, who has been walking for a few weeks, said that temperatures have swelled to 117 degrees in Arizona during the day.

“My wife or my sister has been dropping me off around midnight or 2 a.m., and I’ve been walking until about 10 or 11 a.m. every morning, when it hits about 100 degrees,” he said.

On Wednesday, Hainds had made it about 30 miles into the Imperial Sand Dunes, which is also called the Algodones Dunes and is located in the southeastern portion of California near the Arizona board and Baja California.

“The heat has been tough,” he said. “But I think about a week will get the entire border done minus the 32 miles in Arizona that I plan to knock out on Thanksgiving break.”

Hainds said he feels good about his journey being nearly complete.

Walking at night, he said, has been intense.

“I’ve come across millipedes, scorpions, lizards, really neat vegetation,” he said. “When I was walking I was seeing these really interesting patterns. I found out those were sidewinders.”

Hainds said that people warned him about coming across snakes while walking at night, but he hasn’t seen any yet.

“I wanted to see some,” he said. “I don’t want to step on them, but I’d like to see them.”

Hainds, who is a local researcher and forestry instructor at LBWCC, started his journey in 2014, when he completed the nearly 1,200-mile journey along the Texas-Mexico border.

Last year, he started walking from El Paso and west along the border.

He walked from El Paso to Yuma, Ariz., during Christmas break and spring break.

With the completion of the journey, Hainds should be the first person to have ever walked the entire border, he said.