In December, a team of five, including Texans and immigrants, embarked on a monthslong journey from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Rio Grande using different modes of transportation: mountain bikes, horses, and canoes. Their purpose? To document the borderlands before further construction of a border wall and to explore how a physical wall would impact landowners, border culture, wildlife, public lands, and water access. The results will be part of a documentary called The River and the Wall, which they plan to release next year. Texas Monthly is following the, 1,200-mile trip, which is divided into six legs and is expected to end in February, in a three-part photo series.

This first installment includes photographs from their first two legs—there are also a few images from an exploratory trip taken earlier in the year to help them plan their journey. During the first leg, which started December 1, the five adventurers— filmmaker and horse trainer Ben Masters, conservationist Jay Kleberg, wildlife biologist Heather Mackey, Nat Geo Wild star Filipe DeAndrade, and Guatemalan American river guide Austin Alvarado—took mountain bikes from El Paso to Presidio. And for the second segment, which began December 11, they rode horses for 200 miles through Big Bend Ranch State Park to Boquillas.