In the footsteps of Lewis and Clark I will launch an 18 foot solo canoe into the Headwaters of the Missouri River near Three Forks Montana. The headwaters is where the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison rivers join to form one great river called the Missouri. The Missouri River rises from the Rocky Mountains in Montana and travels 2341 miles through the Great Plains of United States and on toward the Mississippi River. The Mississippi then continues on for another 1000 miles to the gulf of Mexico. This is the path I will follow. The planned start date is mid-late May. If I make good decisions and have some luck I will arrive in the Gulf of Mexico in 4 months. This is the 4th longest river in the world
I have been dreaming of a trip like this since I first put a blade to water many years ago. The problem was getting 4 months free to do it. Jobs, kids and commitments were always a priority. Now, I don't have a job. Kids are away working at their own jobs or attending college and I am not getting any younger. I have spent the last few months preparing gear, gathering maps, and getting myself mentally prepared. Vicky has been super supportive and spent much of her free time this winter dehydrating the food that I will carry. This isn't my first long distance trip but I have never under taken a trip of this magnitude. I am not trying to prove anything to myself. Not trying to find myself, and not having a midlife crisis (well maybe a little of that). I just want an adventure. I have no weekly distance goals or time frame. This trip is truly about the journey.
While I have done a lot of preparing, reading and talking to others who have done the same trip I purposefully have tried to not get too carried away with the planning. I have the maps for most of the distances. I have looked at them, studied them a bit, and have a general knowledge about things. I have no detailed plans about portaging dams or where I will get resupplied, other than 3 or 4 drop points along the way where Vicky can send a package to friends or family. You only get to run a river for the first time once. Well, I am going to get about 3400 new miles this year. I want to discover things as I go. Meeting river people along the way will be a highlight of the trip. There is a Facebook page called "Missouri river paddlers” that has been extremely helpful in the planning. They have a whole group of "river angels" that help thru paddlers along the way with various needs, and I look forward to these meetings. I have never done a blog but people that have done this trip have inspired me to do so. Maybe I can payback or pay forward the paddlers that will launch next year. And, I am paddling this trip for Alex and the other kids who were dealt an unlucky hand in life. Please read about Alex and her dream in the link below.