Wow, we eclipsed 2000 miles. To mark the occasion, we’re going to take a few minutes to reflect on that because it’s actually pretty exceptional if you think about it.
Now let me preface this by saying we’re completely aware of single paddles that cover hundreds – even thousands – of miles for good benefits, causes, expressions of human fortitude and world records. And though I’m midwest-modest to a fault at times, it’s be easy to let this achievement pass without much ado but that’d be doing us a disservice to this small-potatoes blog and all the work that’s put into it.
2000 miles of covering rivers and creeks in a tiny regional area in the midwest shouldn’t be overlooked. These 2000 recorded miles are the result of hours and hours of planning, preparation, research and mapping. Hours hoping for more rain, less rain and always less wind. Hours of watching gauges, watching weather, sometimes hoping stormfronts would move in, sometimes hoping they wouldn’t, and sometimes not believing they did. Hours of driving, scouting, putting-in, taking-out, restroom stops, fueling up, meeting up, waiting. Hours of tying up boats, patching boats and cleaning boats.
Hours shuttling. Via Car. Via bike. Bike shuttling when the road gradient is best suited for the Tour De France. Bike shuttling when your bike can’t even shift to third gear and the tire is nearly flat. Bike shuttling in the dark on gravel roads best suited for ATVs.
Hours Finding a campsite. Or firewood. Eating Stove Top because Barry doesn’t care. Eating a campfire homage to the Sheh-meh-neh ala Burrito Drive because Timothy does care.
Hours of good times and bad. Poison ivy, oak and wild parsnip. Spiders, snakes and ticks – oh the ticks… – drawn to Timothy like moths to a flame.
Hours charging batteries to every electronic device we had. Hours spent searching for (or, yes, “borrowing”) electrical at park shelters. Hours spent drying out every electronic device that fell in the water. Multiples cameras, a GoPro and an iPhone.
And then there’s the hours of time spent on a Mac and PC in Microsoft Word, Blogger, Google Maps, Text Edit, Photoshop, editing movies, editing pictures, editing words, emailing back and forth and forth and back, etc.
And the everyday hours. Rubbernecking at every stream we pass, then Google Mapping it to see if it’s paddable. And the not everyday. Having a Kayak stolen and spending time filling out police reports.
And the paddles themselves. Paddling a bunch of bad shit that nobody in their right mind would paddle, only so we can share the good. Toiling in nasty muck and mud and algae and carcasses and god knows what else. Hours of shitty weather, cold water, scrapes, bruises, sunburns and portaging hell. Writing a book on top of writing a weekly blog (that in and of itself is a feat).
And of course, Getting lost. Hours spent getting lost despite the best effort to map and travel accordingly. Taking wrong turns. And then another. Getting lost because roads and names of roads change more often than one would think.
But then again, it is about getting lost.
Because, if there’s one thing we love about the whole damn thing, that’s what it’s about. Getting lost. Be it for a day, a couple days or just an hour. It’s about that moment, come what may.
And making friends. New friends and life-long ones. All a result of this little blog.
And we share it freely because we really love, not just the exploration of the next great paddle, but the freedom we have inside a floating vessel to search out places few people can access in this accessible world of ours. We can’t keep it to ourselves. We want others to paddle these places because the more we collectively paddle, the more these streams remain paddleable (it’s not like there’s a city stream-sweeper for rivers, ya know).
Last but not least, thanks to all you who really love this damn blog and all it’s awkward functionality (we’ll get to it when we’re not paddling). The friends, the fans, the contributors. Seriously, this wouldn’t have continued had it not been for the outpouring of random emails and messages of thanks and support. Those of you who have said “keep doing what you’re doing” are the best.
We’ll certainly keep doing.
Because it’s exciting, though it’s sometimes bull-shit but usually, it’s a helluva lot of fun.
Here’s to 1000 miles more (we’re keeping it conservative because we make some questionable choices. You never know when it’ll be our last report).