"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mississippi River: Super Highway of Adventure


Living in Illinois and working in St Louis I drive over the Mississippi river two times each day, five days each week.  Sometimes more.  For most of my life the Mississippi was never looked upon as a source of recreation.  Any recreation on the water was done at Carlyle lake, a longer drive than the river but "cleaner".  I think Dave Cornthwaite was a bit shocked on his stand up paddleboard journey that more people didn't use the river for recreation.  I told him that at least in the St Louis area the Mississippi is just not thought of in that way.  It is seen more as a highway for barges and other commercial interests.

What I have discovered though is that while the locals may turn their backs to the river it is actually a super highway of adventure.

The first time I ever heard anyone suggest a trip down the length of the Mississippi was around ten years ago.  The guy was all talk and I knew he would never do it (and he never did), but I was blown away by the enormity of the challenge.  Since that day ten years ago my life has changed considerably and in the past few years I have become more aware of the world of adventure and in that awareness have realized that in 2011 no less than three people endeavored to stand up paddle board the length of the river on three different journeys.  Alex Linnell was first, followed by Dave Cornthwaite, and last and in this case especially not least was Matthew Crofton .  All three men hopped on a board and headed south until they reached the Gulf of Mexico. They only saw the adventure that was before them, and not the misgivings some locals might have about it being a "dirty" river unsuited for their purposes.

2012 proves to be another busy year on the mighty Mississippi, in fact it may even be busier than 2011.  So far I know that Matt Fraser, Sam Norman, and Harry Hogg will be paddling their kayaks from Lake Itasca in Minnesota all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico for their Mississippi Challenge.  Then there is Mark Kalch who will be paddling from the source of the Missouri river in Montana all the way to the confluence with the Mississippi and down to the gulf as part of his 7Rivers 7Continents project.  Another adventurer coming down the Missouri-Mississippi route is Andy Campbell who starting in 2012 will be working his way around the world, in a wheelchair, "but not just a wheelchair" according to his website.  Lastly and while not technically in the Mississippi, Dave Cornthwaite will be returning to swim 1000miles on the Missouri river ending at the confluence with the Mississippi.

This coming weekend I will be attending the Alpine Shop Great Canoe and Kayak Event to hear Michael Clark of Big Muddy Adventures speak about circumnavigating the city of St Louis.  Apparently he and some friends paddled the River Ring around St Louis (Mississippi, Missouri, Meramec, Bourbeuse ).  What an amazing accomplishment and until I read the announcement a couple days ago something I had never even considered and from what I understand they plan to do it again in 2012.

Wherever you live stop and take a look around with a fresh perspective, you might be surprised at all the opportunities that you never realized where available to you.  Adventures are born from creative minds that see the possible, although often times difficult path before them.



Look for more information on all of these adventures here at Trail and Error.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Adventure is where you find it

The word "adventure" often conjures up images of epic trials in far off lands, and all too often the adventure spirit is doused because we lack the resources, or time away from work to embark on such grand journeys.  But what I have come to realize over the past year is that adventure can often be found close to home and doesn't require you to quit your job and sell your house.  Most adventures will never be written about in the pages of National Geographic or filmed documentary style for viewing in an I-max theater, but that doesn't make them any less of an adventure.
As I sat down to write this post it occurred to me that last year Al Humphreys championed the cause of Micro-Adventures.  I came late to the game and didn't ride the 2011 wave of micro-adventure and I was also busy doing my own thing.  But 2012 is a brand new year with brand new goals and aspirations.
Visit Humphrey's website to get some inspiration for your own micro-adventures.  In his own words Humphrey's states:


"Adventure is only a state of mind.
I believe that adventure is about stretching yourself: mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability.
If that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Adventure is accessible to normal people, in normal places, in short segments of time and without having to spend much money.
Adventure is only a state of mind."

So keep that in mind when you are contemplating your next trip out the door and where it might lead you.

Adventure is everywhere so splash some cold water on your face and look around with a fresh perspective.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pogo Madness


These guys are crazy.  Crazy awesome at pogo-ing!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Next Level Uni

This kid is sick!  I have yet to even learn to ride my unicycle so it blows my mind to see someone with that much skill on the wheel.  Respect!