He’s the 80-year-old who canoed the entire Mississippi River. At the time of the article, Dale had been nominated for an award and I’m happy to report that thanks to your votes he won.
Dale’s nomination was for Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s Spirit of Adventure Award. This prestigious honour is given to the person who most inspires others to pursue outdoor adventures. Previously, only three people had won this coveted prize and if you read this column regularly you will remember two of them: Janet Moreland and Keith Lynch, both of whom paddled long distances.
Dale became the fourth person and the first senior following his 2,320-mile or 3,700-km descent of the Mississippi in 2015. To claim his award, he attended at ceremony in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 4. There were 200 to 300 people at the event to hear the results in several categories including paddler of the year and canoe or kayak trip of the year. They cheered when the winner for the Spirit of Adventure was announced. “The room exploded with clapping,” Dale recounted afterwards. “I jumped up and shouted and danced.”
Congratulations to Dale and thank you to everyone who voted for this deserving expedition paddler.
Speaking of expedition paddlers. I’d like to update you on Kris Laurie. He’s the canoeist you read about in the May edition of Your Life is Now. Kris is paddling from Montana to the Gulf of Mexico following his mother Leslie’s battle with bladder cancer. Kris wanted to give his mother something to look forward after her treatment. She joined her son for about 400 miles of paddling earlier this summer.
Since then, Kris is travelling solo and recently survived a grueling storm in South Dakota. I’ll let him tell you about it.
“Lightning was all around me. It was close. There was no discernible delay between the flash and the boom. Then I lay down on the ground to become still less of a target. The embankment was disintegrating mud and I sank into the wet ground where my hip and shoulder contacted it more heavily.
I did my best to tuck my legs inside my poncho and pulled the drawstring around the hood tight enough to lessen the rain blowing sideways into my stinging eyes. I was in a semi-waterproof cocoon, although my clothes were already soaked. I wasn’t cold, but I could feel the temperature dropping and I could not see the other side of the storm.
Looking to the west, the sky was black to the horizon, filled with lightning. I lay there and wondered if I was going to die. I wasn’t particularly scared. I wasn’t full of humor either. I was in a place of detachment. I think I accepted in that moment that if this was it, this was it. It was humbling. I was forced into complete surrender before this storm that seemed furious with me. But even in that moment I knew that anthropomorphism is not fair. The storm did not care.”
Kris survived the harrowing experience and is approaching Kansas City, Missouri. If you’d like to visit his blog and see his pictures, please visit www.avoidingbarges.com.