Starting in western Montana, Kris is the first person to descend the entire Missouri and Mississippi River system by canoe. A handful of other paddlers have completed the journey before Kris, but they all used a kayak.
Kris’ mother Leslie joined him for a portion of the trip, as was her son’s intention since the early days of planning the expedition. Leslie is recovering from bladder cancer. To give her something to look forward to, but also something to train for, Kris decided to embark on this journey so his mom could be a part of it.
As a cancer survivor, Leslie was hoping the canoe voyage would raise $3,800 for bladder cancer research. That’s one dollar for each mile her son travelled during his six-month odyssey.
In the course of his half-year decent of North America’s longest river system, Kris raised $3,729, but before you think Kris fell agonizingly short of his $3,800-goal, keep in mind at the end of his expedition he raffled off his canoe and raised a further $1,500 bringing the sum to $5,229.
The trip wasn’t without hardship, as Kris described in regards to a vicious storm he endured in South Dakota.
“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.” Fortunately, the storm passed and Kris survived unharmed.
One event he might not be able to forget is finding a body while canoeing with his girlfriend between Omaha and Kansas City. “We were paddling through the gloomy morning for only 20 minutes when Korrin and I spotted an unusual-looking thing floating down the river not far from our boat. She asked me what it was and I said I didn’t know. I told her I didn’t think it was a body, but she might want to look away. I paddled closer to the object and, sure enough, it was a young man, clearly deceased, floating down the river. We paddled a comfortable distance away and I called 911 and relayed our location and what we found.”
Because of his interest in nature, Kris collected water samples along the way for a non-profit organization called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. ASC collects data about the planet’s waterways and they will check Kris’ samples for micro-plastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm. That information is to help ASC study the effect of pollution on rivers in the United States.
If you’d like to read his blog and see his pictures of his trip, visit: www.avoidingbarges.com.
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans.He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.