Adventurer Mark Kalch recently completed a nearly 4,000-mile journey from the “utmost source” of the Missouri-Mississippi river system to the sea, making him the first person to ever do this. The descent was part of Kalch’s 7 Rivers 7 Continents project, whereby he hopes to descend the longest rivers on each continent, and Canoe and Kayak magazine recently caught up with him to talk about the project and his most recent trip.
Photo courtesy Canoe and Kayak
In addition to talking about gear, the hardship of being away from his family, and paddling with a random old man for a while, Kalch also put his trip into perspective: “Of course [the paddling trips] can be super-difficult and often soul destroying but only in relative terms. If my latest descent got too hard, you know what? I could just stop. If I am a refugee living in a camp in sub-Saharan Africa, when things get tough I just have to keep on toughing it out. If I am a Marine on patrol in the Helmand province in Afghanistan, I have to go on each patrol wondering if today is the day I step on an IED or a sniper gets me. That is tough. For me these journeys are just slightly more exhausting holidays! Ha! I don’t want to understate how hard paddling 4,000 miles is, but I hope you get what I mean,” he told Canoe and Kayak. To read the full interview, click here.