One Last Stop

On the day of our departure, Katie and I took a shuttle to the airport and loaded two carts with our luggage. When I saw the immense pile, it finally sunk in that we really were moving to China. In deciding what to pack, my biggest concern was that I wouldn’t find pants or shoes in my size. I ended up taking every pair I owned. We wheeled our luggage carts to the counter and checked in our five bags, each of which weighed nearly fifty pounds… Read More

Seattle Bound

My next stop was to be Seattle, and I had come on this trip without any flights or hotel rooms booked. My lack of planning came in handy: Cathi Jo, one of the rafters in our group, was driving to Seattle that afternoon. We loaded our stuff into her car, said goodbye to the Madison contingent and made our way to I-90 for the last leg of my cross-country road trip… Read More

Paradise Camp

We had the rest of the day to relax, cliff jump, fish and watch the looks of disappointment as the other rafters passed us (the happy campers actually existed, and they were hung over)… Read More

The Longest Day

I navigated around a few rocks, fighting hard against the current, trying to stay left. This effort proved futile as the current dragged my boat to the right, turning me perpendicular to the river. I slammed against a rock and water rushed over me. I tried the counter-intuitive method of leaning into the rock so that the current would safely flow under my boat and shove me free. The hydraulic was too strong, though, and I got “window-shaded” – thrown upside-down as the current grabbed my upstream edge… Read More

More Dangerous than a Rattlesnake

Water dribbled onto my head, waking me up in the middle of the night. Startled, I looked around and quickly realized that it was raining. I rolled over and wrapped my tarp around my body, figuring I could tough it out. Then a flash of lightning lit up the sky, followed by a loud thunderclap. Several other tents glowed as their occupants scrambled to put on their flys while wearing their headlamps… Read More

Launching on the Selway

The river’s crystal-clear water trickled gently next to us, not betraying the massive hydraulics that lurked a few miles downstream. I understood that the dusty road above us would be the last one we would see for the next several days. In fact, there would be no towns, or even houses, along the way. The Selway is one of the most pristine rivers remaining in the United States. Each year, only sixty-one groups are granted permits to run it, and this year we were lucky enough to get one. When we were sure that we were ready, Dan gave a short river talk, mainly letting us know that safety was our top priority, and we were off… Read More

Preparing for the Selway

Our Selway group was sixteen strong, a mishmash of current and former Hoofers. Everyone in our group who was already in Missoula met at the Montgomery Distillery. Most of us dressed up, and as I sipped my “Go Gingerly” cocktail, I had a hard time picturing the group in our element, kayaking down a whitewater river, eating dehydrated meals out bags and going a week without showering… Read More

The Journey Begins

July 18, 2014
Day 0

My journey began at 3:00 p.m., when Caitlyn picked me up at my house in Madison, Wisconsin. I had spent all day and much of the previous night packing. Caitlyn and I spent the next four hours picking up our other passengers, loading gear and strapping kayaks on top of her van. In the end, we were carrying five boats and five people. There were also a few extra bags aboard – for me, this was a one-way journey… Read More

Updates on China, My Book and More

I have lots of exciting updates to share with you.

China

Soon I will move to Beijing with my girlfriend Katie. Our flight is set for July 30, and we’ll live there for the next two years. Neither of us has been to Asia, so this promises to be a fun adventure. I will begin blogging more regularly once I get Beijing… Read More

Chasing Winter: The Last, Grand Hurrah

By the time we reached Munising, on Lake Superior’s south shore, seven inches of fresh powder blanketed the land. The forecast called for seven more inches in the next twelve hours. A local gas station attendant thought we were crazy for driving north in an April blizzard. (She also said, “We only have two seasons here: shovelin’ and swattin’.”) For us, coming to Munising was rational: this was our final chance to climb the best ice the Midwest has seen in decades… Read More