Expect the unexpected. Changes come in all sizes and shapes. Our lives are dynamic, and so are our blogs…Since I imported all my content from 1Woman3GreatRivers last weekend, my blog appearance got knocked out of whack. Turns out this theme has been discontinued. I appreciate your patience while I play around with new themes and take on new changes.
A lot of chapters have opened up in my life since completing the three Great Rivers Expeditions. I’ve been teaching 7th grade Science, changing school districts, guiding on the Mississippi, participating in river cleanups, visiting friends and family in California, and suffering through four years of chronic back pain.
I’ve exported all of my posts from the other site, 1Woman3GreatRivers, back home to LoveYourBigMuddy. The last post I added on the other blog site was two years ago yesterday, April 27, 2017, when I left Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, for Atlin Lake and the Llewellyn Glacier, British Columbia, the Yukon River’s source. It was nearly impossible to post anything while on the Yukon because of its remoteness. Satellite posts were accomplished on my Expedition Facebook page, but I could not post photos unless I had WiFi, and that was a struggle to get access to as well. (You can visit that FB page and go to 2017, June through July, to follow that trip.) SO NOW, I am consolidating and going full-scale LoveYourBigMuddy blog again. It is hard enough maintaining one blog, but TWO? Impossible for me.
This summer I am going to start writing my book about the LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition. I’ll be recovering from back surgery beginning in two weeks, so the time is right. My brother, Jim Sullens, will help me with editing, and I’ve received a lot of good advice from author friends of mine. Also, sharing stories from the journey recently have made me realize that I HAVE A LOT of stories to tell. Then, there are the Mississippi AND the Yukon Rivers, too!
I’ll be in the river town of New Haven, MO, this weekend (May 4, 2019) for Miller Landing Days, a celebration of their historic culture and river history. I am listed as ‘story telling’ so that will be another avenue of review and preparation for writing. I’ll have t-shirts available to give away, or for a small donation.
I hope to share my progress on this LoveYourBigMuddy blog, hopefully getting it revved up again. I hope to post stories and photos to document further the adventure of it all. It may very well be that I have several chapters just on the first few days of the trip. I mean, a broken radiator, sleeping in our car at a truck stop in Wyoming after taking a wrong turn in a blizzard, a 6-hour ski into the source at the Continental Divide turned into 30 hours with no means for fire, food, or sleeping gear, day one on the water I nearly swamped my boat in a strainer and sprained my hand getting out of that mess, and the next day I ran into a shoreline snag on two different occasions, and popped TWO holes in my boat! SO MANY STORIES!
Welcome back to this LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition blog site. Please feel free to provide comments and ask questions. I will no longer be posting on 1Woman3GreatRivers, and will delete it soon. See You On The River!!!
You can follow my progress using my SPOT tracker, just like my other expeditions. Click on this link to access tracking. You will find my messages posted on my loveyourbigmuddy expedition page. My concern is power as i do not have my solar panel this time. SPOT takes batteries so i can keep it going. I will post messages using my satellite communicator. I should be back in Whitehorse in a couple weeks. I hope to work out kinks by then. Cheers all! Heading to Atlin in an hour so it may be a Monday splash. Going with the flow!!!
I arrived in Whitehorse yesterday, but nothing boring about the trip.
I will post here some of my Facebook “LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition” page posts because that is my main media for sharing.
Here we go…
I practiced packing in the kayak Tuesday morning. The foldable kayak is only 14′, three feet shorter than my other boat, Blue Moon. And, the owner who loaned it to me is a minimalist, of which i am NOT. I think i did pretty good for my practice run.
I made it in time to the airport for a burger before departure, but international search was cumbersome:
Air Canada would not let me on the plane b/c two minutes late because i was redirected through security for 3 ounces of water in my water bottle. I ‘missed’ my flight!! Let the adventure begin!! (I was actually quite ticked off!)
There’s my plane, six minutes past departure time, still sitting there, without me on it.
BUT THEN, as soon as i sat back down after photo-journaling the incident, they came and got me, something about couldn’t find my bags (4 of them, mind you!), and the plane had to be delayed. So, off i went, now quite polite, and slept all the way to Toronto.
Whew! Close call. Must’ve been angels on the wings…
The whole flight scheduled took 19 hours, three flights: St. Louis to Toronto to Vancouver (eight-hour layover) to Whitehorse. The flights were all wonderful, but best of all was the last segment to Whitehorse:
The magic is beginning to swirl around the expedition. I was blessed with another perfect flight on Canada Air AND a port-side seat looking west. We flew RIGHT OVER Atlin Lake, Llewelyn Glacier, and the Atlin River which is my exit stream off Atlin Lake. Oh, the thrill was incredible!!! Kid in a candy shop! WOW!
The source i am headed to is Llewelyn Glacier in the upper center of the photo. SO AWESOME!
Next Lake is Tagish, which was showing some signs of glacial waters.
I am camped now with a rental car and gathering the very lasy of my gear, trying not to accumulate too much. I picked up a new canister of Bear Spray, and a wool blend shirt for cold nights. I bought a burger and fries last night, YUM, and a Starbuck’s coffee this morning, YUM, after trying to get a shower in, but no darn hot water.
Feeling good now, at the library watching the river go by, Yukon River, that is, and squeezing in one last blog post. Earlier i sat by the river by camp and wrote this post:
The Great River Yukon making a couple twists and turns before presenting itself to the city of Whitehorse. Of course, there IS a paved path in a sweeping multi-mile loop up and down both sides of the river, with vista benches strategically placed, bicycles content to carry their happy riders, strollers with tiny passengers who are comforted by the babbling of their river sibling, dogs with swinging tails walking their obedient owners, joggers jogging, and walkers chatting.
Whitehorse is a hard-core river town in the middle of the Yukon wilderness. Life is ‘in’ the ‘outdoors’ (at least in the summer), as it should be. Strive to love what YOU do, inside and out, and do what you love.
Peace Out. Fasten your seat belts. We’re going on an adventure!!!
I AM CURRENTLY IN ROCK ISLAND, QUAD CITIES, WITH A DEAR RIVER SISTER, JO MASON AND HER HUSBAND, JOE. I AM TRAVELING VERY QUICKLY DOWN THE RIVER AND CANNOT FIND THE TIME TO POST ON THIS BLOG. PLEASE FOLLOW MY FACEBOOK PAGE, LOVEYOURBIGMUDDY EXPEDITION, TO FOLLOW ME DOWN THE RIVER. I WILL POST MORE TO THE BLOG BUT IT MAY BE AWHILE. COOKIN’ WITH GAS TRYING TO GET TO GULF ON TIME. HAVING A BLAST!
Please join me on my Facebook page. Hope you are able to do what you love, and love what you do! See you on the river! -Janet
The Great Missouri River is referred to as the Big Muddy. But, hey, so is the Great Mississippi River. As numerous paddlers of both rivers know quite well, these two rivers can be, indeed, quite muddy. While paddling down the Missouri River on my LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition in 2013, I have to admit the mud was abundant on the upper stretches, but silky soft and rather clean. I know, right?! “That’s impossible,” you say. I actually found that going barefoot in this mire of mud was the best way to go. Once in the boat my feet washed off easily, and off I went. That’s not to say that I wasn’t glad when the earth hardened up. Joy filled my soul with the simple pleasure of dirt, rocks and sand replacing the squishy brown muck.
I will be heading north to Lake Itasca, MN, the source of the Mississippi “Big Muddy” River, this May to begin a source-to-sea paddle of this other great river as part of my 1Woman3GreatRivers Project. My goal is to solo paddle the three longest rivers in North America. The Missouri River is the longest river on the continent at 2,540 miles, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), with the Mississippi coming in a close second at 2,320 miles (per Environmental Protection Agency-EPA). The third longest river is the Yukon River at 1,980 miles (per USGS), which I will attempt to paddle in 2017 from its source at Atlin Lake’s Llewellyn Glacier, to the Bering Sea. Yukon River means “Great River” in the Gwich’in language. “The Gwich’in are the northernmost Indian Nation living in fifteen small villages scattered across a vast area extending from northeast Alaska in the U.S. to the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories in Canada .” (http://ourarcticrefuge.org/about-the-gwichin/) More about the Gwich’in Nation, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and my 2017 Yukon Pursuit later.
I look forward to paddling the entire Mississippi River this trip so I can understand more about our nation’s historic and cultural monument, and to build upon that very magical and personal relationship we started in 2013. Here is a video snippet from LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition taken in early November on the Lower Mississippi. Love Your Big Mississippi 🙂
Now that I am teaching full time, my challenge is to complete my adventure in 60 days (70 days, perhaps, if we have no snow days), during my summer break. I am confident that my outcome will be successful and full of celebration, but my tempo will be vastly different from my Missouri River expedition, being challenged in strength, both physical and mental, and in endurance and stamina. Dictionary.com defines endurance as: “theabilityorstrengthtocontinueorlast, especiallydespitefatigue,stress,orother adverseconditions.”
I say, “Bring it on”!!!
I hope you will join me on this journey down our continent’s Great River to the Gulf.
Live slow ~ Paddle fast
Peace and Love, Janet
Know your river. Touch your river. Love your river.
I have been busy in post-expedition mode setting up my Mac Book Pro with all of my expedition photographs. I hope to utilize the iMovie and iPhoto programs to my advantage. Along the way I am stumbling upon some great stuff. This is one of my favorite interviews. Long time in the making, we finally connected.
I had the pleasure of talking with Paul Schmid on September 20, 2013, while at home on a week-long break. I believe this is the most in depth, heart and soul, interview I have had. I was rested, content, and motivated to see this journey through to success. And, my mission was clear in my mind.
For the three to five weeks prior to this interview, I had offered an apology to Paul on more than one occasion for missing an interview appointment. For example, in Omaha, upon arriving at the JP Dodge Marina, happy hour had begun and I was taken under the wing of a dock full of river angels.
“I’m so sorry Paul, I am going to have to reschedule again. Really, I am so sorry.”
What a great sport Paul was, and all good in the end. This is an interview I am proud of. Warm thanks, Paul.
Please click on the link below to listen to the podcast. The interview in its entirety is approximately 35 minutes.
Paul Schmid of the Pursuit Zone and I were finally able to coordinate schedules so we could talk about LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition while recording a poscast. We talked the other day during my week-long rest before heading to the Mississippi River, which I will do this morning (Wednesday, September 25).
I believe this is the most in-depth interview, in podcast form, I have had regarding my thoughts on the expedition. If you have a few minutes, like 30, please give it a listen.
I left a warm flock of river friends at Cooper’s Landing on April 14, headed for Montana. My daughter, Haley Moreland, and dear friend, Jeannie Kuntz, a.k.a., the LoveYourBigMuddy Support Team, traveled with me for six days before arriving in Livingston, MT, at the home of Norm Miller and Kristin Walker, a.k.a, Base Camp International, on April 20.
Nearly 5 months to the day, on September 16, I paddled into Cooper’s Landing to the warm arms and paddles of my friends and family, and reporters, too. Oh, what a wonderful day this was to celebrate completing two thirds of this Missouri River Source-to-Sea Expedition. Originally, I planned to paddle from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico in 2014. I changed my mind while paddling across Lake Francis Case.
Well, it took a little while to evaluate the change in plan, and in the end, I decided it was the right thing to do. So, I am taking a week-long break to tend to numerous tasks, preparations, and responsibilities (The week has passed and tomorrow I launch already, Wednesday, September 25).
This link should take you to a video of my arrival at Cooper’s Landing on September 16: (Thank you, Karen Rush)
As I came a’paddlin’ down the river, I saw Roger and Barb Giles’ sternwheeler way off in the distance. I thought maybe I was looking at a rock outcropping on the bank, but no, it was the sternwheeler. They reached me just above Rocheport and honored me with a cannon shot in the air. Wow! Feeling pretty special.
Then, a mother and her three children were standing on the bank of the river hooping and hollering for me and the expedition. They were enthusiastic and excited. That got me excited. We exchanged hand waves.
An indiscreet canoe with two shady characters paddled nearby. “Hey, I think I know you! Are you Jodi and Megan??? Well, yes you are, I know you!” Finally, these two pirate-ettes turned around and smiled. I had just met Megan in Glasgow when Scott and I camped. We all went out to dinner together. And, Jodi is an active volunteer for Missouri River Relief. Fantastic! We paddled together downstream.
Soon, we approached Airplane Island, across the river from the Huntsdale Ramp. I knew Steve Schnarr and Melanie Cheney were waiting for me at the island. I could see them. Great. However, they were only decoys for what suprise lay ahead. All of a sudden, kayaks and canoes came peeling out from behind a wing dike headed right for me. Oh my goodness! I was soon surrounded and taken down river to Cooper’s ramp, where a robust reception awaited. What a heart warming welcome. A fabulous reception and party ensued. This was a memorable day on the expedition. I live within one of the greatest river communities along the Big Muddy. I am so proud.
Since my arrival, I have been interviewing, repairing gear, dealing with pet issues, visiting friends (a little), spending time with family, attending Scott’s victory finish, updating my journal, cleaning the house, dehydrating veggies, restocking food, organizing photos, washing clothes, paying bills, and researching river maps and websites. I still have lots to do. I want to clean the boat, reorganize my load, replace rudder cables, apply new keel strip, update the blog, understand my GPS, read, and purchase gear, such as a marine radio for communicating with tugs and freighters. Oh, and take the dogs for a walk down by the river.
I am very excited to be heading out to paddle the Mississippi River. Both of my brothers worked on tugboats back in the 70s. One brother used to tell me to get a job on a tug as a cook. He LOVED working as a deck hand. I was too young, I thought, at 19. At 25 y/o I got a job cooking on a purse seine boat in SE Alaska one summer/fall season. After that experience, I went back to STL and tried to get a job on a tug as a cook. This was in the mid-80s, and their was a drastic reduction in barge traffic with grain embargoes in the south. It is time, at last, to meet the Mississippi.
I really enjoyed driving to St. Louis with Haley to see Scott Mestrezat complete the first ever Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Expedition down the entire length of the Missouri River. I was fortunate to have paddled many days with Scott, and I now consider him a dear friend. Congratulations, Scott! Well done, my friend.
I was also excited to see my other river brothers, Reed and Josh, with whom I was also fortunate enough to paddle several days on the river. They started at Three Forks and are heading down to the Gulf of Mexico. I will be just over a week behind them. We all share river blood, and I also consider them my brothers, even though I’m old enough to be their mother. Topping off a great visit to the big city was a quick visit with someone I admire greatly, and that is Shane Perrin, SUP paddler extraordinaire.
Today is Tuesday, September 24, and I am shoving off tomorrow morning to finish off this last leg of my historic expedition. I have barely enough time to do everything needed, and so I anticipate this day and evening will fly by. Oh, it will be good to be back on the water. Life will be simple and rewarding for at least another five weeks. Oh what a trip it has been!
I hope to fill in the rest of my trip as I am able. Thanks again for your patience.
Janet Moreland is attempting to become the first woman to complete a solo kayak trip down the entire length of the Missouri River, from its source at Brower’s Spring, Mont., to its juncture with the Mississippi at St. Louis. She has been sharing updates on her trip on her journey’s Facebook page and blog, and she gave the Missourian permission to share some of those posts.
Greetings from Fort Peck Lake! Oh what a trip it has been! I’ve experienced ‘breathtaking’ beauty, fought off ‘fear’ of predation, dealt with extreme mud anxiety, survived a wilderness electrical storm, fell in love with the animals, and elements, of the natural world, developed efficient use of time, met really cool people with giving hearts, and paddled hard for the last two weeks. I am sharing my days with high wind advisories but hope to reach the marina in a day or two. I will try and post more in the morning while I have a tower in range here at the Pines Recreation Area. I’ll be back!
Before embarking on this expedition, I would explain to journalists that I thought the trip would be more mental than physical. This is true in part. You need mental stamina to maintain the physical exertion needed for continuous paddling. And, you need mental strength to maintain composure when dealing with lots of mud, all the time.
This photo was taken prior to packing up the boat at Gist Camp in the Breaks, my last camp in the Monument. There was five feet of this mud between the semi-solid shore and the boat after I was able to move the boat out to the water once the river level dropped. Whatya gonna do?! You just do it.
Have I told you lately how much I love my pelicans?
Near Frazer, MT. Sweet.
Milestone sign after two months in Montana. [Fort Union. I bushwacked through a willow forest to get here from the river.]
Tuesday night’s sunset. Perhaps the most spectacular I have ever witnessed. Perhaps.
This is a view of where we are headed as soon as the wind dies. The veteran paddlers, with their words of wisdom, tell me, “Paddle when the wind is not blowing, no matter what time it is.” Having someone to paddle with as darkness envelopes the lake will offer additional paddling time for me. Also, the shoreline is not muddy, so finding a campsite is much easier. Simple pleasures!! [Sharing time with my new dear friend, Shawn Hollingsworth, at this location. Learn more about his expedition on Facebook at Canoe for a Cause, raising awareness for breast cancer.]
Found a nice spot on a point at a big bay entrance (the bay goes right). I like to be able to look at the stretch ahead, and feel the wind. What a gorgeous day for paddling, all day! So thankful. So tired.
Time to move. Here’s to our independence! Cheers! Love to all.
Something sweet and special about this little beach. Sand and rock, level spots close to water, somewhat protected, nice beach, maybe swimming, no mud, no cows, no road, no trucks, and situated right on the pulse of the lake. If it thunderstorms, I’m good. [I did, in fact, experience a wicked electrical storm this night. I survived. However, it was tame compared to the electrical storm I survived four nights ago on the Missouri River near Stanton, ND.]
I feel like I should salute this point, or something. Don’t know it’s name. Kind of majestic.
Haley took this video as I began to prepare for the bicycle leg of this journey.
This video was taken the third day on the last stretch, Highway 15, before arriving at Clark Canyon Dam. The weather bureau had forecasted high wind warnings. I decided to try and see how far I could get. No problem!
(I will have to get some of her videos from days one and two. I can’t seem to find any. The scenery was spectacular.)
And finally, riding over Clark Canyon Dam to end the bicycling leg of the expedition, 100 miles total. My support girls were awesome the entire trip. I sure miss you, Haley and Jeannie!