Travelers on the River

Meet the travelers and experience their trips down the Mississippi. We hope these adventurers may inspire a little Huck Finn in all of us!

Stay tuned for the chart of 2015 travelers!

2015 Mississippi Paddlers

River Semester – Augsburg College

Wow! What a way to spend a semester! Starting Sept. 1, a group of 16 students and 2 profs from Augsburg College paddled down the river for a River Semester on the river. See our Big River account by Ryan Johnson. (pdf)

Jon Felker, from Fayetteville, Ark., started on July 17 from Lake Itasca.

Canoeing Against Bullying

Scott Murtley and Derek Haley Left Itasca July 1st.

Legacies Alive

Chris Ring, swimming the river for families of veterans who lost their lives. Left Lake Itasca on June 6th.

William Martin, for the Childrens Tumor Foundation. Left Itasca on August 18th, and is documenting his trip on the Flow page.

Warrior Paddle

Annie Balthazar, Mark Fox, Bart Lindberg, Shawn Murphy. Started on July 20, and expect to be in Morgan City, Louisiana, on Nov. 22. Sponsored by "Warrior Expeditions," a nonprofit outdoor therapy program that supports combat veterans transitioning from military service. News article and MPR story. Abby Kaeser, photographer

A Mississippi River Adventure (FB)

Jake Tavakoli and Julie Haskel launched from Itasca July 2l. Getting close to the Gulf as of Nov. 5.

On the River

Nia Thomas and Sara Dykman started in July at the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, MT, and will paddle the Missouri and the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

A Guy, A Girl, A Dog and A Canoe

David and Amanda Mosse started paddling at Itasca on Sept. 2nd with their schnauzer, Reggie. Reggie has a few things to say about the trip and the human's peculiar habits.

Daniel Lee Richard Tougas started in St. Cloud, Minn. Check out his Facebook page. Plans to head to South Padre Island after reaching the Gulf.

msriver2k15 - Canoeing the Mississippi River

Caleb Reynolds and Joshua Witham started their paddle on August. Follow them on Facebook and read their blog (above).

Big Muddy Adventure
Malcolm and Mitch Canoe the Mississippi River

Malcolm Reed and Mitchell Selby left Itasca on August 13th. They are paddling to New Orleans to raise money for Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program (LOOP). You can follow their adventure on their blog (above) or on their Facebook page. Also on Instagram. Also, check their posts on the Mississippi River Paddlers Facebook group page.

Nicole Brennan started paddling at Itasca later than planned. She has posted lots of nice photos from Minnesota on her Facebook page.

Katie VanDorp and friend started on September 6th. Plenty of great photos on her Facebook page.

History River

Mike Hatfield is canoeing the river to raise awareness for museums and historical societies. He started on August 23rd. Facebook page Story from the Brainerd Dispatch.

John Markey

Adam Ouderkirk

updates Facebook

A Million Strokes

Matthew Burdine departed from Lake Itasca on August 24. He is raising funds to support a cure for breast cancer.

Canoe the Mississippi

Jim Meyers and Dave Lane left from Itasca on August 12 and arrived at the Gulf on October 15.

The River Signal

Galen Huckins, Reid Lustig, and Brian Benson departed June 14 from Chaska, Minn., on a 1970 paddlewheel, The Channel Princess.
They made podcasts and recorded musicians on their way. Their final epidode was broadcast on Sept. 21 in New Orleans.

Facebook page

Voyage for Vets

Casey and Carson Barfels left on June 18th from Lake Itasca, heading to Prairie du Chien, then up the Wisconsin to the Fox River, destined for Appleton, Wis. They arrived on July 22. The were raising funds for Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors.


Peter and Tracy Fluke started on their tandem bicycle from their home town of Ashwaubenon, Wis., (near Green Bay) on Sept. 4. They began their journey down the Mississippi River Trail from Itasca on September 15, making it to New Orleans in late October.
Links: Facebook, Blog, and Live Tracking.

Paddle On

Alyssum Pohl, documenting water quality and plastic waste. Many photos on website, stories about River Angels. She left Itasca on June 27th. Paddled with with Jake Tavakoli and Julie Haskell, then with Leanne Davis to the Gulf.

Leanne Takes Another Trip

Leanne Davis is paddling the river to raise awareness for PTSD. She left Itasca on July 2. Her website includes her own experience with PTSD.


A Secret History of American River People

Wes Modes is on his second year of documenting river people and rafting on the river.


Itay Nakash started at Itasca on June 11. As far as he knows, he is the first person from Israel paddling the Mississippi from source to sea. His Mississippi trip is part of a trip around the world. He reached the Gulf on or before August 26th.

The Grey Beard Adventurer

Reached the Gulf on August 15th

Dale Sanders, Richard Sojourner and Tom Graves canoed the Mississippi for juvenile diabetes. They departed from Itasca in May and were joined by Austin Graham and Brad Tallent who are filming the trip. Sanders, at 80 years old, is aiming to be the oldest paddler to canoe the entire length of the Mississippi. Dale Sanders Source to Sea Facebook page. Tom Graves' blog

Paddle for Prevention Mississippi River Trip

Corey Smock and Lance Loney, both from Decorah, Iowa, started paddling in late May. They raised funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They ended their trip, for now, at Mile Marker 146, just upstream of New Orleans, on August 2nd. From their blog:

Day 60: The end of our journey...
We had to make a pretty big decision today for our journey. After 60 days we have decided to end the trip. The high waters and constant boat traffic put us at a state where we no longer feel safe being on the Mississippi River. We are pretty bummed we have to end 146 miles short of the gulf, but we have come a long way and are proud of ourselves for that! Paddling 2150 miles and raising $14,571 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has made this a journey of a lifetime! We've met a lot of great people on this trip and have had a lot of support for our cause. We can't thank everyone enough and hope you enjoyed following our journey as much as we have!

The Mississippi River Expedition

Alex Ross, Forest Schoessow and Shea Selsor paddled in a 1970s heavy-aluminum 20' Grumman freighter canoe. Nice blog, with birding info too. They have made it to the Gulf.

Wild & Crazy Week *** Facebook


Nat Ratchen, from Portland, Ore., left Lake Itasca on June 23rd and left the river in August at Glen Haven, Wis.


Joshua and Brady Baxter left Lake itasca on Juy 27th and left the river at Winona, Minn., on Aug. 15th.


David Forbes launched from Itasca on June 13th, but a nagging shoulder injury stopped him in July. David paddled the Missouri River in 2014. Read Rod Wellington's account of meeting him on David's FB page.

(Rod paddled the Missouri and Mississippi in 2012-2013 and is author of “Part-Time Superheroes, Full-Time Friends.”)

Paddling for Camp

Everett McMillen and Will Jonsson, the Kentuckian and the Swede. Launched from Itasca June 12 and reached the Gulf 65 days later on August 15. Great Facebook page


Dave Roberts entered the Mississippi in Bemidji on June 17, then had his kayak and gear stolen in Brainerd. Thanks to a friend, he was back on the river at Bohemian Flats in Minneapolis on July 3. Near St. Louis he was joined by George Mudge. They reached Venice, La., on Aug. 29th. Good reading and photos on the blog. From the blog:

Dave “Elusive” Roberts and George “5:30″ Mudge finished their paddle of the Mississippi River. Dave paddled 2082 miles in 73 days, averaging 28 miles per day. George paddled 1110 miles in 30 days, averaging 37 miles per day.


Big American Paddle

Amit Shah and Alex Woodford are raising money for the British Exploring Society. They left Itasca on May 16, and locked through Upper St. Anthony Falls on June 3, just a week before it closed.
The made it to the Gulf on July 22.

Rediscovering North America: A Journey From the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean

Six friends paddled upsteam from the Gulf to the Arctic Ocean. The crew: Minnesotans Adam Trigg, Winchell Delano, Daniel Flynn and John Keaveny; and Iowans Jarrad Moore and Luke Kimmes.

They made to the Arctic Ocean (Kugluktuck, Nunavut Canada) after 245 days. Congratulations! We were pleased to meet them when they passed by Winona.

Going the Wrong Way on Purpose - story of the Rediscover North America crew by Ryan Johnson. May-June 2015 (pdf)

Canoe & Kayak * St. Charles Herald * St. Cloud Times

Kayak 4 Earth - Connecting Climate Chaos

Steve Posselt headed upriver from the Gulf on March 3rd and left the swollen river at Memphis on April 11. He then biked to New York where he will board the Queen Mary 2.

Ellen on the Missouri

2014 Solo Mississippi Source to Sea kayaker Ellen McDonah is padding the Missouri this year. You can keep up with her on Facebook


Janet & Greg Gottsacker — Last leg of a multi-year trip. Started in 2013, finished at the Gulf on April 30th, 2015

Johnny Mac's Mississippi River Adventure

John McFarland left the river in Minnesota mid-June. Read his post here. You can feel the mosquitoes and ticks.


Ryan Gallagher Departed Lake Itasca in late May and lost his canoe in a rapids in mid June, then left the river.

Mississippi: Source to Sea

Siegfried Huffnagle raised funds for the Ashaninka Rainforest in Peru.Trip ended in Dubuque.

Separate Boats

Kayak the Heartland-Paddle Expedition: A LIVEout event-1591 miles from the source of the Wabash to the Gulf of Mexico

John & LaNae Abnet started at the headwaters of the Wabash River on April 3rd, then kayaked the Ohio to the Mississippi at Cairo, Ill. They made it to the Gulf on July 10. Facebook page

As seen in Big River:

Going the Wrong Way on Purpose - story of the Rediscover North America crew by Ryan Johnson. May-June 2015 (pdf)

River Angels January-February 2015 (pdf)

River Pilgrims November-December 2014 (pdf)

Chart of 2014 paddlers and links to websites

2011 travelers (pdf)

River Travelogues (2001)

2001 Big River bibliography of river trips

* * * * * * * * *

2014 River Trips

Pre-2014 River Trips

Mississippi River Paddlers Page on Facebook, curated by John Sullivan of La Crosse, Wis. Excellent resource.

YouTube video of paddler reunion in Memphis, February 2014

let us know about your trip!

Useful links if you're considering a trip down the Mississippi

On Facebook:

Mississippi River Paddlers Page

Lower Mississippi River Paddlers (group)


Navigation charts of the Upper Mississippi - PDF download page

Navigation charts of the Lower Mississippi River – PDF download page

Army Corps of Engineers - St. Paul District

Army Corps of Engineers-Rock Island District

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Mpls/St. Paul)

Mississippi River Parkway Commission - Mississippi River travel site

Rivergator: 1,200-mile detailed paddler guide on the Mississippi River from S.t Louis to the Gulf of Mexico

Big River Weather page

Big River Water Level page

Visit Big River on Facebook

From Big River:

River Travelogues (Big River 2001)

Mississippi River Travel Bibliography 2001

Preparing for a Long River Cruise, Jan. 2008, Big River (pdf) Planning for the Great Loop around the eastern United States By Captain Larry Martin


First journal pages from Dave Hardesty's 2005 trip.

Quimby's Cruising Guide

Canoe Routes and Maps of the Mississippi:

Minnesota DNR maps from Itasca to Minneapolis – free PDF download page

Mississippi River Recreational Boating Guide (Iowa DNR)

Illinois DNR map resources

Minn DNR canoe routes info

Minn DNR map resources

Mississippi River Trail - follows the river through ten states. On-road and bicycle/pedestrian maps.