Costa Mesa, Ca.
April 24, 2023
Dear Family & Friends:
My adventure plan for 2023 is to through-paddle the Missouri River in my “*livelikedan”/ “Ollie Power” canoe.
My solo trip will start in late May at the source of the River in the Rocky Mountains near Three Forks, Montana. The departure date is dependent on weather. The trip will end at the terminus of the River just north of St. Louis, where it converges with the Mississippi River. The Missouri River is 2,341 miles long and runs through seven states-Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. When I reach St. Louis, I may continue down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, although I already paddled this span of the Mississippi in 2019.
The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States. The Missouri played a major role in the exploration and expansion of the American West. Following the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson charged Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with responsibility to find a waterway that would connect the east with the west, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Thus began the Army Corps of Discovery, aka “The Lewis & Clark Expedition.” The Lewis & Clark Expedition began on May 14, 1804 and proceeded up the Missouri River from St. Louis to its headwaters in Montana. From there, the Army Corps of Discovery crossed the Rocky Mountains and proceeded to the Pacific Ocean via the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers.
The Missouri River is far more remote than the Mississippi River. This will leave me alone for long stretches, accompanied only by my wit, wisdom, thoughts and prayers. It will also require careful planning because there will be very few cities along the River for rest and resupply. The Missouri River will be more challenging and dangerous than the Mississippi River because of the swift current, wing dams, whitewater rapids, dams, reservoirs, lakes, lengthy portages and wild and unpredictable weather. I will not fear this difficulty and danger because, as always, I will have God as my navigator, rudder and protector.
I look forward to retracing the steps of the Lewis & Clark Expedition in reverse. I hope I meet as many nice people along the Missouri River as I met while paddling down the Mighty Mississippi in 2019.
I will be posting reports on my website blog: https://eightsummits.com/blog/. If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive an email alert when a report has been posted. I will also post photos and videos on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=eightsummits. If you are interested in following my river trip, I suggest you subscribe to my blog and check my Facebook page every day. The blog will have extensive narratives and still photos. The Facebook page will have more limited narrative but extensive photos and videos. The views on this journey will be among the best I have enjoyed in all of my travels throughout the world.
For this adventure, I am bringing my inReach Explorer device, which allows me to send and receive messages by satellite. The device also allows those following my trip to send me an email, track my current location and read messages I post on my Mapshare page. Here is how it works. You can use this web address to access these functions: “share.garmin.com/WilliamBurke.” In the top left corner of the page that opens, you will see three options: “Locate,” “Message” and “Messages.” “Locate” allows you to request my current location on the River as long as my inReach device is turned on. It may take several minutes for the location to be determined. “Message” allows you to send me a message. “Messages” allows you to read messages I post on my Mapshare page.