Interview with "Expedition Mississippi:" A Few Average Joes Kayaking 2,000 Miles to Support Paddle4Peace and Leave No Trace
|Matt Lowers chillin' with one of their kayaks.|
(courtesy of Expedition Mississippi)
Is it a crazy idea? Absolutely, but that's the beauty of it for them. Matt Lowers and Jordan Sanders are the brains behind Expedition Mississippi, and they came up with the idea to paddle the great river after deciding they needed to plan a new, exciting trip together. Not only are they unsure of how long it's going to take them, (they're estimating two months), but they're not even sure the boats they have will hold up. They're paddling nine-foot "fishing kayaks" designed for lakes and ponds approximately 2,000 miles from a small tributary in Indiana down to the Gulf of Mexico. Today, they're sharing more about what the trip means to them and why they're doing it. They're also looking for help funding their trip on Kickstarter.
So, the trip itself - why on Earth would you want to paddle the Mississippi?
Jordan: We have two main goals. First, we want to show through our video that if WE can do it, YOU can do it. We aren't kayaking professionals by a long shot, but we're not letting that discourage us. We're also making a movie to show that if just a few average guys can do this, so can YOU, and so can any kind of adventure for that matter. We’ve both gone on outdoor adventure trips (ie, the Appalachian Trail) – but never a large kayaking trip. We just have a bit of recreational kayaking experience, but not a whole lot.
Another main objective is to raise awareness about the need to preserve the Mississippi River and the natural environment. They did this by teaming up with two fantastic organizations, Leave No Trace and Paddle4Peace. We feel like the further we get down the river, the more we'll be doing to spread peace and environmental awareness.
We suppose an additional goal would be to make back the money we'll be spending on the trip (laughs)! Even with the kickstarter pledges, we'll still be putting in a good deal of funds ourselves! Kayaking gear and 2 month expeditions are expensive!
|Matt Lowers and Jordan Sanders on the Appalachian Trail.|
(courtesy of Expedition Mississippi)
Jordan: The crew is now four people: Myself, Matt Lowers, Daniel Lowers, and Chris Smith-Nicholson. I'm from Chicago, and Matt and I originally met as undergrads at Indiana University. Funny story actually...We lived across the hall from each other in a student apartment building. When I discovered the biggest insect I'd even see in my life crawling on my rug, I was eager to share it with someone. Matt and I hadn't met yet, but I knocked on his door, introduced myself, and told him about the Godzilla-like creature. From there, a life-long friendship was born.
Matt and Daniel are brothers, and they've both been friends with Chris Smith-Nicholson since grade school.We all love going on "crazy adventures" like these.
What does you gear stash look like for two months in a kayak?
Jordan: We're taking all the essentials - a tent, light sleeping bags, sleeping pads, camp stoves, cooking kits, and some nice Therm-a-rest pillows donated by Appleseed Camping. The CF Trading Company has been generous enough to provide us with various knives, and the Complete Paddler will be giving us dry sacks and a couple paddles too. We're estimating the trip will take two months, but we'll go as long as it takes to make it to the Gulf of Mexico!
|The crew. (courtesy of Expedition Mississippi)|
Jordan: Leave No Trace as an organization is one of the major proponents of environmental awareness, and the more we support we give them, the more good we (and Leave No Trace) will be able to do for the environment.
The same principal applies top Paddle4Peace; one of their primary goals is to get kids away from screens and outdoors on the water. But Paddle4Peace is a smaller organization and we felt like we'd make more of an impact together with them since they're relatively new..this makes our partnership more unique. At the same time, their primary message is right in line with our own: get kids outdoors, away from the screens and out on the water. We're doing the same. We say, whether you're a kid or adult, just get out and do it. What better way to show people how important the environment is than starting with young children? They have their whole life ahead of them and will pass this attitude down to future generations.
For more about Expedition Mississippi, check out their twitter account, facebook page and blog to follow along with their adventure. If you've got their backs, give them a little support on Kickstarter.