MAGNIFICENT SEVEN EXPEDITION: STAGE ONE - MISSOURI-MISSISSIPPI RIVER SYSTEM SOURCE TO SEA
On April 2, 2013, Rod became the first Canadian (and first North American) to kayak the Missouri-Mississippi river system from source to sea, a distance of 3800 miles/6100km. The solo journey took 256 days to complete.
The Missouri-Mississippi river system is the longest river system in North America and the fourth longest river system in the world, trailing only the Amazon, Nile and Yangtze river systems. The Missouri River proper, as measured from its official beginning near the city of Three Forks, Montana, to its confluence with the Mississippi, ranks as North America’s longest river at an approximate length of 2341 miles/3767km. The Missouri’s primary linear tributaries above Three Forks comprise a combined length of approximately 300 miles/480km, making the total length of the Missouri from its true source to its mouth approximately 2640 miles/4250km.
Brower's Spring, the utmost source of the Missouri RIver, is located at an elvation of 8800 feet in the Centennial Mountains of southern Montana, The spring emerges from a sparsely treed mountainside less than 200 feet below the Continental Divide.
Rod began his journey on June 17, 2012 with a 7.5-mile hike through dense forest and open alpine meadow to reach Brower's Spring. Retracing his steps to the floor of the Centennial Valley, he then descended two creeks (Hell Roaring Creek and Red Rock Creek), two lakes (Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes), two reservoirs (Lima Reservoir and Clark Canyon Reservoir) and three rivers (Red Rock River, Beaverhead River and Jefferson River) before arriving at the beginning of the Missouri River near the city of Three Forks. He then paddled the length of the Missouri to its conflunece with the Mississippi River and followed the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Rod paddled in all four seasons, enduring vicious winter storms, intense summer heat, near-record drought and extremely dangerous cold-weather paddling conditions caused by high winds and flood levels. Throughout his journey, Rod received an ample amount of support and encouragement from new and old friends alike, both online and on the riverbank. He is greatly appreciative of the kindness and hospitality bestowed upon him.
River Angels, a book chronicling Rod's Missouri-Mississippi river system descent, is slated for release in 2017.
Read more about the Missouri-Mississippi river system expedition in this interview with ExplorersWeb.