The Missouri River: from the confluence at the Mississippi River in North St. Louis County, 2,341 miles upstream to Three Forks, Montana. The Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers come together within a half mile of eachother and create a clear, cool, calm flowing river.
My experience on the Missouri began in Cousin Hugo’s Bar in early 2010. Until the time, the Missouri was there. It was something to look at from the bridge, or to look out at from the safety of a wooded bank or levee. In Cousin Hugo’s that night, I learned that a fellow runner in our local group was going to participate in the Missouri River 340, a 340 mile paddle race from Kansas City, MO to St. Charles, MO – taking place that July. Charlie’s first attept at the race at a time he was 68 years old*, had his loyal friend Dan worrying about him surviving the race, much less finishing. Dan suggested I join Charlie for the race. A few beers deep after that day’s run, I was in!
8+ years and 4 MR340 finishes later, I’ve come to love the Missouri River and have set my sights on something bigger: to paddle the entirety of the river (plus a little more). I want to put my name on the relatively short list of those who have done it. I want to explore the bends, the coves, the rapids, the portages, the windswept lakes of the unfamiliar upper Missouri. I want to approach Kansas City from the upstream side, then finish with the now familiar 340 miles to St. Charles. Then I’ll paddle 26 more miles to the Confluence, then 9 more miles to the St. Louis Gateway Arch, the finish line. Oh, and I am going to start the trip on the Madison River, 100 miles upstream from Three Forks where it flows out of Yellowstone Park, a couple miles from Old Faithful. 2,450 miles.
The plan is to start in mid-May 2019 and finish sometime in September.
I always thought the MR340 was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and likely the hardest thing I will ever do. I no longer think that. Over the next few months, I hope to provide a peek into the planning and preparation I am undertaking, the amazing people and groups that are already helping me towards my goal. Then during the trip, I plan to share experiences, images, video and my progress towards the finish. I’d be honored if you would join me.
*Charlie is planning on participating in the 2019 MR340, at age 76, paddling with his son and grandsons!