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DustyRoads - Mississippi River Journal - 2020

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Dustin Stensland
City: Laporte
State: Minnesota
Country: United States
Begins: Jun 19, 2020
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sun, Oct 4th, 2020
Start: River mile 0
End: Gulf of Mexico
Daily Distance: 12
Trip Distance: 2,300.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 90
Journal Visits: 7,825
Guestbook Views: 92
Guestbook Entrys: 10

Gear list

Mississippi River Map


I woke up today with no intention of leaving camp early. I slept in and when I woke up I laid in my tent enjoying the relaxation for over an hour. I started at 9am and quickly got off to a quick start, paddling at nearly 5 mph, but this is a mixed feeling knowing that I’m making great time. I’ve paddled past Venice, Louisiana, the city that I need to paddle or hitch a ride back up to start my exit off of the river. I wasn’t too demoralized though as I wanted to finish the river happy. I quickly finished the river in what seemed like no time, and it was somewhat anticlimactic. I didn’t have a feeling of great happiness; I didn’t have a euphoric moment. I simply turned around as started paddling back upstream. It was too windy to setup my drone and fly around the end of the river. I didn’t feel like setting up my camera gear as I wasn’t excited to setup my gear in the wind and knowing I was going to have to struggle upriver or until a fisherman picked me up.

By the time I decided to call it quits and just wait for fisherman to pick me up I paddled back upstream far enough for there to be river workers on the river again. I placed myself next to a river marker and waited as fisherman passed me by. After an hour of waiting, and only a boat or two passing me by, a river worker drove up to ask if I needed help. I told him I was hoping to hitch a ride back to Venice, and he said they had an outboard motor boat that could possibly give me a lift on, but they’re still working and he has to ask if they’ll let someone help me out. I waited another 2 hours on the river, trying to make myself visible to passing fisherman, but unfortunately nobody stopped to ask how I was doing as I was floating in the middle of the river waving my hands. After 3 hours of waiting in the river, being pushed around by the 16 mph north wind the river workers drove up to me and said they’d bring me back up to Venice!! I was so happy! I wasn’t even going to attempt to keep paddling, so I resigned to waiting it out until someone picked me up. It would have taken me 4 days to paddle back up to Venice with how the wind was looking during the next few days. The boat was a huge transportation boat, that easily fit my entire canoe on the deck of their boat. In less than 20 minutes we were pulling into the Venice Marina where I was planning on exiting the river. I showered, had a few drinks and was extremely happy of my journey, and my accomplishment.

I want to thank my parents for helping me out on my adventures, they didn’t have to support me much on this trip compared to previous trips, but they always provide moral support and ship me items when I ask them to. I appreciate my friends in Oregon who kept pushing me to finish so that I could see them sooner. I have appreciation to my friend Joy who always made sure I was stretching and taking care of myself. I have appreciation towards my “Words with Friends” friend maja*k who I’ve never met but I’ve been playing against for over a year now and has always provided support for me as well. I have thanks to Crystal who gave me her red foxes foot to start my journey as a token of good luck, I ended up naming my canoe MISKO-WAAGOSH, which means Red Fox in Ojibwe. She always has a positive attitude and I tried to be as happy as I always see her on days that I wasn’t doing well on the river. And I thank you all for reading and following my journey down the river.

In the end, I was very satisfied with my journey down the river. It was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Through tough resolve and me being too stubborn to quit, I completed my goal. It wasn’t as fun as my Pacific Crest Trail hike, but I’m glad I accomplished something so difficult. I didn’t find the PCT that difficult and never really felt like quitting at any point on the trail. Whereas I can’t count how many times I wanted to quit on the river during the last 4 months.

If you’d like to check out some more of the photos or videos that I make of this trip I’ll be uploading my completed video project on my YouTube channel, Traveling Dusty Roads when I finish the river. I have some of the videos uploaded on my Instagram already that you can check out, Travelingdustyroads. Thanks for following my journey! I hope my travels and adventures inspire you to travel more and complete your own dreams.

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Journal Photo

Birch Bark Canoe Mississippi River Thru Paddle

On the river with my Birch Bark Canoe! :)


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