Paddled the last three days with river brothers, John Ruskey and Mark River. I have been blessed, not only for being able to do this expedition at 80 years old, but for the opportunities it has provided me. I feel so grateful to be enjoying river time with some of the most well-known adventure paddlers of our generation.
The time spent with John and River has been more valuable than words can express. I needed this morale boost…and they came to my rescue. I was tired, and they were there. Got me through the last three days. Was a relaxed a and peaceful paddle with great food and shared stories. They quite possibly saved the completion of the Expedition.
John Ruskey and the fine folks at Quapaw Canoe Company are the creators of the #rivergator, which is a priceless guide to the Lower Mississippi. I have found the information it contains to be my most valuable source of information. I highly recommend anyone paddling, or just interested in the lower Mississippi, review this original creation as often as possible.
As I get closer to the end, I am aware of things I feel clearly now as being the most important to my life. Find myself often reflecting on how good returning home will be. I miss my wife Merriam, my children Jony, James and Sunshine, and my grand children, Bella and Isaiah.
The uneventful 30 miles paddled today got me thinking about the true meaning of life. River time has slowed me down, making it easier to use some time to reflect back on the past. Never realized how much I would miss Richard Sojourner until he was gone. He was my on-water inspiration. A cog is now missing. I pray the Doctors will let him return soon.
I think of the children out there like AnnA with Type 1 Diabetes. How society has seemingly forgotten them, not getting equal research funding that many other diseases receive. Even though I am tired, and I miss my family and my paddle partner Richard, the quest to complete this journey will continue for now.
I will paddle out from St. Francisville, Louisiana this Friday morning with Austin Graham. Austin rejoining me on the water is also a vital cog to the potential completion of this journey. My thanks to him and his family.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.