Wednesday, 18 May 2016 16:06

Canoeist giving his mom something for which to live

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If you follow this column, you know that I like to share inspiring stories with you, especially of people who undertake long-distance journeys. This is one of those stories.


A few months ago, I got a phone call from a man named Kris. He wanted to ask me a few questions about canoeing on America’s longest rivers. He’d heard that I paddled from Saskatchewan to New Orleans on four rivers including the Missouri and the Mississippi, both of which are more than 2,000 miles in length.
During our telephone conversation, Kris explained he was planning to start in Montana and canoe the Missouri River to its confluence with the Mississippi and then follow that mighty river to the Gulf of Mexico.
Here’s the inspiring part. Kris’ mother Leslie is recovering from cancer. To give her something to look forward to, but also something to train for, Kris decided to embark on this journey. Leslie will join him on two occasions and they will paddle together for more than 400 miles.
As a cancer survivor, she’s hoping to raise $3,800 for bladder cancer research.
That’s one dollar for each mile her son will travel in total over the next six months.
Kris is an outdoorsman. In 2008, he bicycled from New York state to Seattle, a distance of 3,000 miles.
Before embarking on his canoetrip at the end of April, Kris was employed as a conversation officer at Yosemite National Park in California.
Because of his interest in nature, he’ll be collecting water samples along the way for a non-profit organization called Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.
ASC collects data about the planet’s waterways and they will check Kris’ samples for micro-plastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm. That information is to help ASC study the effect of pollution on rivers in the United States.
Brower’s Spring is the upper-most source of the Missouri River. It’s located west of Yellowstone National Park at an elevation of roughly 9,000 feet. Kris hiked there to begin his trip a few weeks ago.
Where the spring seeps out of the mountainside, there isn’t enough water to float a canoe. Following the small stream on foot, he walked to the spot where he left his canoe. He launched his craft, a 16-foot Mad River Explorer, into the deeper current, but further downstream he encountered a slight problem — there was no more water. It was being diverted for irrigation. Kris was forced to put his canoe on a cart and portage. Where water levels improved, this outdoor adventurer got back into his boat and continued his odyssey. 
At press time, Kris was approaching Great Falls, Montana.
If you’d like to follow his trip online, I invite you to visit his website at: www.avoiding barges.com.
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.