Canoeist Passes Halfway on 12,000km Odyssey

On the Columbia River. Photo:@riverjournalist

On February 9, Neal Moore, 49, began his second attempt to canoe across America from west to east. To “rediscover the threads that bind Americans together”, he is paddling 12,000km across 22 rivers and 22 states.

Image: 22rivers.com

His project, 22 rivers, will take around two years and goes from the Columbia River in Oregon to New York City, where he is planning a victory lap around the Statue of Liberty.

Initially, the freelance journalist saw the journey as a way to pull storytelling and adventure together. He had hoped to meet many characters along the way. Instead, he canoed his way into the pandemic. “Now the whole experience is shifting to pure adventure,” he admits.

Neal Moore. Photo: 22rivers.com

To maintain social distancing, he is wild camping whenever possible, and he has accepted sole responsibility for himself. “I might not be able to call on emergency services,” he says. “I wouldn’t put that potential burden on a small community.”

The locks of the Mississippi River. Photo: @riverjournalist

Currently, he is on the Mississippi, which he will follow until the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually, he will make his way through the Ohio River system to the Great Lakes, before paddling down the Hudson River to Lady Liberty.

At the beginning of November, he reached Memphis, the halfway point of his odyssey. It was a huge achievement, considering the pandemic. He has already more than doubled the distance he covered on his unsuccessful 2018 attempt, when he had to stop after 2,700km because of floods and equipment failure.

Next week, we’ll feature an interview with Neal Moore.

About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Aspiring sports and travel journalist based in the UK.

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