The people we meet along the way

Just one last post about Daniel Alvarez, the kayaker who successfully completed his goal to kayak from the Northwest Angle, down the Mississippi and on to Key West.

But his last post isn’t really about him, it’s about you, the people he met along the way, and it’s heartwarming…

Four Canadian paddlers gave me enough food to paddle around Isle Royale twice. A different group of four cooked me lunch on a cold, windy day and told me stories about Ben Franklin. The crew of the Absolut-ly Knot caught fish and cooked meals and laughed a lot while we waited out the wind on Belle Isle. Dave, Linel, and Sara dressed up like Voyageurs and went to Rendezvous with me. Lucas bought me breakfast a year after someone bought him breakfast. Kenny, Keith, Lorry, and Jean made sure I had a second home in Two Harbors and kept reminding me this trip is like eating an elephant, just take one bite at a time. Four kayakers from Minneapolis shared their dinner and campsite with me on Rocky Island in the Apostles. The Monday Night Potluck Group in Corny had room for one more to join them. I shared a campfire and marshmallows with three people in Herbster. The WDIO Newsteam launched one of the craziest nights of my life in Duluth. Deanna gave me her apartment for the weekend even though we only knew each other for five minutes.

Ana made pizza and gave me a bed to sleep in off the St. Louis River on the recommendation of a volunteer named Ben from Isle Royale. Sam Cook fed me information on the Savanna Portage. A guy in Jay Cook pretended he didn’t see me and let me pass when he could have stopped the trip with a phone call. Steve in Floodwood drew me a map of beaver dams and old paths to give me a bit of hope before entering the Savanna Portage. A nice woman who works at the state park showed me a secret put-in on a lake so I didn’t have to walk another three miles. A guy handed me a giant Northern Pike he wasn’t going to eat when I was resting on the shores of Big Sandy. Mike and Wade welcomed me to the Mississippi with a warm campfire and steel-cut oatmeal (which is amazing).

And there’s more.

There’s a pretty good chance that everyone could write an essay just like his, we just don’t stop to think about it.

  • Jeff

    // There’s a pretty good chance that everyone could write an essay just like his

    I bet not. How many of us, myself included, allow strangers to give us this sort of help? His is an amazing list, made in under a year. I don’t think many us us could make half a list in lifetime because we don’t let our guard down to accept the kindness of strangers. The list is well worth the read, folks, and will make you feel good about humankind.

    But the last two lines of his post are the best.

    None of them will be there tomorrow when I paddle to Key West and land on a crowded beach a block a way from the Southernmost Point.

    People will just see a single man in a yellow kayak and think I did it alone.