Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Don Starkell - You Da Man !.
It was Don Starkell who got us into this whole mess in the first place.
I read his book 'Paddle To the Amazon' 15 years ago, while myself was on a planetary walk-about. His determination and total abandonment of fear and all things earthly left a deep impression. I can't believe he is still slogging through the wilds on his quest for who knows what. But you have to admire his single mindedness/ madness. For some,there is only one path.
According to Bartley Kives, a reporter of the Winnipeg Free Press, “the 76-year-old Starkell is 456 kilometres away from a lifetime paddling mark of 120,226 kilometres, a distance equal to three times the circumference of the planet.”
Starkell accumulated many of the kilometers on lengthy expeditions such as the 1967 race from the Rockies to Montreal, a father and son canoe expedition from Winnipeg, Canada to Belem, Brazil, and a kayak adventure through the Northwest Passage.
A daily 22-kilometer paddle, along the Red River and the Assiniboine River, has also added up. “Most days, he gets up at 2:45 a.m., leaves his East Kildonan home and hits the water by 4 a.m,” remarks Kives.
“He has documented his paddles in a pair of hand-noted ledgers, one noting the distance paddled each day and the other noting the mileage he's racked up every year of his life since he paddled eight scant kilometres in 1945,” observes Kives.
This summer, Starkell found it harder to paddle. Missing fingers, from a frostbite injury sustained on his 1991-92 Northwest Passage expedition, Starkell’s hand are prone to being cold. But at 76-years-old and with 64 years of adventurous paddling under your belt, it’s understandable. And despite everything, he keeps on going.
Paddle To the Amazon By Don Starkell, makes a great Christmas gift.