Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak will set out in August 2014 in 2 sixteen-foot sea kayaks and will travel the entire length of the Mississipi river from source to sea. Largely unsupported they will carry their own supplies and find campsites along the ri
The Mississippi River travels 2350 miles from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana where it discharges into the Gulf of Mexico. It is the fourth longest river in the world and flows at about 4 miles per hour, its depth ranges from 3 to 200 feet as it drops 1475 feet from source to sea. At the start it is less than 20 feet wide and in places is a mile between banks. It is home to an abundance of wildlife with hundreds of species of fish and birds, more than 50 different species of mammal and approximately 145 species of reptiles and amphibians.
The aim is to finish within 60 days making the average for the journey 40 miles per day. This does not include rest days or time lost through bad weather or traffic hold ups on the journey (YES there are traffic jams on the Mississippi!) or any other unforeseen hold ups.
What makes it more of a challenge is that neither Ken nor Grace is an experienced kayaker nor are they super athletes or celebrities with unlimited backup facilities. Ken is a retired Police Inspector and member of the Rotary Club of Halifax who celebrates his 59th birthday just before the challenge starts, Grace is a former RYLA awardee and MA student at Leeds Metropolitan University who will be 22 years old a month before departure.
Both of them have undertaken charity challenges in the past, amongst other things Ken has driven a Dog Sled team in the Arctic and Grace has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. In fact, it was an argument about whose expedition was the hardest that started the idea of kayaking the Mississippi River in the first place.
Why are they doing it?
The Theodora Children's Trust is a small charity that that was first seen in the UK in 1994 and has grown slowly since. Providing