Daniel Alvarez paddles 20 miles per day from Minnesota to the Florida Keys
The plan was to kayak 4,000 miles from the northernmost tip of the lower 48 states in Minnesota to the southernmost point in Key West, Florida, a plan that Outside Magazine called bold, inspired, and slightly reckless.
Daniel Alvarez, 31, from Tallahassee, Florida, has proven himself worthy as a long-distance hiker, having completed the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, and the 3,000-mile Continental Divide Trail.
Now he has proven himself as a long-distance kayaker.
Alvarez completed the nine-month kayak journey on Saturday, paddling into Key West to a cheering crowd.
“When I got to the end [Saturday], there were a ton of people on the beach and they were all cheering me on,” Alvarez wrote in an email to the Duluth News Tribune. He had paddled through Duluth in September. “I felt pretty silly because they thought I’d done it alone, when really I would never have made it close without a hundred different people along the way who helped.”
Not only did he receive help from people along the way, Alvarez got financial help for his trip from Outside Magazine. He won Outside’s inaugural Adventure Grant and $10,000, finding this out a week into the journey.
Traveling in a donated, bright yellow, 17-foot Necky kayak—“I wanted to give the huge barges on the Mississippi the best chance of seeing me,” he told Outside—Alvarez paddled about 20 miles a day from Northwest Angle in Minnesota, through the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior, down the Mississippi, and across the Gulf of Mexico.
Along the way, Alvarez blogged about his trip and posted photos at Predictably Lost. It should be noted that he made the trip in part to support the protection of the waterways along his route. His website details the organizations he supports.
Many people along the way told Alvarez they wished they could do what he was doing, to which he told them, “If you make it a priority, you can. If you don’t make it a priority, there are a thousand excuses not to do it. Eventually, you just have to get in the boat and start paddling.”
Now that the former corporate lawyer has stopped paddling, what is on the horizon?
“I just have no idea what I’m going to do next,” Alvarez told the Duluth News Tribune. “It’s a good thing and terrifying feeling, but I’m sure I will figure it out soon.”
Geobeats offers a nice YouTube video about Alvarez’s journey, but take note, that isn’t him paddling into Key West at the beginning:
Photos courtesy of Daniel Alvarez.