Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1,156 miles on the Murray River - SUP Adam Colton-style

When I started out Feb. 18th on the Murray River in Southeastern Australia, I had 1,876 km (1,156 miles) in front of me from Yarrawonga to Murray Bridge. I had never done a paddle board trip before, the most time I had spent on a paddle board was in Mexico for about 2 hours… even with this lack of experience I felt really confident.

YES I can swim, check, yes I am a persistent monster, check. I know from doing other long distance adventures (long distance skating) the physical challenge is never the hardest part… it is the mental challenge. Already knowing this trip is NOT going to be FUN; it was going to be a whole slew of emotions, ups and downs, doubt, boredom, and small moments of joy. All of this combined to make this one of life’s unique experiences. It was going to be a mental battle to keep in a good state of mind that allows you to take your mind away from the realization that this is going to take a very, very, very long time and not be aware of every wakening second of each super long day.

The whole trip was movement by daylight. The same day I landed in Melbourne Feb. 18th after a 15 hour flight I set out on the river that night at 5:30 pm and did not stop until I was done March 18th at 10:30am. 30 days straight with no days rest, on the water 10 -13 hours each day, I was a determined Monster in motion. I paddled in all weather conditions: rain to heat, wind to calm. It even rained so much that the river was in a medium flood state.

I had some days where the wind blew so hard and the river turned into a small ocean with miniature waves. At one point, I thought it was so ridiculous that I questioned if I was cursed, as if the river really had it out for me and I yelled at the river, reasoned with it, told it off and then I had a feeling like crap, maybe I have upset the river gods more. Then there were apologies, hahah. Soon I accepted the rivers challenge; it was what it was.

Overall, trying to write about the trip is a mild reflection but perhaps it has inspired someone or made you think. These trips are full of so many emotions, unique energy and just overall small details that words are really just words; actions of the trip and being there is the true testament. From one long-distance human powered traveler to another you just can look at each other and with a nod understand what that other has gone through. Whatever you are inspired to do make your idea happen, let your actions be the true testament.

-Adam C.

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