Paddling From The Source To The Sea

Aug 17, 2016

In the early morning fog on Lake Irving in Minnesota, Day 4 of his trip.
Credit Jamie Buckley

  A Maryland man is kayaking down the Mississippi River.  He's challenging himself and encouraging local Rotary clubs to help eradicate polio.

Nearly two months after he started in Minnesota, Jamie Buckley stopped in the Quad Cities this week to talk about his experiences, and the international campaign, End Polio Now. 

Several years ago, having never hiked or camped, Buckley hiked the Appalachian Trail, then the Pacific Crest Trail. Now, with very little prior kayaking experience, he's taken on the Mississippi River.   He says his biggest challenge so far has been the weather - high winds and heavy rain.

"Near Brainerd, Minnesota, 6 inches of rain fell one night.  It was not fun," he said.  

After two months, and with two months still to go, Buckley says his trip has been a humbling experience that's changed his life.

"You realize what we take for granted-hot showers, running water, and beds," he said.  

Buckley (holding paddle) with members of the RI Rotary Club. They're indicating we're "this close" to eradicating polio in the world.
Credit WVIK News

  He's talked about Rotary's End Polio Now campaign to 7 clubs so far, and will probably meet with at least 8 more before reaching the Gulf of Mexico - his goal is October 24th, which is World Polio Day. 

He's continues paddling this morning, launching at Credit Island.