Merlyn Carter Bush Pilot, by Rob Kesselring, Published and available for Purchase

Two weeks after I met Merlyn Carter, he was tying my 17-foot Old Town Royalex Tripper to a float on his De Havilland Single Otter bush plane. A year later he was my best friend. Our friendship continued unabated for 30 years until he lost a battle and his life to an unprovoked and predatory assault by a bear on the shores of Nonacho Lake, Northwest Territories.

I know most of my blog readers are canoeists. At first glance, you may not be interested in an aviator. But Merlyn’s life is a story every wilderness traveler, every adventurer, every dreamer needs to read.

The hard cover, library edition of Merlyn Carter Bush Pilot is finally complete and published. Researching, writing and finding a publisher for this book was a four-year journey. I traveled the Northwest Territories, Northern Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Toronto, Washington DC and everywhere in between to do research, … Continue reading

GET YOUR SCUBA CERTIFICATION IN THE CARIBBEAN NEXT NOVEMBER

I am dating myself, but I grew up humming John Denver’s song Calypso and huddled around the TV when one of the Jacque Cousteau SCUBA specials came on. Diving amongst coral reefs surrounded by resplendent fish of every color and shape it was a dream. I did get my SCUBA cert in 1970 but it was a long time before I ever had the opportunity to dive in tropical waters. This past winter I spent almost two months in the Caribbean. I was with Sue Plankis who had never dived. We decided to both get certified, so did a lot of research and checked out dive shops in Costa Rica, Cozumel and Roatan to find the best place to be trained.

We found it. And it is available for you.

It is an incredible maze of cabins, decks, pools, fountains, and artwork, right on the Continue reading

Early Look at 2018-19 Latin American Trips and My Favorite Piece of Gear

Back in Minnesota after almost four months of travel and adventure in Central and South America. I love long days and it was such a pleasure to be in Futaleufu, Patagonia on New Year’s Eve and watch the sun finally go down at 9:30 pm.

A big objective of my travels was to put together some commercial trip options for the winter of 2018-19 so that my blog readers, friends, and past crews can join me on some most remarkable adventures. My mind is now full of great ideas and a few warnings. I met some terrific outfitters that I will recommend in future blogs. Outfitters with whom my involvement would not help you, and you would be better to just cut me out of the equation. I did some other trips that were just not exciting enough, safe enough or reasonably priced enough for me to have anything further … Continue reading

“Where there is a Costa Rican, there is Peace”

In Chile now, but taking a moment to reflect on a great couple months in Central America. A big reason I travel in winter is to discover new paddling destinations for my canoeing crews of year’s past. Last winter I was on a mission to check out the Zambezi. Many friends were interested in joining me, after I had smoothed out the details, on a future expedition down that iconic African river. That will not happen. My reconnaissance was a death-defying experience. Although I will not stop friends from paddling the Zambezi, I won’t choose to accompany them and I will recommend they make sure all their final arrangements are in order in case they are returned home zipped up in a bag. For me, it was a harrowing 6-day trip, but one of my life’s greatest adventures. One and done, and the Zambezi is not something I want to … Continue reading

Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, and Birding in El Salvador

A blog post will be coming soon about paddling adventures in Central America. Especially a week-long sea kayak trip I made on Costa Rica’s Osa’s Golfo Dulce. Yes, I did cross over to the dark side and pick up a double-bladed paddle and sit in a kayak for many miles. Here’s my take. Canoes will always be my first love and canoes are the way to travel on river trips, and canoes are the only boat that makes sense canoe camping in the BWCA and Quetico. But out on open water? On sounds and the Great Lakes and on the open ocean? Sea kayaks (or sailboats) make the most sense.

El SalvadorYesterday, I completed a 2-day whitewater rafting trip on the Pacuare River. For class … Continue reading