Good times at Expo 2015

Had a good weekend mostly connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Met up with Jack and Mike, two new recruits on the Noatak crew and they seem solid. We shall see if they get jelly legged when the bear comes! Naw, no bear problems this year and no rain. It was sunny for the Expo so I expect some sun this summer in Alaska. One of the best parts of the weekend was being part of a panel with Bob O’Hara, Cliff Jacobson, Kevin Callan and Peter Marshall (not in picture he was roaming the crowd with a microphone). These are all great canoeists and it was an honor to be up there with them.  Despite Bob’s flag being upside down it was not a harbinger of distress. I think the program went well and I hope the crowd learned a few things and had some fun. I … Continue reading

Spring Expo at Midwest

This weekend is the Midwest Expo in Minneapolis.  It is one of my favorite shows of the year. Usually, it’s raining which means I’m not missing out on good paddling weather. It’s also in my hometown which means lots of friends stop by to say hello. If you are one of my friends and if you’re reading this blog I certainly consider you one of my friends, please stop by and connect with me.

Saturday,  Apr. 25th, 10:30 am,  I will be speaking at U of M – Hanson Hall next to Midwest Mountaineering, Room 102 Tips from a Thousand Trips – Travel Like a Wilderness Guide. I have done this program before. However, there are many updates. Every time I go camping I learn something new. The forest is a great teacher as our my companions on the journey.  I can’t imagine you walking out of this program without … Continue reading

Expedition and Trip dates and details for the next twelve months

If you are interested in a genuine wilderness experience I can help you. Eight of the twelve people who have signed on for my two upcoming Alaskan arctic expeditions have travelled with me at least once before. Comments from them about previous trips include a sense of accomplishment, a confidence of safety, a feeling of autonomy and an overwhelming experience of adventure.

The group is crew and my expectations are that each individual will contribute to the success of the expedition to the limits of their ability. They will also have a “say” in what we do, where we camp and how we travel. These are not vacations, and comfort is secondary to experiencing the wonder of wildlife viewing and in some cases covering prodigious distances. We eat wholesome, healthy one-pot meals, but not elaborate riverside buffets characteristic of big rafting outings. My gear is top quality, for example Savage … Continue reading

Rio Grande Lower Canyons 2015

It was a great week on the Rio Grande with 8 paddlers. Five of the group were women who were among the first to brave the Lower Canyons by open canoe, and it was an incredible week – a new moon and the stars were incredible. Using a headlamp we did some shadow hand puppets on a cliff face. The images were sixty feet tall! The river was up and running emerald green.

DSCN0878-300x224Met the second group tonight and we depart for our put-in at first light. I will be glad to get back on the river the turnaround was exhausting, frantic  and cold! It never got above freezing in Alpine. Warming up for tomorrow. You can follow our progress on  

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An Invitation

My daughter Amanda married last November and is eager to start a family of her own. She has babies on her mind and asked me if I had any photos of her when she was a baby. I do. But in those days, thirty years ago, I shot only 35 mm slides. In one of my efforts to compact my stuff I had dumped thousand of slides from Kodak carousels into shoeboxes. So my task was to sort through these shoe boxes, full of slides, looking for baby Mandy.

There was an unintentional consequence. My squinting eyes found those baby pictures, and they brought tears to my eyes. I also rediscovered exquisite photographs from my past: a year in the wild bush of arctic Canada, climbs of Colorado Fourteeners, New Zealand’s Milford Track, the Australian Outback, river trips on the Thai-Malay border, water skiing in the Adirondacks, flying my Piper … Continue reading

My Dream Last BWCA Canoe Trip

The following blog post is a piece I wrote for the Winter 2014 Boundary Waters Journal Collective Wisdom section. It is published and available now on the news stand. It’s a great issue with a lead winter camping story by Bear Paulson. My  take on the Collective Wisdom assignment has kind of quirky Christmas feel so I don’t think Stu will mind me putting it on my blog today as long as I proclaim, “first published in the BWJ.”  

Stu asked “Suppose you could take just one last trip in the BWCAW/Quetico. Where, when, how and with who would you spend this special trip? What aspects of wilderness canoe tripping are absolutely the most precious to you, and why?” I recommend you buy the magazine and check out what my colleagues wrote, but below is my take (unedited).

It’s tempting when conjuring a fantasy canoe trip to remember my most … Continue reading

In the thick of the Merlyn Project

IMG_0257-300x225After ten days north of sixty I have completed over 30 hours of recorded interviews and maybe more important I reestablished a solid “feel” for the North. Up here in December, if you blink, the short day is over and your eyelids have frozen together. Jean Carter put me up, fed me fish almost every day and was a fantastic host. I just focused on the book. The only bad thing about that is I have not been promulgating my Rio Grande river trips very well, all 3 of them still have openings. Please help me spread the word. I am going regardless of how many paddlers we have but i would like the IMG_0276-300x225 Continue reading

Merlyn Project Update

I am in Hay River collecting stories and photos of Merlyn Carter.

The journey to Hay River was an adventure. Minnesota has had an unseasonably cold November and as I drove across Minnesota and North Dakota the temperature continued to drop. I had removed the passenger seat of my Subaru so I could sleep in the car, but the first night was a bit chilly -17 F. The next day and not long after I drove into Saskatchewan the snow and wind began. It was white knuckle driving bashing through drifts and straining to see the road with only a brief stop for a Thanksgiving hamburger. I did make it across the entire province and spent my second night in Lloydminster, Alberta (in a motel). It snowed all night and by morning the town was blanketed. With high winds predicted for the afternoon I timed my drive ahead of the … Continue reading

Speaking Engagement at Midwest Outdoor Adventure Expo

This Saturday (November 22) I will be giving three presentations  at Midwest Mountaineering’s 59th biannual Outdoor Adventure Expo.  The event is located at 309 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis right next to their retail store.  My presentations will be at the Hanson Building of the University of Minnesota just a short walk from the store.

The Rio Grande – A Leap Backward in Time           9:15-10:15 Hanson Hall Room 104

Towering canyons, desert bighorn sheep, hot springs hidden in the cane, ancient cliff dwellings, slot canyon hikes, endemic birds.  Imagine a nineteenth century canoe trip with a surprise around every bend in the river.  Border tensions, unreliable water levels and fear have emptied the fabled Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande and real magic has returned. Join Rob Kesselring as he shares the adventures he experienced during his Rio Grande canoe journeys of 2011, 2013 and 2014.

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Rio Grande Trips text

For some reason the text part of the last blog post did not appear on the blog; so I am splitting up the photos and text.  Here is the text:

Big news about the Rio Grande trips this winter. Bestselling author and legendary canoeist, Cliff Jacobson, is joining me on the first of my three Rio Grande trips. If you have ever wanted to see and hear Cliff uncensored this is your chance. He is an amazing man with lots of skills and lots of stories. I paddled the Upper Canyons of the Rio

Grande with hime five years ago, but this will be his first attempt at the Lower Canyons.  February 5-12, 2015.

The other two trips will follow.: Feb 15-22,  Feb 25-March 4

Here’s the plan:  Each trip is 8 days and 7 nights traveling every day and passing through spectacular canyons…warm, sunny, gentle rapids, hot springs, unusual … Continue reading