Posted by: Columbia River | March 30, 2009

Ground Support Journal

– May 1, Keel has also reached the Ocean!  Video update coming soon.

April 24, Paul has reached the Pacific Ocean.  Epic trip with a smash hit ending…. story coming soon.

April 9

  • After a visit to the hospital & x-rays it is confirmed.  Paul has re-fractured an old injury on his left ankle.  Paul’s plans are to return to the Columbia after the EF Lewis race this weekend.  Regarding returning Paul had this to say: “When I broke my ankle 4 years ago I was going to Humboldt State University.  If I can manage to get to class at ‘Hills and Stairs University’ (H.S.U.).  Then I should be able to finish the Columbia”.  He plans to sleep on the cataraft and avoid walking, especially in sandals…
  • No word from Keel.  Last heard he was in Hood River and taking a break from the wind.
  • The source of the Columbia is still locked down under ice and snow.  The team will be unable to complete the expedition by the end of April and will have to return to the source at a later date.
  • WHITEWATER UPDATE – Paul needing a bit of “whitewater therapy” headed out with Todd Anderson, Erik Boomer, Cody Howard, and Lane Jacobs for a quick Money Drop Session.  Todd, Erik, & Paul all had great lines. Afterwards Paul hobbled back to the car, the ankle feeling good and the drop even better!  Update will be at HuckinHuge.  The rest of the crew got on more LW laps and other Columbia River Gorge goodness.

April 4, is the update.  Lots of stuff happening.

  • Keel hitchhikes into Hood River and handles business, then returns to John Day Dam and puts back in where he left off.  Time off river: 2.5 days  –  need wind break.
  • Paul was pinned down BIG TIME.   Stuck for a day till the winds died down, he  then paddles for 16 hours / 40 miles straight.  When finally pullng over to stop, he slips on an extremely steep embankment and possibly broke his ankle (xrays pending).  Ground Support picks him up after two days of trying to “push on”.  Plans are to get the ankle examined and then “continue the fun!”
  • Party in Hood River was fun, Rush Sturges shows up and runs Metlako, L-Dub was sick with a 3.7 flow as the team boofs their way down to the Columbia River.

GS out…  update with results shortly.

April 2, Contact made via phone with Paul. He has been sitting in the same spot since 7am. The wind was blowing 65 mph at Mcnary two days ago and Paul said it’s pretty much the same today. The sandy beaches are gone and he is getting into the rough landscape of the gorge. He is trying for John Day Dam tonight if the winds calm down. paddle hard!

April 1, Paul is still battling the winds however he managed to paddle ALL night long, well into the next day, stopping around 8am and making it just shy of Arlington. He made about 40 miles of progress! Unbelievable! Updates from our sponsors are starting to pop up, check out this update from AT Paddles here!
-March 31, Paul calls in from McNary Dam and has been waiting on strong winds to die down just so he can get up to the Locks behind the Dam. “I’m sitting a half mile from the Locks and I can’t make it there because of the wind.”
-March 30, Paul made it to McNary Dam late in the evening where he camped just  upstream of the Locks.
– March 29, The Columbia Experience moved down river while the Ground Support went on a tour of the Tri-Cities area’s best whitewater, it did not disappoint. Kennewick Paddle Photo Update here!  ..with Whitewater Update.
March 28, The Columbia Experience joins together…full team floats the Hanford Section.  “The Waterfall Tour” stretch of man-made, roosty falls into the river.  Kennewick party is a hit. Thanks to Chris Bolken & Leif Kirchoff for hosting the event. And a big thanks to COR CellarsSyncline Winery for their support.
March 27, Whitewater Update = Cody Howard runs Metlako Falls click here—> Huckin Huge.  TCE camped in Kennewick awaiting arrival of Ground Support for tomorrow’s float.
March 24, Keel and Paul check in.  They are camped in Kennewick, WA.  Keel went on an airplane tour and while flying over the Columbia, encountered a massive headwind and was stirred up.  “Turbulence, is not a way a to describe it”, says Keel.  click here—>On River Exclusive * Journal Entry. Keel checks in with a days account from the river.
March 23, Keel and Paul check in.  All is well and they are taking a day off to regroup.  Plans for the party this weekend are still in effect.  Come join us out there!! 
Video Update here!  – The Wenatchee World makes a short video on the project.  Click “The Columbia Experience” !
March 22, Paul checks in from the river.  He is waiting for a pick up and will be in Kennewick shortly.
March 21, 15 miles of progress… the winds must be brutal.
– March 20, Contact made via phone from Paul. He was in great spirits and made it around Rock Island Dam and 10.2 miles downstream to camp.
– March 19, Contact made via phone from Paul.  He and Keel has just interviewed with the Wenatchee World (update coming soon).  CLICK HERE for a cool update from The Star!  Paul received a ride around Rocky Reach Dam and will be camped out at the next tonight.
– March 18, Contact made via phone and track satellite from Paul.  Note: the “Day 17 Camp #2” he actually paddled all night long.  Starting at 9pm till 6am this morning.  Waking back up to glass conditions around 11am.  He calls in and sends a picture via text message of the camp spot.  It is a “locked up for the winter” campground that is completely deserted and in a protected cove.  Waiting to hear or see a check in from today’s travel……scratch that!….as I just wrote that Paul texts:  “Took it easy today and paddled 10 miles to Rocky Reach Dam.  Camping upriver of it and portage (hitchhike) around tomorrow”.
– March 17, Contact made via phone and track satellite from Paul.  Mentions that he had to walk 2 miles to “scout” the lake to see if it was a bay or not.  ….beats paddling all the way there to find out if it was or not.  Winds seem to be picking up right after noon and are relentless till sundown.  Keel is now far ahead.
– March 16, Contact made via phone from Keel & Paul.  First actual contact made by Keel with Ground Support.  He wondered about the current situation off river, mentioned that he is writing ALOT and will be sending over files for a Journal Update.  Paul calls twice to check in.  Seems that the headwinds are ridiculously strong and he was just sitting there blowing upstream.  Tough day for TCE.  WHITEWATER UPDATE: Myself and Ryan Scott ran the Little White 5 times and then joined a team of rafters / cat boaters down the Green Truss.  Video Update here!
– March 15, Contact made via phone message from Paul. He and Keel are sitting just upstream of Chief Joseph Dam! They have managed to paddle about 47 miles in the last 27 hours! They sounded pretty tired, but glad to be where they are.
– March 14, Contact made via track satellite. 8 miles below Grand Coulee, making great time!
– March 13, Contact made via phone. Paul was sitting 4 miles upstream of Grand Coulee Dam expecting to take all day the next day to portage around Grand Coulee.
– March 12, Contact made via track satellite.  Paul calls to check in, leaves message but has zero reception so message is broken and unreadable.
– March 11, There hasn’t been a check-in as of 23:30.  Headwinds might be very strong and therefore paddling during the night may be necessary.
– March 10, Days are adding up and TCE seems to be on track.  After a heinous day yesterday (paddling till 9:20PM) today seems to have been a good recovery day and stopping at a normal time (?) – we’ll see.  Fun Fact:  Camp is made in the middle of the Columbia on an island.  Coords: 48.4968, -118.1845 .  EDIT (12:55AM March 11) – Forget what I said!  The dude is possessed…note the track made an hour ago! (12am camp!!!) – holy freakin freezing motivation.
– March 9, Contact made via track satellite.  Seems after talking with Paul during his passage through Keenleyside, he has amped up the pace and is going full steam ahead.  Fun Fact: I’m shocked to see that he has just pulled over for the night @ 21:16.  Still awaiting an official Brightman update….and to hear how the border x-ing went.  Hopefully there where some USA celebration beers.
– March 8, Contact made via Phone w/ Paul!  He is making great time and pressing on downstream.  Being able to paddle through the locks at Keenleyside Dam, he is now trailing Keel who is 20 mins ahead of him and will be “completing the rest of the journey separate”.  When asked what he is doing durning the long hours of rowing, Paul responds, “Standing up and dancing all the way down the river.  With an IPod in his reach and paddling late into the nights”.  Ryan Scott has returned to Hood River and is joining myself in the Ground Support tasks.  Check out the first video update here! -amazing footage! & stay tuned!
– March 7, Contact made via track satellite. Seems to be making good time, stopping just shy of Westley, BC / Keenleyside Dam.
March 6, Contact made via Phone! Ryan Scott calls and checks in.  Video update – Click Here!
March 5, Contact made via track satellite during lunch.  No check in for the evening.  wondering….
March 4, WEND Magazine posts on their blog about The Columbia Experience (TCE from now on) [here].  PADDLING posts on their blog an interview w/ TCE as well [here].  I interviewed with Paddler Magazine about TCE.  Massive coverage  and raising awareness is being conducted as we speak.  Many followers flock to the blog to track the team as we all anxiously await the first “communication check” with actuals.  Fun Fact: 38 degrees with snow and rain at TCE Day 4’s Lunch Spot.  EXCLUSIVE PHOTO UPDATE is up and posted.  Looking good.  GS out.
– March 3, Contact made via track satellite.  Seems they have stopped at a logging camp (note the checker board-like clear cutting on the hills) and then pushed on for a long afternoon to the days’ camp on River Right (RR from now on) in a North-facing protective cove
March 2, Contact made via track satellite: The day’s travels took them around Shelter Bay’s point.  Drifting past Sutherland Falls.  WHITEWATER UPDATE: Paddled on the MF Nooksacks’ locked-in, undercut grotto of a gorge.  Another landside blocked access on the road, to the upper reaches of the canyon.  Ironically at the same location as the previous landslide they [dudes with interest in accessing the gravel pit upstream] had just cleared last week!  Clearwater waits….with a log in The Clit.
March 1, The Columbia Experience’s first wave of core team members launch from the bridges over the Columbia in downtown Revelstoke, BC.   Contact made via Spot Track in the evening:  looks like they are off the road a bit, eliminating any link up with the Shuttle Crew aka campin’ out with Lana and Leif.
February 28, Last minute packing, a Video Camera purchase and they are off.  Lana and Leif drive them to Revelstoke, BC where it is reported to be “Absolutely beautiful and completely covered in snow!”.
February 27, The Risen Sun‘s World Premier was a complete success!  It was great to toast to successful prior expeditions, the film and the launch of the next adventure.
.  .  Cody Howard (GS)


-April 22, 2009 1:35:27 PM = Day 42 Lunch: Latitude: 46.144 Longitude: -123.3735
-April 21, 2009 10:19:48 PM  = Day 41 Camp: Latitude: 46.1436 Longitude: -123.2526
-April 21, 2009 12:49:27 PM = Day 41 Lunch: Latitude: 46.0692 Longitude: -122.8976
-April 20, 2009 10:05:03 PM = Day 40 Camp: Latitude: 45.8871 Longitude: -122.8046
-April 19, 2009 11:00:03 PM = Day 39 Camp: Latitude: 45.6103 Longitude: -122.6045
-April 19, 2009 11:08:57 AM = Day 39 Breakfast: Latitude: 45.6341 Longitude: -121.9654
-April 18, 2009 7:57:26 PM = Day 38 Camp Latitude: 45.6723 Longitude: -121.891
-April 18, 2009 5:45:48 AM = Day 38 Breakfast: Latitude: 45.7108 Longitude: -121.4967
-April 17, 2009 8:00:43 PM = Day 37 Camp: Latitude: 45.6049 Longitude: -121.1427
-April 16, 2009 10:58:50 PM = Day 36 Camp: Latitude: 45.6212 Longitude: -121.1289
-April 16, 2009 3:20:33 PM = Day 36 Lunch: Latitude: 45.7106 Longitude: -120.7186
-April 3 – 13, 2009 – Off the radar, resting in Hood River, OR.
-April 2, 2009 7:25:28 AM = Day 33 Breakfast: Latitude: 45.7885Longitude: -120.0885
– April 1, 2009 = Off the radar, Somewhere around McNary Dam.
– March 31, 2009 11:56:49 PM = Day 31 Camp: Latitude: 45.9409Longitude: -119.2985
– March 30, 2009 11:40:42 PM = Day 30 Camp: Latitude: 45.9471Longitude: -119.2737
– March 29, 2009 11:27:24 PM = Day 29 Camp: Latitude: 45.9867Longitude: -118.9893
– March 24 – 28 = Off the radar.  Camped in Kennewick, WA.
– March 23, 2009 2:42:47 PM = Day 23 Lunch: Latitdue:46.68353 Longitude:-119.932
– March 22 = Off the radar.  Phone update.
– March 21, 2009 6:43:54 PM = Day 21 Camp: Latitdue: 47.093 Longitude: -120.0311
– March 20, 2009 10:36:25 PM =Day 20 Camp: Latitude: 47.2299 Longitude:-120.0753
– March 19, 2009 11:57:45 PM=Day 19 Camp: Latitude: 47.3867 Longitude: -120.2627
– March 18, 2009 6:38:43 AM=Day17Camp#2: Latitude: 47.7973 Longitude:-119.9851
– March 17, 2009 7:41:55 PM = Day 17 Camp: Latitude: 47.7973 Longitude: -119.9851
– March 17, 2009 1:08:41 PM = Day 17 Lunch: Latitude: 47.9698 Longitude: -119.8853
– March 16, 2009 6:14:03 PM = Day 16 Camp: Latitude: 48.1002 Longitude: -119.7357
– March 16, 2009 2:44:48 PM = Day 16 Lunch: Latitude: 48.0155 Longitude: -119.6788
– March 15, 2009 10:00:03 PM = Day 15 Camp: Latitude: 47.9938 Longitude:-119.6235
– March 15, 2009 5:05:34 PM = Day 15 Dinner: Latitude: 48.0288 Longitude:-119.5728
– March 15, 2009 1:35:03 AM = Day 15 Camp: Latitude: 48.1118 Longitude: -119.2343
– March 14, 2009 5:46:09 PM = Day 14 Dinner: Latitude: 48.0356 Longitude:-118.9714
– March 13, 2009 08:33:57PM = Day 13 Camp: Latitude: 47.95 Longitude: -118.8701
– March 13, 2009 12:04:32 AM = Day 12 Camp: Latitude: 47.9117 Longitude: -118.547
– March 12, 2009 3:36:14 PM = Day 12 Lunch: Latitude: 47.8926 Longitude: -118.3536
– March 11, 2009 11:32:58 PM = Day 11 Camp: Latitude: 48.0469 Longitude: -118.3679
– March 11, 2009 12:01:25 AM = Day 10 Camp: Latitude: 48.3097 Longitude:-118.1861
– March 10, 2009 5:51:57 PM = Day 10 Dinner: Latitude: 48.4968 Longitude:-118.1845
– March 09, 2009 9:16:47 PM = Day 9 Camp: Latitude: 48.7336 Longitude: -118.0508
– March 09, 2009 1:20:43 PM = Day 9 Lunch: Latitude: 48.9147 Longitude: -117.7979
– March 8, 2009 3:21:13 PM = Day 8 Camp: Latitude: 49.094 Longitude: -117.6857
– March 8, 2009 3:21:13 PM = Day 8 Lunch: Latitude: 49.3415 Longitude: -117.7481
– March 7, 2009 10:53:54 PM  = Day 7 Camp: Latitude: 49.3736 Longitude: -117.9522
– Mar 6 18:01:54 2009 = Day 6 Camp: Latitude: 49.6152 Longitude: -118.1323
– Mar 5 10:04:43 2009 AM = Day 5 Lunch: Latitude: 49.9814 Longitude: -117.9201
– March 4, 2009 6:11:00 PM = Day 4 Camp: Latitude: 50.0932 Longitude: -117.9269
– March 4, 2009 1:21:32 PM = Day 4 Lunch: Latitude: 50.1419 Longitude: -117.8143
– March 03, 2009 5:45:02 PM = Day 3 Camp: Latitude: 50.28 Longitude: -117.885
– March 03, 2009 2:24:56 PM = Day 3 Lunch: Latitude: 50.3525 Longitude: -117.9272
– March 02, 2009 4:23:13 PM = Day 2 Camp: Latitude: 50.5681 Longitude: -117.9512
– March 02, 2009 12:44:26 PM = Day 2 Lunch: Latitude: 50.6545 Longitude: -117.9368
– March 01, 2009 5:38:20 PM = Day 1 Camp: Latitude: 50.7699 Longitude: -117.9994
– March 01, 2009 1:14:27 AM = LAUNCH:  Latitude: 51.0042 Longitude: -118.2199
– February 28, 2009 7:30:00 AM = In route to Revelstoke, BC / Supplies / Border X-ing
– February 27, 2009 8:30:00 PM = The Risen Sun Premier / bon voyage! – Seattle, WA


  1. thanks a million for keepin this updated for all us fans and followers. good luck guys. The weather isn’t cooperating. Looks ugly from here on easy street, sittin in front of my computer. Big hugs …keep warm.
    Keel’s MOM…xoxoxo

  2. This is Pauls Dad. Hi Donna, glad to see Keels mom is also following this adventure.

    Looks like they are moving much slower than planned. They went 20 miles the first day and only 15 the second. As of 2:30 today they have move 15 miles and it looks like they stopped for a break near a logging opperation.

    I take the coordinates and put them into Goggle Earth for a better view of the terrain.

    The trip was planned for 50 miles a day. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say when they reach a town.

    The weather report for the area is for 36 degrees during the day with snow and rain. YUCK!

  3. thanks Greg. It is cool to be able to check the spot on hybrid and see the real lay of the land. thanks for the details. I wasn’t aware of their daily expectations or logged miles. And the weather seems to be hangin raining and snow for a bit. they got feet of snow yesterday it looks like. It would be cool if the fellow doing the daily updates, Cody, could give a quick weather condition synopsis. I did that on my sail around teh world and people appreciated getting an idea of what it was like out there.

  4. big hugs guys… keep on Keepin On.. xoxo Keel’s Mom

  5. The boy traveled 20 miles yesterday. That seems to be their average.

    The group camped last night across from the town of Nakusp, BC. It is a small town which looks beautiful (in the summer). Google Earth has a number of photos of the area. With luck they might stop in to call and give an update.

    they seem to be averaging 20 miles a day.

  6. Looks like they had a real good day yesterday, 24mi by the lats… I got an email from keel… it is real winter conditions for sure. this is going to be quite a venture for those fellows. big hugs guys. Keep the faith in your journey. It is a great cause.
    big hugs xoxoxo

  7. Anyone heard from Keel yet?

  8. I second that? I am not sure how he was checking in and if he and Paul aren’t staying together, who has the Spot? Looks like Paul has it. keep the updates coming…. thanks
    big hugs xoxo Keel’s Mom.

  9. Paul has the spot.

  10. thanks for the Keel updates Ryan and crew. I have no worries that Keel will be fine. Thanks for being there for him.
    Big hugs xoxoxo Donna

  11. Paul has the gps , yes ?
    Is Keel ahead or behind ?

  12. It is 76 miles from the Campsite on the night of the 10th to the Grand Coulee Dam. ETA to the Dam would be on Friday.

    It is 280 miles to the Hanford Reach which they plan to be at on the 27th of March.

    Getting around the Grand Coulee Dam will be a challenge if Keel and Paul are not working together on this. Paul has all the bulk of the gear and food. Keel can’t go on unsupplied to the end.

  13. I may have just missed it, but are the “Spot” updates linked to a Twitter account? (see If so, I wouldn’t mind following along. Twitter: @RichC

  14. Good to see that Keel is back on the radar. Thanks. 47 miles in 24 hours – ouch!

  15. for Keel: from the Buzerak’s:

    Speaking of guys, I checked in in your guy yesterday.. what a cold start for the trip…why so early? I asked, Michael said, raising his eyes from whatever he was reading… guess they must have other stuff to do this summer. Anyhow, Keel has certainly taken life by the paddle and is going full force. God speed, we are with him, I feel like he’s one of my own… hope you don’t mind sharing your kids with me, but then what are friends for? We love all of you guys! Be in touch, Donna love and miss you

  16. Call from Keel: He was hangin to make sure paul got by the dam all good. I think though after they cleared the next dams he may make some headway to a checkpoint ahead. His hip is giving him trouble and needs a day out of the boat. An old injury. but otherwise, his spirits good. He says paul is just as tough and spirited as they come, making the best headway possible with his boat. Keel is carrying his own food and gear so able to go at his own pace to the checkpoint. It seems unfortunate that their boats aren’t more similar for pacing.

  17. […] weekend, Hood River! Keep checking the Ground Support Journal for daily […]

  18. Thanks guys for all the ongoiing ground support and great positive energy… big hugs xoxo Keel’s mom…Donna

  19. Paul and I have spent almost the entire trip in alone. He has been determined to finish this trip and paddled harder and longer than anyone ive ever met. It is a scedule I wish apon no one, and one I could not endure myself. He regularly rowed for 12 to 14 hours a day, camping on windy cobble beaches, then eating ramin noodles and gorp, and doing it all over again.
    For the first 600 miles we made regular contact almost every day at some point, sharing a cup of coffee, or cocoa, and a few words of encouragement for each other. There were many times when I wished we could hang out and chat for a while but I would get cold being dressed to paddle and would have to keep moving on, eventualy setting up camp to see him paddle by in the moonlight puting miles behind him.
    I wish nothing but the best for him, and hope the wind is at his back and the full moon lights the path at night.


  20. Hey All

    I saw paul down by the wind river on sat afternoon.
    Way to get after it Paul!!!

    That is pure determination!!


  21. On tuesday I padled down from Hood River to Bonneville dam, then walked to North Bonneville to leave my boat at Jerred Jackmans house, Ill commit to the last 120 miles from there, a 3 day paddle in good conditions. it looks like I may start monday next week if the current forecast stays the same.

    Way to go Paul, almost there. I bet he can smell the sea breeze from there..


    • Looks Like Paul is on the Pacific…congratulations!!!!! Just incredible. Big hug…keel’s mom, Donna

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