Paddles Up! Launch of NYC2CHI 2015


And so here we go again! I can only imagine what Lindsy, my logistics manager/ground crew must be thinking-we have two nights where we know we are sleeping and then…hahahaha-it’s wide open.

Somehow, despite my best intentions, we have quite a few gaps in the accommodation department. The Erie Canal is shaping up-Lockport area, Syracuse, and even a little bit in the Great Lakes, but holy mackerel-poor Lindsy is gonna be covering a lotta my slack. We ain’t got nothing!

I met Lindsy at a speaking gig Carol Mone, a West Coast ocean activist originally from Syracuse, had arranged in that area. Carol collects bits of interesting Syracuse trivia and history and shares them on the “Nostalgic Syracuse” FB page. She came up to me after I spoke at the DeWitt Public library and asked if I needed a driver for this upcoming uphill, upstream paddle.

When I did Miami2Maine, National Environmental Trust, a major partner in that paddle, put out a job listing on They had exactly one applicant, and that was “Emily chase car driver.” She was awesome-which, being the only one-was a really, really good thing. Paddling isn’t the only adventure to be had on this journey. June Barnard on the West Coast paddle had to track down the appropriate tribal elders in order to get permission for us to camp at a site by a burned out car and fresh bear tracks, among many other moments of “trail magic” that make these work.  Clearly it is a certain adventurous type that is even interested in contemplating a position like this. And I was thrilled to have Lindsy come up and ask about the position-and this was after I explained the crazy nature of these paddles-how stuff just happens, how you get to see the best in people, hear their stories, meet the local groups they are part of that are working so hard to make things better in their corner of the world, and see, really see, how all of our water issues are just variations of a theme. So it was a novel experience for me-to have a logistics person so far in advance.

Tomorrow begins the first leg of this journey to New Orleans. Well, kinda sorta, anyway. It IS “The Big Apple to the Big Easy” after all, so I guess the official start will be NYC on Thursday. Yes, it’s a kinda crazy thing to do to get folks thinking about and caring for our ocean and fresh water resources, but maybe juxtaposing it with what we are actually doing to these resources, maybe it isn’t. Because what we are doing to our rivers, lakes, bays, and ocean, is really insane.

Time to sleep-tomorrow is a head butt against the tide! For pretty much the whole ride. I also be pulling samples at the start, finish, and middle for the whole trip. Blue Ocean Sciences will be looking at a variety of contaminants. We had some “interesting” results fro last year’s tests. We expect no less from this year’s!

Paddles up!


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