The Misadventures of a Cross-America Kayaker
by Hank Landau
The Misadventures of a Cross-America Kayaker is the story of an old man on what would probably be his final voyage. Over a span of seven years, Hank Landau paddled and portaged over 4,700 miles on nineteen waterways and rivers, six of them going upstream. He touched seventeen states and traversed thirty-one dams along a route that started at the Pacific Ocean and ended at the Atlantic. Alone almost the entire trip, and always under his own power, age and injuries took their toll. Paddling over a diversion dam, run-ins with a charging alligator and a rattlesnake that pursued his kayak, almost being run down by tows and barges, being swept out to sea at an inlet, capsizing in rapids, and becoming lost in a swamp as fire ants invaded his cockpit were some of the perilous, life-threatening, and sometimes humorous misadventures he encountered along the way. He also had ample time to reflect on the accomplishments of early explorers, including those of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, whose route he followed west of the Tennessee River. Not a day went by that he didn’t reflect on the beneficial and detrimental impacts civilization has brought to our rivers and waterways and to the people who now live and once lived along their shores. This is their story, and your story, as well as his.
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