Bloomington kayakers conquering the Mississippi from source to sea
Long days soaking up the summer sun and enjoying a day on a river or lake are the stuff many students dream of during their summer vacation.
For Matt Rens, a Bloomington Jefferson High School class of 2016 graduate, and Jesse Richard, a 2017 Jefferson grad, their summer plans are providing plenty of both, although it’s mostly business that occupies their time.
The duo embarked on a kayak journey of more than 2,300 miles last month. Their goal: to navigate the Mississippi River from its source, Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, to the sea.
They took a break during their journey to the Gulf of Mexico last week as they passed through the Twin Cities. What was initially going to be a brief overnight stay at home with their families turned into a two-night break from sleeping in a tent or hammock on the shore of the river, thanks to a day of questionable weather during their arrival stop in the Twin Cities.
By June 29 they were back on the water, heading south of the Twin Cities in a pair of loaded kayaks filled with the food, the simplest of propane grills, a modest wardrobe and a few electronic devices to document their travels through the nine remaining states of their journey.