Kayaker Completes 4,000-Mile Expedition

Outside Adventure Grant winner paddles into Key West

Joe Spring

In early 2012, a former corporate lawyer named Daniel Alvarez pitched Outside a back-of-the-napkin plan to kayak 4,000 miles from Minnesota to Florida that was so awesomely deranged, the magazine announced it would pay his way. On March 9, he completed his eight-month journey. Daniel Alvarez paddled his 17-foot yellow sea kayak onto a Key West beach crowded with revelers and celebrated his arrival with a breakfast of Key Lime Pie.

With a $10,000 grant from Outside, Alvarez put in on the shore of Lake Superior in September and started paddling south—sort of. From the start, he took detours. He visited Isle Royale and the Apostle Islands at the start of his trip. Near the end of his trip, he stopped in Fort Myers to eat a bowl of ice cream promised to him by a man he never met. In between, he blogged about a whole lot more meandering on his website, There were an awful lot of excursions during his journey, and an awful lot of people who said they were envious as he strolled into their towns.

“A lot of them say, ‘I wish I could do that,’” Alvarez told the Duluth News Tribune. He told those people: “If you make it a priority, you can. If you don’t make it a priority, there are a thousand excuses not to do it. Eventually, you just have to get in the boat and start paddling.”

Outside will have more on the next Outside Adventure Grant soon. Until then, visit our “What Trip Are You?” Facebook app to register to one to win one of the Best Trips of 2013.