Forty Miles Later

I’m typing this with aching, blistered fingers after having slept nearly twelve hours. When I first began calling this trip an “expedition,” it was with tongue firmly in cheek–but that is in fact what it became. Being out on a major river alone, scrambling over industrial ruins, trying to make headway against wind, barge wakes, and choppy water while keeping an eye out for alarmingly swift oil tankers is not something to take lightly. That said, this trip has revealed far more than I could have ever dared hope. I do feel as though I’ve visited another world that is all around us but is completely obscured by highways and bridges. Re-exploration may seem like a playful, gimmicky term, but that’s what this trip was about: finding the terrain between, below, and around the infrastructure. The “local frontier” exists.

So much to share with you! But first, we have to sift through and edit hundreds of images, videos, and audio files. So many people to thank, and thank them I shall, but my greatest debt of gratitude goes to my support team: my loving wife, Susan, and Les and Laura Baird. Their endless enthusiasm and resourcefulness made the Hidden River Expedition a success. I could never have done it without them.

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9 Responses to Forty Miles Later

  1. Rose says:

    Sleep must have felt great last night! Can’t wait to see the images and hear rest of story…

  2. Kathy says:

    It was a noteworthy adventure. You have seen things long hidden and mostly forgotten… what a marvelous thing. I’d like to have seen through your eyes – minus the blisters. Welcome home. And heartfelt thanks to you for sharing the adventure.

  3. Jerseyman says:

    After viewing your “victory” photograph, Whimsy, no written description is really needed of your current physical condition. I suspect your arm around Lady P was less about affection and more about support for your tired, aching body!!

    I just hope you had some time on your trip for some desultory reading!


  4. Lord Whimsy says:

    Alas, most of the reading I did while on the rivers pertained to the size of barge wakes. That said, I was mightily pleased by the selection you had enclosed in my satchel upon my departure! I had briefly borrowed that very book from my eminent horticulturalist friend Mr. Bill Smith–but I was unable to complete it at the time. So I am grateful to have a second chance at completing–and keeping–said title, so my hearty thanks to you, sir. Once again you provide an invaluable service!

  5. Benicek says:

    I must admit that I envisaged something less like a commando raid. You look like you’ve just escaped over the Pyrenees.

    Well done.

  6. Tom says:

    Any new botanical discoveries along the way?

  7. Maria Ragusa says:

    Congratulations Allen! Amazing journey. Can’t wait to see the video!

  8. Lord Whimsy says:

    Hah. Other than some of the most robust Lobelia cardinalis I’ve ever seen? No–but the amount of fish, birds and turtles along all three rivers was remarkable.

  9. Lord Whimsy says:

    Thanks, B.

    As heroic as the attempt may have been, I wasn’t planning to go down a major urban river by myself in a lovingly curated, handmade antique Algonquin canoe dressed in spats, tophat, and embroidered westkit, twirling my olde timey moustache between oar strokes. I leave that to those devastatingly handsome Brooklyn mixology lads. Besides, I love a girl in a uniform. 😉