GREAT FALLS – A St. Louis man is traveling the Missouri River on his kayak.
Mark Fingerhut started his journey two weeks ago on the Madison River near West Yellowstone.
He arrived in Great Falls two days ago and has been relaxing and staying with a friend until the next leg of his journey.
Mark is raising money for the Missouri River Relief, which is an organization based in Missouri. The organization hosts many events around connecting people with the river and to recognize it as an important resource.
The group also does river clean-ups and educations events at schools.
Fingerhut said, “I just wanted the opportunity to explore the entire river and bring attention to the cause of exposing people to the wonderful resource we have, not only in Missouri, but all the way in here in Montana, it’s been great so far.”
His favorite part of the trip was paddling through the Gates of the Mountains.
His journey will include kayaking through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument, then going through Fort Peck Lake, and on to two more large lakes in North Dakota and South Dakota.
After the Dakotas, he will travel on to Nebraska, Kansas, and back to Missouri, where he will end his trip in St. Louis. The trip is expected to take a total of three months.
“There’s lot of flooding especially downstream, so that means the water will probably be faster. As long as it’s safe to be on the river, I’ll continue on.”
Fingerhut mentioned so far along his journey he has met many ‘River Angels,’ who have some connection to the river.
“It’s just great to have a good community of people,” he said. “I’m not just camping on the side of the river every night. I can mix that in with staying at someone’s house or getting a hot shower, a warm meal.”
One of Fingerhut’s good friends made his kayak for the trip. It’s a wooden, 20-foot-long cedar kayak built by Timber Longboard Company.
To keep up with his journey along the Missouri River, you can follow his blog.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News