|Do Brad Tallent and Austin Graham have the Spirit of Adventure?
By Conor Mihell
The interminably hot, backbreaking days of hiking the 2,200-mile spine of eastern North America seems like an appropriate place to dream of the relative ease of paddling. In 2012, friends Brad Tallent and Austin Graham backpacked the length of the Appalachian Trail. En route, "we came to the conclusion that a long distance kayak trip was in order," says Tallent, 24. "It didn't take long for us to start throwing ideas around."
The pair planned to launch their kayaks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, and paddle all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Starting last June, they paddled upstream on the St. Lawrence River to Lake Erie, then linked to the Mississippi via the Ohio River. Seven months and 3,000 miles later, they completed their Gulf to Gulf Odyssey in New Orleans.
Tallent says the biggest challenges along were mental. "We were far from family and friends and just had to keep each other going," he says. "We had no idea how much we would rely on each other for emotional support throughout the entire trip."
They packed two GoPro cameras and filmed along the way, compiling material for a documentary. "We really just wanted to share our experience and show people what life in a kayak for seven months straight is like," says Tallent. "We captured some amazing moments and its also a relief that we can always look back on a huge part of our lives and relive every minute of it."
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