The photo that inspired the film. Courtesy Voyagers Without Trace Kickstarter

The photo that inspired the film. Courtesy Voyagers Without Trace Kickstarter

In 1938 a trio of French explorers set out to paddle 900 miles down the canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers. Not only did the team claim the first kayak descent of this Western classic, they also filmed their journey along the way. Now, filmmaker Ian McCluskey is making a documentary about the original expedition. Using archival footage and retracing the explorers’ route with three contemporary kayakers, McCluskey wants to revive this lost paddling legend. But he needs your help:

From Ian McCluskey on the Voyagers Without Trace Kickstarter page: “Do you know those stories where a kid finds a hidden treasure map in an attic or a lost letter in an old book? Growing up, I always dreamed someday I’d find a mysterious clue that set me on an adventure.

In a small park, in a small town, in the remote southwest corner of Wyoming, I came across a curious historic marker. On the sign was a faded photograph: two handsome men, and a fetching blonde. They didn’t look like the rugged mountain men or explorers of the American West that I’d seen before on historic signs. Instead, they were young, dashing, and seemed like people I could have known—or wanted to know. The sign hinted at an incredible voyage.

In 1938, these three Parisians became the first to kayak the wild white water rivers of the American West, the mighty Green and Colorado. They took modern adventure gear and beer—the vanguard of a new recreation generation. And they captured their 900-mile journey on color film—before Hollywood’s first color movie!

What led an explorer, his new bride, and his best friend halfway around the world on the eve of World War II? Whatever happened to them? And what did these ‘Voyageurs Without Trace’ leave to be found?”

Continue reading on the film’s Kickstarter page.

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