John Guider has Completed "The Great Loop"
On August 8, 2011 Beautiful Minds winner, John Guider completed the final phase of his journey along some of the great waterways of the nation called, "The Great Loop". NCCA has been following John every paddle along the way. It has been a great adventure being on this journey with him.
We caught up with John after he arrived in Tennessee and he shared with us the final details of his journey. This final phase was different than the other six in several ways. "I was surprised at how well I felt. My balance and reflexes were good. I had plenty of stamina." , said John. The weather proved to be a major obstacle for John and his sail boat. A few weeks into his trip a ban was placed on the Mississippi River preventing vessels from sailing because of heavy rain.
Unable to sail for two weeks, John found himself in isolation during this time but was also able to meet fellow travelers on the marinas where he stayed. "The people I met were very open and friendly. The made sure I was fed and entertained."
John says the highlight of this final phase was completing the sail on Lake Michigan. "It was extremely dangerous because the water was very cold." John was also fortunate to get to celebrate the Fourth of July in Chicago. "The fireworks near Soldier pier were spectacular!"
Now that "The Great Loop' is over, John is proud that he was able to stick to it and complete the sail. "It's bittersweet. The last night of my trip I slept on an Island and I thought that this may not happen again. This is something that I wouldn't have been able to do when I was younger. I think my maturity played a great part in getting me through it."
John's journey isn't quite over yet. John took over 20,000 images over the course of seven years and plans to interpret them. He has 500 pages of journal notes and will be writing a book based on his journey around "The Great Loop".
"My journey is just beginning."