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Who am I, who is the Missouri?

Author and Lake in SD

Hi. I'm Jonathan Wiley of Denver CO. In the last three years I have been fortunate enough to take part in multi day white water river trips in Colorado and Utah waters. Since these trips I've come closer to my essence, learning from the water as well as from stillness upon the banks. As much as the rawness of nature has taught me, so have my mentors, friends and family. I've learned to be more myself; to express my truth more in the world and to be less afraid of me. In the vein of personal expression I've always romanced the epic. I've thought maybe I'd ride a bike from west to east coast, walk across the desert, or who knows!

I seek to row a boat down the Missouri River in part because I want to know more of myself and potential, in part because I want to know more intimately the people I share this country with and in part because I want a stronger bond with nature and know first hand our impact on her rivers which we tend to take for granted. I think I might find what I'm looking for somewhere along the 2,341miles of North America’s longest river.

Missouri River Watershed

To to this I will build an Angus Rowboat's expedition row boat

(http://angusrowboats.com/) and launch summer of 2018 or in spring of 2019*. I expect it to take me approximately 3 months to travel the entirety give or take a few weeks.

In this voyage I will be stripped of structure to go with the flow of the river and nature. I will rise with the sun and go to sleep with it’s going down. Seeking to master the oars I will find the main river channel, be carried by it’s current and row when it isn’t there. I will travel when weather and conditions permit. I will go where the river goes and camp on the banks that welcome me. I will dream under the stars and wake up again still engaged in the constant conversation with nature. Every day will be ruled by the elements, weather in my favor or not. (Pun intended). This will be my lifestyle as the banks of seven states flow steadily by.

Cheyenne River, tributary of Missouri River

Besides the opportunity challenge myself and to sync with nature’s rhythms, this voyage will give me a chance to observe, from the head waters at Three Forks Montana, to the confluence with the Mississippi river near St Louis Missouri, one of America’s most important watercourses. In doing all this, it is ultimately my goal to create a multi-media portrait of the Big Muddy. This documentation will focus on the state of the river including the people and nature that exist along its banks. Against the epic backdrop of what was the old highway, and has ever been the drink of countless in the west; how has the personality of this river evolved? How has the cumulative effect of human activity shaped it? Who and what is the Missouri now?

This blog and my instagram (@wolfwiley), will follow the expedition from boat building to river navigation, and the sort of adventure that is entailed in answering the above questions in completing over 2,000 river miles. If you are reading this and want to support this endeavor go to: https://www.gofundme.com/jon-voyage-rowing-the-missouri

Like the mixing of streams who’s origins are far apart, this channel of expression will be a synthesis of creativity, adventure, love for nature and people and a big river. In the same way that a river is formed, the events and influences in my life have merged leading me to this current dream.

*Launch originally set for first half of June please read: "Eddied Up"