Recently marrying Tom Williams brought Madison Williams to Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he is assigned to the United States Air Force.
“We tried to live a long distance from each other for a while before moving to Grand Forks,” she says.
She described Grand Forks as about as facing the Adirondack Mountains as you can get.
” It is flat. There are no trees or trails. Pretty much the only outdoor activities the locals do there are hunting and fishing,” she added. “I fish, but I am not a hunter. I just wanted a way to stay connected outdoors, so I decided to take a kayak.
Williams said she thought about taking a long kayak trip on the Red River and noticed it spilled into Lake Winnipeg.
“I started talking to people in Grand Forks about things to know in a hunter safety course and I heard about a woman who went from Minneapolis to the Arctic a few years ago, and that I should look into it”, Madison said. “I heard that Natalie Warren made the trip in 2011. She and I have been talking ever since, and here I am.”
She started the journey on May 7. At Le Sueur she had to stop for a few weeks because of flooding, but said she was lucky enough to meet a friendly family, the Straubs, at the boat dock, and spent two weeks with them before continuing. his trip.
“They were great, with a group of children and a farm”, said Williams.
“There have been a lot of insects, mainly gnats, over the past three days,” she explained.
She typically paddles 10 to 15 miles per day upriver and often against the wind on the Minnesota River.
Williams has a bilge pump handy in his kayak in case the boat starts to flood. His other supplies include an ultralight backpack, tent, and sleeping bag.
His expedition is sponsored by Big Agnes, a lightweight camping company.
In addition, she performs river water quality testing for the state of North Dakota.
Williams has also connected with local groups to hold public conservation events in communities such as Fargo and Grand Forks and other towns along the rivers she sits on. She plans to talk about cleaning up rivers, planting trees and other acts of conservation.
When it arrives in Brown’s Valley, Minnesota, it will go from upstream to downstream.
Some of his other plans include cleaning boats to prevent the spread of invasive species and picking up litter along rivers.
She sourced much of her clothing and equipment from second-hand sources.
Williams suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which ingesting gluten leads to damage to the small intestine. It is estimated that one in 100 people have the disease, but only 30% of them are correctly diagnosed.
She has an immune response if she eats anything with wheat, barley, or rye, so she needs to eat completely gluten-free foods. Most of her food is sent by her husband to post offices along her route. Sometimes she buys food.
“I often eat rice and ramen (noodles)”, she added. “I tried pasta and mac and cheese, but it didn’t work well on my stovetop. It freezes because it’s so starchy.
She also eats mashed potatoes, Jerky, fruit cups, oats for breakfast, lots of snack foods and other things.
Williams is currently unemployed.
“No one would give me time off for the trip” she says.
Williams worked as an overnight mail handler for a time at the Grand Forks Post Office. She has worked for 10 years in retail, including management.
“I’m still trying to figure out my career. I studied civil engineering for three and a half years and learned that I didn’t want to do this,” she added.
For more information, visit expeditionalpine.com and follow Williams on Facebook and Instagram.
(Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected])