I have to confess a certain fondness for long range expeditions, so it was with more than a little excitement that I found myself reading about four women who want to take on the longest, un-dammed river in Mongolia-China-and-Siberia. The Nobody’s River Project launches in May of this year and has all the makings of what Yvon Chouinard calls “real adventure.”
Of course Chouinard (who founded the Patagonia Company) also said “real adventure” doesn’t begin until all your plans lay in ruin, so be careful what you wish for, right?
But something tells me none of these women expect to cross 4,400 plus kilometers of desert, mountains, river gorges and remote Siberia without a hitch. And personally, I can’t wait to follow along!
It’s hard to tell who the instigator was on this one. Amber Valenti is expedition leader and my gut tells me it was her, if for no other reason than it would take an Australian to dream up something gutsy like this. But I have calls in to my sources, so we’ll get to the bottom of it – the story beneath the story – and let you know.
The Team looks super solid. You’ve got your professional river rafter and Grand Canyon guide in Becca Davis. Your watershed ecologist in Sabra Purdy. Your physician’s assistant in Amber Valenti. And adventure photographer Kristle Wright to keep it all in frame. Solid. Let’s just hope they all bring along strong stomachs, because from the expeditions we’ve tracked in that region, Mongolians eat some strange stuff.
In all seriousness though, Nobody’s River looks like a terrific project. We really have dammed up just about every big river on the planet already. A recent source-to-sea documentary on the Colorado had filmmakers trudging through dry desert long before reaching the Sea of Cortez! So it’s real important to see what big rivers still look like before we mess them all up.
The Amur remains untouched mainly because it’s just so freaking remote, and Sabra Purdy’s going to have her hands full documenting everything that’s going on out there. National Geographic is giving them a hand, through their Young Explorer Grant Program (love those guys). So are Polartec, Eddie Bauer, etc. Xpediton.TV even pitched in a few dollars (okay, I did. The “company” is still ramping up). But these aren’t the big bucks you might think. So if you can shake a few coins out of those jeans… or better yet, imagine yourself magically air-dropping a hot meal to four shivering woman at their Siberian campfire. You’d do that, wouldn’t you? For a few bucks. (Sure, sign me up).
I’d say it’s worth it, in a pay-it-forward kind of way. You never know when your river’s gonna take an unexpected twist, so it’s good to have those karma points to buffer the drop.
Nobody’s River will be updating from the field. So stay tuned, we’ll do our best to keep up!