81-year-old Adventurer: Oldest to Solo Paddle the Mississippi River

Dale Sanders Solo Paddle on Mississippi River

Dale Sanders’ goal was simple; become the oldest person to solo paddle the Mississippi River while raising awareness for Juvenile Diabetes. The iconic river is the fourth-largest in the world, and an inspiring backdrop as Dale set out to raise funds for families affected by a disease impacting his own niece, who was diagnosed with T1 Diabetes at four years old.

May 2015: Dale set out on his journey, “The Mississippi is a non-forgiving river. Look ahead, recognize the small life threatening clues. Otherwise, prepare for the worst. Under the rivers’ harsh conditions, it can take you in a heartbeat.” In addition to much training and preparation, Dale carried his SPOT Gen3® so that people could follow his tracking page and so he’d have the ability to communicate beyond cellular, especially in an emergency. “I carry it for multiple reasons, but mostly because it gives me peace of mind knowing I have SPOT with me everywhere I go away from civilization.”

June/July 2015: Dale continues to adventure down South. Tens of thousands of people followed his SPOT Share Page and many parents brought their children to the water’s edge to meet him and share their experiences. “I paddled the full Mississippi River, under every bridge, around every dam, through numerous life threatening conditions, in record high waters, sometimes enduring great hardships all for those kids suffering from T1 Diabetes. It is my hope that a cure will soon be found.” To date, Dale’s journey has raised over $22,000 to help in this endeavor.

August 2015: Dale ended his trek in Mississippi on August 15, 2015. Reminiscing about his trip, Dale says there were a couple times he thought about pushing his S.O.S. button on his SPOT Gen3, which would have alerted the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) of his location. While thankfully he never had to push that button, he said there was one occasion in particular that he felt was an extremely close call. “It’s bad portage by Blanchard Dam through gully’s, rocks and forests, and it was 39 degrees and storming. There was no town, nothing there, not even a building to go in to seek refuge.” Finally a man who had joined up with him two days prior was able to build a fire that likely saved their lives. “Had we not gotten that fire started, I thought I might need to push the S.O.S. that night.”

Not only has Dale’s journey inspired families affected by Type 1 Diabetes and raised funds, but he has also become a role model for people of age. Dale says hundreds of people have reached out to say he has given them hope. In response, Dale’s message is a strong one, “Get out there and find some adventure you may have only dreamed of. Do it, no matter how little it might seem at first — rewarding surprises await at the other end.”

Next up for Dale? He is currently in training to be the oldest man to hike the Appalachian Trail and he comments, “I will have SPOT with me of course!”

Snag a SPOT like Dale’s so you can stay in touch beyond cellular this summer, wherever life takes you. For a limited time this summer, SPOT Gen3 is HALF OFF (after mail in rebate; annual subscription required). More information can be found at FindMeSpot.com/Dale.

In addition to SPOT Gen3, the SPOT Trace® and the SPOT Global Phone are also 50% off through July 31. The newest addition to the SPOT Family, SPOT Trace, is a tracking device which is already helping tens of thousands of customers to keep tabs on their valuable assets – cars, boats, ATV’s, bikes and RV’s. For those who want the most direct form of communication beyond cellular, the SPOT Global Phone gives adventurers the ability to make and receive calls or emails.

To view the trailer to Dale’s “Source to Sea” documentary that captures his 80 day journey down the Mississippi, and to follow his latest adventure, visit greybeardadventurer.com.

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