Woman aims to be the first to paddleboard down the Mississippi River

Iowa News

DUBUQUE, Iowa (CNN) – There may have flooding in Siouxland, but the river on the eastern side of Iowa is flowing as usual. And a New York woman could soon become the first woman to solo paddleboard the Mississippi River.

“So, I am paddle boarding the Mississippi River source to sea,” paddleboarder Louanne Harris said.

Louanne Harris started paddling at Lake Itasca, Minnesota a little over a month ago and she is bound for the Gulf of Mexico.

“So far, so good. The weather has been rough the last few days but clearing up now. It’s been pretty solid,” she said.

This is not her first rodeo. A few years ago she and a friend paddleboarded down the east coast from New York to Miami and the seed was sown.

“I loved it. It was amazing. I wanted to do another trip and I knew I wanted to try a solo trip because it is another animal,” Harris said.

So with all her gear strapped to her board, she paddles on. Head winds and dams present challenges but she is pleased with her pace.

“I think I’m pretty much on track for it. I’m hoping that I get to St. Louis by the end of the month. And then after St Louis, it all opens up and speeds up,” she said. “There’s nothing holding the river back anymore because there are no more dams pass St. Louis, so I should be able to really scooch down the rest of the way.”

She aims to hit the Gulf of Mexico in early November. According to rivers for change, when she does, Harris says she will become the first female to solo paddleboard the entire length of the big river, having traveled 2,300 miles on her paddleboard.

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