Outdoors Magazine

American Kayakers Paddling Volga River Source-to-Sea

Posted on the 22 May 2014 by Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi
American Kayakers Paddling Volga River Source-to-Sea Here's an expedition that has been underway for awhile already, but had slipped under the radar a bit. Americans West Hansen and Jeff Wueste are kayaking the Volga River in Russia, going source-to-sea over its entire 2300 mile (3700 km) length. According to them, this will be the first full descent of that river, which is the longest in Europe.
The men set out back on April 13, and have already been on the water for 40 days. According to the expedition's website, they have already completed 1344 miles (2162), leaving them with just 956 (1538 km) yet to go. Initially, West and Jeff had hoped to wrap up the entire journey in about 50 days, but it appears that they'll run a bit longer than that.
If the name West Hansen rings a bell, it's because he led the first descent of the Amazon River that we followed closely back in 2012. Since then, a new furthest source of the Amazon has been discovered, adding 57 miles to the length of the river, and another team is now making the first descent using that location as its source.
West and Jeff have been posting regular updates from their adventure, and they report that the Russian countryside is beautiful. They also indicate that they have been encountering swarms of mosquitos, in numbers far worse than they were in the Amazon. West tells his home team they've seen little else in terms of wildlife however, coming across just frogs and swallows. Unlike the Amazon, the Volga also has a series of dams that they must portage, which adds a different challenge to their adventure.
I exchanged emails with West awhile back, as he was looking for some contacts for possible sponsorship on this expedition. At the time, he indicated that he had something big in the works, but he wasn't quite ready to share it just yet. Now I know what he's been up to, and I'm glad to see he was able to get this new adventure off the ground. I wish him and Jeff luck on the final stages of the journey.

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