The Quest:

I started on a quest to paddle my kayak past every meter of shoreline of Sonoma county. Not all on one day! Just from one beach to the next on a single morning, then from that beach to the following on another day, until I saw it all. Before finishing that quest, I started doing trips in Marin County, so I added that to the quest and eventually documented every meter of both those counties. I have driven up Highway One through Mendocino County many times, but after becoming interested in kayaking I drove up that county with the eyes of a kayaker and saw a new layer of beauty in that coastline. I had to see that coast from the other side now! So Mendocino added itself to my quest, and now I have paddled every meter of that coastline.

As I paddled farther and farther from home it didn't make sence to drive so far for just one day of paddling. I started going on week long vacations to do several paddles in each area. Then I started doing 100 mile long trips camping on the beaches in northern California. Finally I fineshed every inch of California in a single 260 mile expedition averaging 25 miles a day.

That should have been the end of the quest but I kept going and paddled the entire coast of Washinton state in one expedition and half of Oregon the next year. I'm sheduled to finish Oregon in July of 2008. I've paddled 250 miles of the Pacific coast of Baja and hundreds of miles of the shoreline of the Sea of Cortez.

Of cource I continue to go back to favorite places to see new animals, to see the shore in different light, weather, or tides. I write these trips up also, and include them in the mailings and eventually here in this document.

How the document got started:

A friend of mine, Dan McMullen, started keeping a daily log and sending it to a few of his friends via email. I was inspired to do something like this myself. But instead of a daily log, I started writing a journal of all my kayak trips and sent them out as installments via email. The inspiration arrived after months of undocumented trips, so I poured over all my maps and memories and reconstructed the shoreline I had already passed. As I went on further trips, I wrote them up as they happened and were still fresh in my mind. These later trips are dated, so when you see an undated description, it might not be as accurate as the ones written later.

I tried to keep the size of the entries small, so people could read them in their mail and delete them. When they got too long, I chopped them up into installments and send them out on sucessive days. This helped stretch a single entry out over several days of email messages. It was actually kind of fun, cutting the long entries up at the scary moments, and then continuing the next day with "When last we left Our Hero...". If you read this document, you will miss out on that aspect of the journal.

The list of people who wanted (or at least didn't object) to getting these kayak installments via email grew, and I wanted to re- transmit the older messages to people who had missed them. The problems of keeping track of this grew, and it never actually happened. Also, a few people thought my descriptive prose could use some help in the form of pictures. Hey, this is just my journal, I don't have to write great prose here! But sending pictures via email is such a bummer. A Web page is the perfect solution: I can place all the text here for people to catch up on the stories they missed, I can add pictures for all to see, and perhaps more people will find it interesting enough to read.

All text and images Copyright © 2008 by Mike Higgins / contact