TPZ213: Kayaking the Amazon River with Olie Hunter Smart

In 2015, with his friend Tarran, he completed a kayaking adventure along the Amazon River, traveling from the headwaters of the Rio Mantaro, high in the Peruvian Andes, to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil.   It was 400 miles of trekking followed by 3,600 miles of kayaking for 4.5 months.  You can learn more about Olie and his adventures at  Olie Hunter Smart, welcome back to the show.

Olie appeared first in TPZ episode 204 about his walk across India

I interviewed West Hansen about his Amazon adventure in TPZ episode 038

TPZ182: Exploring Newfoundland and Labrador with Justin Barbour

Justin Barbour

With his dog Saku, he explores the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  In 2017 they crossed Newfoundland – 700 km by foot, snowshoe, and packraft.  In 2018 with the support from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Mountain Equipment Coop, they began a crossing over the Labrador Peninsula on foot and by canoe.  It was a 1,700 km dream project and a way to share some of these last undeveloped wilderness areas.  In the end, their goal of reaching the shores of Hudson Bay fell short by 700 km as high winds pinned them down for 28 days.  You can learn more about these journeys at  Justin Barbour, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

TPZ179: In the Footsteps of the Cherokee with Ian Finch & Jamie Barnes

Trail of Tears Ian Finch Jamie Barnes
Ian and Jamie. Photo credit to Will Saunders

After the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1830, the US government began a series of relocations of Native Americans from their ancestral lands in the southeast to areas west of the Mississippi River. The 5 civilized tribes consisting of Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw were all part of the forced removals.  In 1838 the Cherokee people were removed, via a series of land and water routes, from their ancestral homelands in the Great Smoky Mountains to Tahlequah Oklahoma. It’s estimated that of the 16,000 removed, between 4-8000 Cherokee died from hunger, exposure and disease.  This journey was known amongst the Cherokee as the “The Trail Where They Cried”, today known as the “The Trail of Tears”. Beginning in mid-March 2019, Photographer Ian Finch and Jamie Barnes retraced the original trail from The Smokey Mountains into Tahlequah Oklahoma. Over 81 days they descended flooded rivers, canoeing close to 1000 miles, then continuing on foot for 400 miles. You can learn more about their journey at Ian’s website, and at where you can learn more about their upcoming feature article in Sidetracked Magazine’s October issue. Ian Finch and Jamie Barnes, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

Ian previously appeared in Episode 129.

TPZ171: Kayaking the Kwanza River in Angola with Oscar Scafidi

Kayak the Kwanza

In June 2016, Oscar Scafidi and teammate Alfy Weston assembled the 1960s era Klepper Aerius II foldable kayak and set out on the Kwanza River in Angola – which flows 600 miles from its source on the Bié Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean.  During their roughly 4-week journey they experienced many unexpected delays from dangerous hippos and fishing dams that nearly capsized their boat to government authorities that attempted to deport them.  Part of their adventure was to raise funds for The Halo Trust – the oldest and largest humanitarian landmine clearance organization which has been working for over two decades in Angola, a country heavily contaminated with landmines as a result of the 27-year civil war following independence from Portugal.  You can learn more about the adventure in Oscars book Kayak the Kwanza – Source to Sea Along Angola’s Longest River and at  Oscar Scafidi, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

Donate to The Halo Trust

Kayak the Kwanza movie

TPZ148: Amazon Dugout Canoe Adventure with Ben Sadd and James Trundle

DugOut An Amazon Adventure
Ben (left) and James

In 2015 Benjamin Sadd and James Trundle decided to have an adventure and make a film.  They wanted to build on their previous journeys and do something on a grander scale so they came up with the idea of building a dugout canoe.  They traveled to the Ecuadorian Amazon, lived in an indigenous community that helped them build the canoe, then launched it into a river and continued their adventure through Ecuador’s Yasuni region – one of the most biodiverse areas of the world.  These 2 months are captured in their award-winning film DugOut – An Amazon Adventure which you can find online at  You can learn more about Benjamin at and more about James at  Ben and James, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

TPZ145: Skiing and Kayaking in Russia with Callie Morgigno

Ski touring Russia

In February 2017, Callie Morgigno set off with teammate Charlie Walker on a 5,500 mile adventure along the perceived border between Europe and Asia from the Russian arctic to the Bosporus strait in Turkey. It was a triathlon over 9 months as they skied through the Ural mountains, kayaked the Ural river, and cycled along the Black Sea coast to the finish. They call their expedition Following the Line and you can learn more about their journey at Callie is a seasoned traveler, having trekked across Mali by donkey, hiked through parts of Afghanistan, and cycled solo across Asia. Callie Morgigno, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

Listen to Charlie Walker talk about his cycling adventure in Episode 087.

TPZ138: Kayaking in Chilean Patagonia with Will Copestake

kayaking patagonia

With 45 days of food crammed into their 17 foot expedition kayaks, Will Copestake and his friend Seumus began an 840 km expedition through the icy fjords of Chilean Patagonia – a perfect harmony of the brutal and the beautiful as Will writes at his website Will previously appeared in episode 53 talking about his Scotland kayaking and Munro bagging adventure which you can find at Will Copestake, welcome back to the show.

TPZ135: Rafting down the Amazon River with Henrik Frederiksen

Rafting the Amazon

In 2011, Henrik Frederiksen quit his job as a marine civil engineer to pursue his dream of cycling around the world. But when he reached Ecuador, after 2.5 years, he was looking for a change. So with his Bulgarian friend Peycho, the two decided to build a bamboo raft and float down the Amazon river. The raft took one month to build then they spent 4 months floating 2,000 miles through three countries dealing with an unpredictable river and the fear of pirates. After the journey ended, Henrik spent two months on the Caribbean coast of Colombia reflecting and writing a book about the journey titled We Drifted into the Amazon – A homemade bamboo raft down the mighty Amazon River Unsupported. You can learn more about his adventure at Henrik Frederiksen, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

TPZ134: Kayaking from Greenland to Scotland with Olly Hicks

Kayaking Greenland to Scotland
Photo credit : Emma Hall

Olly Hicks and George Bullard kayaked from Greenland to Scotland. Their 22 ft tandem sea kayak was customized to allow them to lay flat in the cockpits and rest during the long crossings. From Greenland they paddled to Iceland then made their way along its northern coast before starting the 4 day and 4 night paddle to the Faroe Islands in a notorious stretch of water known as the devil’s dancefloor. During their final crossing to Scotland, exhausted and with a closing weather window, they stopped short at North Rona the most remote island of the British Isles. After a short weather delay they landed on the coast of Durness Scotland after 6 weeks and 1200 miles of paddling. You can learn more about The Greenland to Scotland Challenge as well as Olly’s other adventures at his website Olly Hicks, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

TPZ129: Canoeing the Yukon River with Ian Finch

Yukon River
Photo credit: Ian Finch

After 68 days and 3200 km by canoe, Ian Finch and team completed their Pull of the North expedition – a source to Bering Sea descent of the Yukon River. Ian is an adventurer and researcher who travels to remote locations to learn about the ancient traditions and ways of life of First Nations people. An important component of this adventure is for the team to immerse themselves in the story and landscapes of the Athapaskan First Nation people who, more than 10,000 years ago, walked from Asia across the Bering land bridge to settle the Yukon River region. You can learn more about this expedition at and more about Ian at Ian Finch, welcome to The Pursuit Zone.

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