The Explorer's Grants Winners
A month back, we announced adventure: The Huckberry Explorer’s Grants. We wanted to help get you out there—wandering, exploring, traveling, and experiencing the adventures you dream about. So we partnered with some friends (Topo Designs, Poler, Nemo, Peak Design, Goal Zero) to equip the winners with top-notch gear, and we offered up three $1,000 Explorer's Grants. We opened the contest doors, and the trips poured in.
Hiking the Appalachian. Riding the Great Divide. Rafting India. Biking South America. Rowing the Pacific. An avalanche of ideas crashed on our laps—and we hunkered down, carefully considering each one.
After evaluating the 1,500+ entries (with a 9 point scale, nonetheless), we sent the finalists to a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year—Alastair Humphreys, our friend and guide in all things exploring. The criteria we set entailed the following qualifications: “The trip has a purpose, the person shows planning, the directions are clear, the trip is achievable, the person seems capable, it can be documented, and the person is capable of documenting it.”
Alastair got back to us with three winners, who we are proud to announce.
Ian hooked us from the start: ”This fall, I want to canoe the wild Moisie River in Quebec, Canada and climb remote, unclimbed, 1,000+ foot tall granite cliffs along the river with three other explorers.” He went on, “There are few connections to the modern world along the river. We have to take a floatplane to the headwaters, then paddle for three weeks to its terminus at Sept-Iles.” And that’s only half the adventure.
The three man crew has scouted climbing cliffs on Google Earth, and hope that the “trip could introduce brand new routes and bring to light an unexplored climbing area.” Here’s to believing it will.
Alastair’s Notes: “Nice! It's an original idea, uncharted territory, new climbs, and combines canoes with climbing. I like the idea of recce-ing with Google Earth, but not really knowing what they will find.”
Out in Tanzania, Marc’s been working hard in “an isolated mountain village managing an agricultural development project.” He’s wrapping things up this July, then setting out on “a trip on my 125cc motorcycle through the winding Masaai cowpaths between Korogwe and Kiberashi, Tanzania.”
“My starting and ending point will be Korogwe,” Marc says. “In between, I’ll let my hunches guide me. I thrive in 'the bush,' and speak Swahili fluently, so hamna wasiwasi. I’ll sleep out solo or with herders whose paths I cross.”
Alastair’s Notes: “That’s a lovely part of the world—I cycled through it…and I like his conclusion: The why: I’m a free-spirited young man who likes new friends and dusty, unmapped roads.”
William ("Wiggs") and his friend, Hunter Bolling, set up the ultimate hiking/mountaineering challenge while "working a dude ranch and wrangling horses." The plan has 10 steps, completed in 10 days. Here's a short summary:
"We would follow the Wind River High Route as trekked by Alan Dixon and Don Wilson, with several of our own adjustments. We would cross the Continental Divide four times, traverse ten passes between 12,200 ft and 11,500 ft and cover 100 miles with about 20,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain." Sounds hard. The guys sound up for it.
Alastair's Notes: "I like the idea of concocting his own original challenge. It’s a fun challenge too which would make for a great story." And, "It is very beautiful terrain that they are heading to."
Thanks for Being Awesome
We’d like to express our deep gratitude to all adventurers who applied. There’s no shortage of exploring to be had, and reading the stories, ideas and plans was truly inspiring. A sincere thank you—for inspiring and exciting us—is well deserved.
Happy exploring, #seeyououtthere, and stay tuned for adventure updates from our Winners.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. – Ralph Waldo Emerson