Mount Rundle – Banff, Alberta
July 7, 1972
Elevation: 2,949 meters (9,675 ft) Highest mountain in Banff.
All day climb with my dad and brother – Don and Jeff Starkell. We carried a tent and warm clothing for expected cold and had planned for a night on the mountain but the day turned out to be hot and sunny. We drank water runoff from melting snow and creeks. Met two descending climbers above the treeline. We looked out to the top of Mount Norquay which we passed at 7000 feet. Signed climbing-club book at the summit – Dana and Jeff the two youngest entries. Looked down from top overhang to aquamarine Bow River. While descending, I took a tumble in the shale and nearly rolled off a narrow ledge which dropped a few thousand feet. We managed to make it down from the mountain just before nightfall.
Winnipeg, Canada to Belem, Brazil
Jun 1, 1980 ~ May 1, 1982
19,603 kilometers (12,181 miles) Guinness world record distance canoe trip – 13 countries.
I was nine years old when my father first mentioned the idea of paddling from Winnipeg to the mouth of the Amazon River in South America. A keen interest in nature, adventure, and an escape from Canadian winters prompted my enthusiastic response. This was all it took for my father to set a departure date and begin planning. 10 years later, when my brother Jeff had completed high-school, we set out to paddle three thousand miles of rivers, six thousand miles of coastline to Port of Spain, Trinidad, and another 3000 miles of rivers to reach our destination at the mouth of the Amazon River.
Read the entire story – “Paddle to the Amazon”
El Cofre de Perote – Xalapa, Mexico
Nov 20, 1980 ~ Nov 22, 1980
Elevation: 4,282 metres (14,049 ft) Extinct volcano.
During our break in Veracruz from the winter storms on the Gulf of Mexico, our buddy Gabriel Delgado mentioned a mountain he had once climbed. An ancient volcano that was much higher than Mount Rundle. The timing wasn’t perfect, but we decided to give it a go anyways. With minimal preparation and without a tent we set out with Gabby and his friend Juan from Columbia. We spent our first night standing in the freezing rain like statues on Easter Island. The next day we made it to a small village just below the top – a small barn was our haven for the night. We reached the summit on the third day and took in an incredible view before heading back down the mountain.
Princeton, Iowa to Key West, Florida
Jun 1, 2001 ~ Aug 22, 2001
4023 kilometers (2,500 miles) canoe trip. Mississippi River, Intercoastal Waterway, Gulf coast.
After talking with my dad about a summer adventure, we decided to paddle to Key West from where I was then living in Princeton, Iowa. Half the distance would be along the Mississippi River and the other half along the intercoastal waterway which skirts the relatively calm seas of the Gulf. We were joined by my friend Jason from the music store where I taught guitar lessons and his friend Josh. Neither Jason nor Josh had paddled before but they were up for the challenge. The Mississippi was in full flood that summer and the Gulf relatively calm other than a tropical depression that hit us near Tampa Bay. We fed the mosquitoes and no-see-ums along the Everglades and then hung out for a few days in Key West before heading home.
New York City to Key Largo, Florida
May 31, 2003 ~ Jul 29, 2003
2896 kilometers (1,800 miles) canoe trip. New York, Intercoastal Waterway, Atlantic coast.
My dad and I decided we wanted to do take another canoe trip to Florida, but this time along the East coast. Again, most of the trip would be protected from the open sea inside the intercoastal waterway. The main thing we hadn’t anticipated was the paranoia of the coast guard, navy, and military. The coastal officials more or less chased us out of New York harbour and all the way to Key Largo. With so much of the coastline developed, our only option sometimes was to camp in city parks and take refuge with the homeless. The constant inspections seemed to speed us along. I didn’t realize at the time it would be the last adventure I’d make with my dad. Future adventures are in the works for my son David.
Ragbrai 44 – Glenwood to Muscatine, Iowa
Jul 23, 2016 ~ Jul 30, 2016
811 kilometers (504 miles) bicycle trip across Iowa.
I had heard about the annual Ragbrai bike trip across Iowa ever since I moved to the Quad Cities back in 1999. I decided that 2016 would be the year I finally experienced this festive event. I headed to Des Moines to join up with a team and we drove out to Glenwood, IA where some 15,000 cyclists were camped out and waiting. Quite an interesting affair with a wide range of enthusiasts and some beautiful scenery. A highlight for me was cycling around Lake Rathbun during the century ride on Day 4. By the end I’d teamed up with Trent, Dylan, and Jordan from Wisconsin. We celebrated our arrival in Muscatine with the traditional wheel dip in the Mississippi River.