After four years as Marketing Director for Yak Gear, Mark now partners with creative outdoor brands and pursues the gray area between freelancing and (f)unemployment. Currently, he is floating between Austin and Houston, TX - still searching for new water, cool people, and cheap beer.
Fifteen thousand four hundred and eighty-two miles, thirty-seven states, one hundred and twenty-two days, six full-time job offers, a couple of hundred fish, five oil changes, sixteen tubs of cat litter, and one defective brake light ticket later, I woke up on a friend’s couch back in Houston.
The sun came up, the world kept spinning, and I poured a cup of coffee.
It was over.
Professional kayak angler Robert Field, kayak fishing YouTuber Rex DeGuzman, and Kayak Angler Magazine‘s web editor Ben Duscheney, and I spent eight days paddling, fishing, and portaging 100-miles through the Adirondacks. Expeditions like this don’t just make good friends. Trips like these also create cool videos. Here are the four parts of our 100 Miles Through the Adirondacks mini-series.
I was covered in it.
Mud stuck to my ankles like socks, hardened adobe huts fell from my shorts, and sweat pushed the salty brown war paint from my face. Back at the launch after a full day chasing redfish through the marsh – looking, feeling, and smelling mucky – I realized this wasn’t what I was expecting eight hours earlier when Jared asked, “You don’t have anything else to do today, right?”
Technically, it was a question. Realistically, it was a warning. Buckle up, we’re not leaving until we cover some serious ground and find some bigger redfish.
I wasn’t sure if I should do it.
In the revolving door of perpetual political one-sidedness – an internet feed full of my-way-or-the-highway cyber stances on deleted confidential email threads and misunderstood second amendment threats – my finger hovered hesitantly over the send button outside of Ollie’s Pub.
You can’t miss the message. I drove north on the five from a hazy fourth of July weekend in LA to Lodi, California – pronounced load-eye not load-y, to save you the laughter from the local bartenders that made me sweat. The fence signs, bumper stickers, and billboards from twenty miles out all the way to the patio at Ollie’s where I sat enjoying my Lagunitas IPA all preached one message: Stop the Tunnels.
This is Willie McCovey. It’s a statue; it’s not Stretch himself.
In the sixties and seventies, Willie was one of the best hitters in baseball. Spending most of his time at first base for the San Francisco Giants, he earned his paycheck by making pitcher’s knees buckle from sixty feet and six inches away in the lefty batter’s box. When Stretch came up to bat, Giants fans would all shift over toward the right field deck at Candlestick Park with hopes of catching a souvenir – a shift defensive players could have benefitted from too if that defensive mindset hadn’t been forty years before it’s time.
Willie never played on the field backing up to China Basin, feeding Mission Creek and then San Francisco Bay – but his namesake cove, built and named twenty years after his retirement – is now a paddler’s monopoly on blasted home run souvenirs.