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Daniel Alvarez journeys on

Alvarez in the Apostles. Courtesy of Daniel Alvarez

At the end of August, Daniel Alvarez packed up his gear in his 17-foot kayak and paddled out of Two Harbors, headed for Duluth. At that time, the Yale Law School graduate was eying the Apostle Islands as his next destination. With a warmer sleeping bag, freshly sharpened fish hooks and enough cooking oil to fry six meals of fish--all courtesy of friends Ken and Keith Larson of Two Harbors--Alvarez ended up spending time in the islands exploring the caves and sandstone structures in the waters of Lake Superior.

"Arches, doorways, pillars, and windows break what should be solid stone and open it up to swallow me whole. On the edge, where I can still reach the outside world with a few strokes, the water glows blue-green from sunlight spilling through hidden windows beneath the surface. The rock is smooth sandstone, wrapping around me in a hundred shades of red, orange, and brown," he wrote.

A Florida native who has hiked the Appalachian, Continental Divide, Huyduke, and Pacific Crest trails--more than 8,000 miles--Alvarez recently embarked on a journey from the Northwest Angle in far northern Minnesota to the Florida Keys. He's also a writer. He is paddling over 4,000 miles through wilderness and down the Mississippi River and capturing his impressions in written word and photographs.

As he makes his way along the route, he leaves many people who eagerly watch his progress and keep in touch. Ken Larson emails every few days (read more about Ken, his brother Keith and friend Gunnar Johnson in Alvarez's blog). The Larsons became like a second family to Alvarez while he was in the area.

"If you run into any trouble, call us. Minnesota is not that big of a state," Ken Larson said as he and brother Keith exchanged hugs and goodbyes with Alvarez, "neither is Iowa."

Alvarez returned to Duluth from the Apostles and embarked on the next leg of his journey just days ago. "I survived the Savanna Portage!" he emailed to the News-Chronicle. "It was pretty crazy, but I had to get to the Mississippi somehow. I should be on the river tomorrow!"

Follow Daniel Alvarez's journey at