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Alvarez concludes his 4,000-mile journey

News-Chronicle file photo.

Daniel Alvarez, the 31-year old Floridian who made a stop in Two Harbors last summer on his way from the Northwest Angle in far northern Minnesota to Key West, has completed his paddling adventure. He pulled his 17-foot kayak onto a Sunshine State beach last Saturday where he says he was greeted by "tons of people," a reminder of how many friends, relatives and acquaintances had been rooting for him and awaiting his safe return.

When Alvarez spoke to the Lake County News-Chronicle last August, shortly after he embarked on his 4,000 mile journey, he had already made his way through he BWCAW, conquering the formidable Grand Portage before paddling out to Isle Royale and visiting the North Shore community. He seemed undaunted by what lay ahead, perhaps because he had already logged over 8,000 miles on foot, hiking the length of the Continental Divide, Pacific Crest, Hayduke and Appalachian trails and graduating from Yale Law School somewhere along the way. As time wore on and he continued along his route toward the keys however, he faced times that tested his mettle.

"It should be simple, but I've lost so many pieces somehow, drained away in rainstorms, ripped off in the wind, melted in the sun. Sometimes I think I've found them all. Sometimes I want to hold myself up like a restored vase and proclaim myself 'as good as new!' in a loud voice even as glue dries in the cracks, but then I have a day like today, where those jagged lines shine bright and I notice all the little pieces that I've never found. And I fight for every foot of water," he wrote in a blog entry last month.

With his latest adventure now over, Alvarez said he's not sure what he'll do. Last summer he said he would like to be a writer and was in the process of writing a biography of his father, Carlos Alvarez, who came to the U.S. from Cuba as a child, attended and played football for the University of Florida, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duke Law School and was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He also said that there were many places he'd like to go.

"I have lots of ideas...New Zealand has a long trail that covers 1,800 miles across both islands and there's the Pilgrimage Route in Spain, but paddling has opened up all sorts of possibilities," he said.

Whatever he decides to do, it's difficult to imagine a barrier Alvarez could not overcome.

To read Avarez' account of his journey, visit his website,