By Ken Johnston
Editor, Rainy River Record
Many local people may not have noticed the small kayak passing through Rainy River last Wednesday, but kayaker Rudy Goldstein certainly noticed the people here!
“I started this journey mostly as a physical challenge, trying to average about 30-40 miles per day,” he explained. “Then a stranger took me in, in St. Peter, MN., gave me a couch to sleep on. That was turning point. I realized I could meet a lot of really cool people along the way and so the trip began to be less physical and more social.”
He left Hutchinson, MN. on April 25, 2010 via the Crow River, on his way to York Factory on Hudson’s Bay; some 2,500 miles away. The Crow River flows right by his parents’ backyard, and the 23-year-old decided to go on an adventure this summer.
“I finished my under grad (studies) and this August I begin my Masters at the University of Kansas. I felt I needed some fun before I begin that.”
So why York Factory? “It interested me. It is an abandoned Hudson’s Bay post. I think it was abandoned in the 50s.”
Goldstein has done a great deal of canoeing but decided to kayak this trip. He made his way all the way to Winnipeg by early June. From there he was to cross Lake Winnipeg, however that is where his plans all changed.
“I was hit by a killer wave which put a hole in my boat,” he recalled.
He patched it as good as he could and made his way to Grand Marais where he had it repaired properly.
The accident coupled with the fact it was going to cost $2,000 to charter a plane to fly back home with his boat from York Factory he decided to go with a more fluid plan.
He got on the Winnipeg River and followed right through to Rainy River last Wednesday.
Nearly 60 days on the water he pitched a tent at the base of the international bridge and met Bob and Robin Jenson and Ron Mondor and Rose O’Connor who all reside there.
The latter couple gave him breakfast and a hot shower the next day.
“I have really met some great people along the way. So many strangers are willing to open their homes up to me and I sure appreciate a place to sleep, sometimes shower and the meals,” lauded Goldstein.
From Rainy River, he headed east along Rainy River.
“I hope to get all they way to Lake Superior and then back into the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers and eventually show back up at my parents’ backyard!”
Only time may hold him back. He has to be in Kansas by the second week of August.
While he camped in Rainy River last week, he said he has stayed in the middle of nowhere.
“I have seen many beavers but surprisingly no bears or moose yet! Sleeping in people’s back yards has been about a once a week occurrence.”
Goldstein plans to stay on the Canadian side of the waterways as long as he can, saying on his blog last Wednesday,
“I’ve been met with astounding kindness from Canadians. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked for directions and ended up getting a cold beer and hot supper. I dig it.”