Up & Down the Big Muddy – A History of Paddling on the Missouri River
Presentation by Norm Miller, adventurer and host of Missouri River Paddlers
Norm Miller will share the stories of many Missouri River paddler expeditions through history.
Published: July 14, 2020
In 2004, Norm Miller put his obsession with the journey of Lewis and Clark into action by retracing their steps and paddle strokes across the country, up the Missouri River, across the continental divide and down the Columbia watershed to the Pacific Ocean. In a Kruger canoe. By himself. Yes, you read that right. He paddled UP the entire Missouri River.
In addition to his other head scratching adventures, Norm also created the Missouri River Paddlers Facebook Group. This started as a way to connect paddlers that had done long-distance expeditions on the Missouri River to each other and to people attempting new expeditions. This has grown into a family of people sharing stories and information from all over the world and now has a website to compile all this amazing information.
Being a history buff, Norm has also been researching and collecting stories of Missouri River paddling adventures going back hundreds of years. From the Mandans from today’s North Dakota, who crossed the river in buffalo hide & willow bull boats to fur traders moving up and down the river in dugout canoes to modern-day explorers who left little trace of their adventures except a few articles in small-town newspapers or self-published books, Norm has been compiling all the info he can find about these long distance adventures.
Throughout the presentation, Norm shared some of the amazing and eye-opening stories he’s unearthed, and some of the remarkable humans that made it happen.
Norm Miller lives in Livingston, MT, where he runs a window cleaning company, hosts river travelers from all over the world, hosts the Missouri River Paddlers website and Facebook Group, collects history on Lewis and Clark and other river travelers and shares his passion with thousands.
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Resources & Links
Dig deeper for more info on this subject.
- Missouri River Paddlers Facebook Group
- Missouri River Paddlers website (with an unbelievable archive of paddling history, interviews with expedition paddlers, photos, maps and more)
- “The Complete Paddler – A Guidebook for Paddling the Missouri River from the Headwaters to St. Louis, Missouri” 2005 – by David Miller (no relation). Considered the bible for long distance paddling trips on the Missouri. Out of print…selling for $295.00 on Amazon! (gulp!)
- Missouri River Water Trail website – a guide to paddling the river in Missouri.
- Love Your Big Muddy Expedition – Janet Moreland’s journey Source to Sea on the Missouri & Mississippi Rivers. And her Source to Sea trips on the Mississippi and Yukon.
- On The River – Beyond a Book Expeditions – biologist and adventurer Sara Dykman and her crew of four paddlers and bikers started at Triple Divide Peak in Montana and paddled to the Gulf of Mexico. .
- Missouri River Paddlers Resources – a list of books and more about Missouri River adventures.
The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport
is hosted by these wonderful partners.
- Missouri River Relief
- Les Bourgeois Vineyards
- Katy Trail Bed & Breakfast
- Missouri River Cultural Conservancy (MoRivCC)
Streaming is sponsored by Rivermiles, the folks who bring you the MR340.
Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!
And a special tip of the hat to volunteer David Owens who has been doing the sound for the Speaker Series for several years.
Our thanks to Dave and the good people of MoRivCC who are video recording these presentations when possible.
The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.
The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.