Attempt to canoe the length of the Mississippi River ends in Iowa for Minnesota man and his friends

They were in pursuit of the world record in honor of their friend.
Publish date:

A Minnesota man's mission to break the world record for fastest canoe trip down the Mississippi River has come to an end. 

Kirk Millhone of Minnetonka and his friends Kevin Eckelkamp and Nate Lastinger departed from Lake Itasca at the mouth of the Mississippi on May 9, and on Friday their pursuit of reaching the Gulf of Mexico in 14 days ended in Guttenberg, Iowa. 

The problem they ran into was exhaustion, mainly because they were down to two men after Lastinger had to leave Wednesday because of a family emergency.

"Kevin is up for it," said Millhone in a Facebook post Friday night. "I'm not as young as I used to be. So our expedition is coming to a close. It's been an extraordinary time."

"Sadly, I just can't do it anymore." 

Even though their pursuit of the record is over, they still plan to canoe the entire length of the Mississippi in honor of Steve Eckelkamp, a friend to the group who set the record with Millhone in 1980 by trekking the river in 35 days, according to the Pioneer Press

Eckelkamp died of a heart attack last June. 

"The record may be over, but the adventure continues!" the group posted to Facebook. "Though the original team cannot continue as they had hoped, Kevin’s heart is still determined to follow the river. His dad (Steve’s brother) Ken is leaving the support crew and hopping in the canoe. They will paddle at a much less aggressive pace, and with all safety in mind, come off the river to sleep, but they both want to go for as long as possible to honor the memory of Steve."

You can track their progress down the river right here

Next Up

Mortensen becker-finn

Shakopee GOPer posts DFL lawmaker's personal cell number on Facebook

Rep. Erik Mortensen has been accused of 'doxxing' Twin Cities lawmaker Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.

derek chauvin

Minneapolis scraps plan to pay 'influencers' to share information during Chauvin trial

The plan to pay influencers to share city-approved messages during the trials of the officers charged in George Floyd's death drew criticism.


Toddler called 911 and said 'baby' was dead, turned out to be her doll

We're checking into whether the doll is named 'Chucky.'

Target Center

NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 will be held in Minneapolis

The NCAA unveiled the logo for the 2022 Final Four on Monday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.


Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in St. Paul Sunday evening

The incident occurred near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Atlantic Street.


Farmington man killed in rear-end crash

The man was stopped waiting to turn left when he was hit from behind.

vaccine, covid

More than half of Minnesota's 65+ population has received a vaccine dose

Gov. Tim Walz has stated that 70% of seniors will need to have received at least one vaccine does before the state can expand eligibility.

dan dulhane crop

Twin Cities radio personality Dan Culhane has died

He was battling multiple myeloma when he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

police tape, crime scene

Man found dead in Minneapolis from 'act of violence'

A woman was also fatally shot Sunday morning.

police lights

AMBER Alert: Missing 2-year-old found safe

The alert was issued Sunday evening.


Mississippi, Boundary Waters named on 'most endangered' list

The American Rivers report highlights risk facing 2 prominent areas of Minnesota.

police lights

Body recovered from Mississippi River in Minneapolis

The body was reported around 9:20 a.m. Sunday.

upper st. anthony falls lock and dam

Rare chance to see what the Mississippi River in Minneapolis used to look like

The Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam will be open to the public.

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 7.02.09 AM

South metro men reel in 120-pound monster sturgeon

They caught the record fish on the St. Croix River.


They're coming: Mayfly hatch expected along Mississippi River soon

Hastings is turning off the lights to "lessen the impact" of the mayfly hatch.

Celebrate the North: A look inside the Wunderbar Glampground

Check out the debut feature in our video series that takes you to Minnesota's hidden gems.