PaddleQuest 1500 Expedition

$6,776 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 87 people in 43 months
PaddleQuest 1500 

An Expedition to Inspire Outdoor Desire

According to the EPA, Americans spend 93% of their lives indoors. Half of those waking hours are spent parked—8 hours a day—staring at a screen. 

This information comes at a time when a growing body of evidence confirms the physical and mental health benefits that come from communing with nature. And further research suggests that time outdoors also has a profound effect on the personal sense of stewardship for our natural resources that stands as our best hope for saving the planet. Such knowledge should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who’s ever stared into the night sky and yearned for a deeper connection to the world beyond ourselves.

My name is John Connelly, and I have decided to answer that call. In April of 2016, I’ll launch on a 75-day river/ocean odyssey that will carry me over 2 countries, 4 states, 22 streams, 58 lakes, and 1500 miles. As leader of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School for 10 years and a former member of the US Canoe & Kayak team with numerous whitewater first-descents to my credit, I believe I am uniquely qualified to meet this challenge. 

I invite you to contribute to a trip dedicated to raising awareness of the mental, physical, and spiritual renewal that awaits those who embrace outdoor adventure of any kind. Your support will support an expedition that will also earn the distinction of being the first to link The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Saint John River, Bay of Fundy and Maine Island Trail—with the goal of garnering increased support for the organizations that maintain these worldclass water trails.  

Join Me!
I plan blogging daily with details of the day’s high-points and low-points. I will be posting photos and videos, as well. With supporting technology from DeLorme, my journey can be followed in real-time online. I will encourage followers and friends to stop by my route to wish me well or to wet a paddle and join-in for a stretch. Follow me on Instagram as I prepare at #connellyoutdoors.

After the Expedition
Upon completion, I plan a film and a book about my journey. With a schedule of talks and presentations, I hope to inspire even more people, including young people, to participate in canoeing, kayaking and the outdoors generally. I hope to get them excited and motivated to get out there living their own adventures!

How Money Will Be Used
The primary source of funding for this expedition is from like-minded people like you; people who appreciate the outdoors and value our wild resources. Funds will be used for acquiring specialized high performance expedition boats, camping and other equipment, food, logistics and all expenses required for the expedition.

Timing of Funding
As soon as the ice clears the waterways of New York’s Adirondack Mountains in April, I will begin. This means that I need funding as soon as possible to acquire specialized boats and equipment. Training in these boats over the winter will be important. Meeting the funding goal early will allow me to focus on preparations, training and the logistics of food and supply drops, etc.

What This Means to Me
Your support and the opportunity for successful completion of this expedition mean the world to me. I want to make a difference in the world by getting people outdoors to appreciate the incredible, wild resources available to them. I want people to enjoy the benefits and pay it back by conserving and stewarding our resources for generations to come. This adventure is one more thing I can do toward that end.

For me, this is a physical and mental challenge; an adventure of epic proportions living out of my boat experiencing wild rivers, the volatile ocean, unpredictable weather, diverse wildlife, unique people, quaint backwoods towns and rugged working-waterfront villages along the way; all in one extraordinary 1,500-mile canoe and kayak journey.

It is a gift to be able to carve out the time needed for an epic adventure such as this. It is only possible with the support of my amazing wife and partner in life, Nicole, and my family, friends and colleagues to whom I am so very grateful.

Let’s Do This Together!
It is my sincere hope that this first-of-a-kind trip will inspire others to reconnect with the planetary powers that are the natural birthright of us all. Please join this movement by donating to one of my tiers (and scoring some sweet rewards!) All help is appreciated, thank you!


John Connelly
Falmouth, Maine, USA
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65 days and over 1400 miles later and John is in Portland! Can you believe it?!? The privateer tall ship Lynx fired a cannon shot to welcome him into town. John still has about 50 miles to go to reach the terminus of the Maine Island Trail at Kittery Point.

To properly welcome John and celebrate his wonderful achievement we're planning a finale celebration in Kittery Harbor this Friday, June 24th! The location will actually be on Fishing Island in Kittery Harbor, a very short kayak or row from the town dock. Here's a view of Fishing Island from Google Earth:,+Kittery,+ME/@43.0784661,-70.7065891,1405m/data=!3m1!1e3

We'd love to have you come out and join in the fun! The forecast looks great and we're likely have a boat to take folks out to Fishing Island. You're also welcome to launch your own kayak or boat from the town dock or the Traip Academy boat ramp and meet him as he comes into the harbor to finish at Fishing Island around noon. Please contact Nicole Connelly at or 207-776-5689 for more details.

Thank you all for your enthusiastic support for this first- ever expedition!

Lynx welcome to Portland w/cannon shot
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Be sure to check out for ongoing posts, videos, photos and watching my progress. (Thank you Pulp & Wire for making this possible!)

And thank you so much for your support! Please feel free to share this campaign with others, as it will continue into the expedition. Still a bit further to go!

Hey, I launch on Saturday, which means we leave for the Adirondacks this Friday. If you would like your rewards for making your contribution, you will need to send me your mailing address as soon as possible, unless of course you have already given it to me.

Without your support this epic journey would not be possible. Thank you, so much! I'm taking you with me and it will be memorable, to say the least. My best! -John
704 Waypoints. ...Pretty Big Trip!
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I'll be launching one week from today! There is new snow in the Adirondacks, but the ice is out and the water is open. These pictures are at the put-in this morning. Winter-like conditions persist right up until next Friday. Might need snowshoes for portages and carries! Not really, but there should be some of the white stuff around, for sure.

Packing the canoe kit for next week and the kayak kit for delivery later to New Brunswick for the changeover of vessels and beginning the ocean voyage.

Still need to button up logistics, meet-up plans and get the sponsors' logos on boats. In the final stretch, now. Yikes!
Old Forge, NY Information Center 4-9-16
Old Forge, NY Information Center 4-9-16
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Thanks to all who came out last evening to the most awesome Expedition Launch Party I ever could have imagined! Great people, fun raffle and of course, great beer! I am humbled, energized, and so grateful. Y'all fill my heart and you fuel me! Thank you. Cheers! -John
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$6,776 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 87 people in 43 months
Created December 15, 2015
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Phil Stock
37 months ago

Way to go John! Hope your "PaddleSpirit" arrived in good shape! It's a tribute to your spirit!

Anne Schaff
37 months ago

I worked w Nicole a while back, and I am so enjoying the thrills and chills and excellent writing that John is sharing with us all. A book, a book! Write a book, John!

Kay Henry Rob Center
37 months ago

Kudos to you and your "quest", sharing with others your considerable passion for paddling and creating greater awareness of the NFCT and MITA.

Byron Haynes
37 months ago


Odette Thurston
37 months ago

Congratulations reaching the home stretch!

Rodger Herrigel
38 months ago
Dan Riley
39 months ago

All the Luck of the Irish to you, Johnny me lad.

39 months ago
Chelsea DeLorme
39 months ago

Wishing you the best in your quest!

Warren Purdy
39 months ago

Stay dry...and good luck!

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