Luke Kimmes

My name is Luke Kimmes I am twenty-seven years old. I have been living in Steamboat Springs Colorado for eight years. After graduating with my Outdoor Education AA I started teaching at Colorado Mountain College. I have a Bachelors in Sustainability Studies as well as I will hopefully complete my Master of Education: Natural Science and Environmental Education this fall through Hamline University. Also I have been a certified Wilderness First Responder since 2010 and American Mountain Guide Association Single Pitch Instructor certified since 2013.

My teachings have me working with college level students in many different backcountry settings. I teach backpacking courses in the Mountain, Snow, Desert, and Canyon environments. These courses are usually 5-9 days with one other instructor and up to twelve students. I also teach technical courses, Ice climbing, Rock climbing, Mountaineering, and Canyoneering. These courses take me all over Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

I have all different types of field experience including, biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and hunting. I love being outside. My passion for the outdoors has taken me on many adventures.

Besides professional time in the field, I have also been on a number of extended river trips on oar rig rafts and kayaks. Floating many miles of the Yampa River, Colorado River, and the Green River. Hopefully one day the stretch of the Grand will be on this list!

I have been on a few long distance expeditions. In 2012 I solo hiked the five hundred mile Colorado Trail which starts in Denver and ends in Durango. Overall I hiked roughly 550 miles in a total of twenty-eight days.

In 2014 I attempted to road bike across the US starting on the east coast. This was also a solo trip however I did bring my fifty pound Brittany Spaniel, Buddy. He rode in a trailer behind me and ran alongside me whenever possible. We successfully made it roughly 2,200 miles in twenty-five days, to the state of Iowa, where my family is from. I decided to not continue the trip for I was asked to be part of a larger expedition and would need to save money.

In 2015 I was lucky enough to be a part of the Rediscovering North America canoe expedition. From January 2nd to September 2nd we successfully paddled from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Paddling up the Mississippi River for eighty-five days and continuing north down the Red River to Canada paddling the western shore of Lake Winnipeg. Continuing up the Saskatchewan and other smaller streams and lakes, we eventually made it to Great Slave Lake. After leaving Yellowknife we entered the Arctic Circle, roughly 19 days later we were going down the Copper Mine River. After 245 days we reached the Arctic Ocean and the town of Kugluktuk NU. The six man crew was awarded Canoe and Kayaks Expedition of the Year award for 2016. It was roughly a total of 5,300 miles. You can find our Documentary which is 45 mins in length and other information on our website

When thinking about paddling across the United States and what it means to me, many things come to mind. Ultimately my driving force is being outside, exploring new areas, camping in unfamiliar environments (Gulf of Mexico shores), enduring and overcoming hardship as a team, enjoying the beauty the land has to offer, meet and interact with the people that inhabit these areas, living simply, and lastly working hard day in and day out as a team together to achieve something that will inspire not only ourselves but others!