The Journey to the Heart Podcast

Hello and welcome to the Journey to the Heart Podcast! My name is Thorin Loeks, I am a singer-songwriter from the Yukon Territory. Canada. My current mission is to canoe across America from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean over the rest of 2022 to learn more about what happiness, community, connection, and self empowerment means to different people I meet along the way. My plan is to record a weekly podcast about the journey while sharing some of the insights and perspectives of interesting people I connect with.

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Saturday Jul 09, 2022

After an extended visit in the beautiful town of St. Helens, Oregon, I ended up having to switch gears due to excessive flooding and debris and bicycled 75 miles through Portland to the town of Cascade Locks just above the Bonneville Dam. This ultimately ended up being a blessing in disguise as I was able to explore Portland, Oregon much more extensively on a bicycle as well as riding high up on the bluffs overlooking the beginnings of the Columbia River Gorge. This will be the next chapter of paddling after weeks on the tidal, lower river.  The people on this journey so far have been amazing. I was fortunate to have made some incredible friends in St. Helens who lent me a bicycle for my portage and helped with the Portage of my canoe to the Cascade Locks Marina.    From here I started paddling again towards Hood River through the Columbia River Gorge, which is one of the consistently windiest places in the world and is known for its world class Kite boarding and wind sport activities. Due to this, I have to be very careful in an open expedition canoe how and when I am out on the water, but fortunately westerly winds often significantly help me with paddling, along with my canoe kite which has been remarkable in how much speed I can attain in the right conditions.  The following is a conversation with Danielle Katz, a world traveler, source to sea paddling adventurer, and the founder of an NGO called Rivers for Change which enhances the medium of source to sea river adventures to advocate for wilderness conservation and ecosystem revitalization efforts. I met her and the crew of kayakers she has been supporting in Hood River. They have made their way paddling from the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho and plan to end their journey where I began mine: the mouth of the Columbia River.  It was amazing to meet these kindred souls and have an in depth talk with Danielle about her origins, source to sea adventures, conservation, and perspectives on life. Hope you enjoy and see you all back on the river road.

Thursday Jun 23, 2022

After a great visit with Chris Algero in Longview, I paddled up through Rainier, Oregon to Prescott Park where I met and visited with the wonderful camp hosts George and Debbie. The current on the Columbia has become very powerful at times. With rough weather and headwinds I need to know when I can paddle and when to wait it out. I had a humbling experience one day on this stretch when I paddled only 200 yards in 45 minutes of maximum effort before needing to return to my campsite. After Prescott Park, I paddled onward and stayed with a great host named Jaclyn in the beautiful little town of Kalama, Washington for a couple days before reaching St. Helens.    The people in St. Helens, Oregon are incredibly supportive and friendly, which resulted in me playing a couple great shows of music at the Big River Taphouse right along the waterfront. Now I have been waylaid for the last couple weeks due to late spring/early summer flooding that has brought with it heavy currents and debris. Fortunately I befriended the wonderful owners of the Big River Taphouse, Randy and Marcy who have been incredibly supportive of my journey and music and are currently hosting me while I wait for the river conditions to improve.    The following is a conversation with Jesse Lagers and his partner Chin Chin . Along with being a big colorful personality and passionate about the Columbia River, Jesse and his partner are professional (entertainment) pirates who up until recently lived for years on a wooden boat built in the 1930’s. They are also keen advocates and supporters for the revitalization of communities and businesses in St.Helens. After a few beers, we all had a great late night conversation sharing stories about our roots, what it’s like being a pirate, the Columbia River, boats, stories from where I’m from in the Yukon, the revitalization of towns, and staying true to yourself in this wild journey called life. Hope you enjoy and see you all down, or should I say up, the river road.

Monday Jun 13, 2022

The following is a conversation with my host in Longview, Washington, Chris Algero, who is a Scientific Technician for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Originally from New Orleans, Chris moved to the Northwest to live his dream of spending time researching, studying, and working in wild places. An optimistic, insightful, and passionate human being, I really enjoyed speaking with him about life, our relationship with the natural world, self actualization and community.

Sunday Jun 05, 2022

The following is a conversation with Javier Sanchez. Co-owner of the Mile 38 Brewery. He and his husband Rex moved to Cathlamet from Seattle a few years ago and are in the process of transitioning out of corporate jobs to build their dream of living on a farm and running a craft brewery/farm to table restaurant full time. They were also kind enough to host my stay in Cathlamet, where I ended up playing my first musical show along the river so far at their Brew Pub.

Tuesday May 24, 2022

Diana Kirk is from Astoria, Oregon. Writer, entrepreneur, business owner, and world traveler, she was kind enough to host me at her air bnb as I prepared to launch my canoe journey across America.


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