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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Thursday Sep 07, 2023

I have now successfully made it across Lake Sakakawea and at last down the Missouri River to Bismarck, North Dakota.
My special guest for this podcast is Aaron Butcher, talented long time singer-songwriter, musician, and over all soulful human.
Aaron has been to all of the lower 48 American States touring as a musician for various bands and recently wrote three songs for a new project based on recent events in his life, which is a great love story that he has woven together into something very special to share with us.
This is going to be a special episode as Aaron and I will be trading songs, stories, and reflections, including three new songs that I have recently wrote over the last couple months. Aaron has a wonderful story to share and his songs and voice are golden.
Hope you enjoy this as much I did and see you down the river road.

Tuesday Aug 08, 2023

After weathering a big storm in my tent on the Northside of Lake Sakakawea, I managed to reach Tobacco Gardens, a campground and haven for travellers, families, and outdoor enthusiasts. It is owned and run by an incredible lady called Peggy Hellandsaas whose hospitality and kindness for paddlers of the Missouri River, knows no bounds. After a few days of respite in this little slice of paradise I now feel refreshed and ready to continue my journey across this lake towards Bismarck, North Dakota.
The following is a conversation with said lady, Peggy Hellandsaas, owner of Tobacco Gardens, she grew up in North Dakota and has a strong connection to the land and community here. I hope you enjoy it and see you out on the river road.

Tuesday Jul 25, 2023

After a week preparing in Great Falls, Montana. I have finally begun paddling my way down the Missouri River with the first stop in Ft. Benton. Known as the birthplace of Montana.
This small town has an incredible connection to the river and the arts. I ended up playing two shows here, one at the Public House and another at Wake Cup Coffee House. That being said, the true gold in this town is its people. Something that continues to amaze me is how many wonderful human beings can be found in communities I would consider to be hidden gems. This makes for a great segway to introducing my guests, the incredibly talented Folk-Americana duo known as the Lucky Valentines.
They were kind of enough to host me during my stay in Ft. Benton and we dived deep into talking about some of my favorite subjects: life, songwriting, and a little bit of everything else. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 

Tuesday Jul 11, 2023

I am pleased to announce my return to the river and the beginning of the second season of my canoe journey across America!
The following conversation is with Tracy Jerman from Great Falls Montana. A wonderful and wise human being who hosted me when I concluded my paddling for the summer last year, she was kind enough to host me again as I prepared to continue canoeing down the Missouri River towards St. Louis. Hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Wednesday Sep 14, 2022

So I have now completed my 400 mile bicycle portage through the Rockies and despite a very old yet sturdy bike without a front derailer, narrow/sometimes treacherous roads, and often steep windy and windy terrain, I had the pleasure of traversing through some incredible mountain passes, soaked in some beautiful hots springs, and met some incredible and inspiring people along the way.
Upon reaching Helena, Montana, I was fortunate to be hosted by Jim and Vicky Emanuel, who along with the incredible River Angels Tom and Sue Eier from Lewiston, helped bring my canoe right to the Missouri Headwaters where I met them on my bicycle before finally pushing my canoe out into a downstream current. It is hard to put into words what it means to me after months of paddling and peddling upstream to finally be paddling downstream towards the Gulf of Mexico. So much effort mentally, emotionally, and physically has gone into getting here over the last 4 months. And I’ve given up and gained so much in a process that has been truly transformational. I was also fortunate to have Jim and Missouri River legend Norm Miller paddle with me for the first couple days from the headwaters. 
In this conversation, I sat down with Jim Emannuel who along with being a retired fire fighter and part time hypnotist, paddled the Missouri River from the headwaters to sea in 2018, the year he turned 60. We talk about canoeing expeditions, transformational journeys, the power of self hypnosis, and how to move towards living a life that you love. 
I also wanted to give a shout out to the very first members that have joined my new Patreon community: Looking223, Sharye Skinner, Al McCutchan, and Sean Duffy. I put a lot of love, time, and effort into these journeys, this podcast, my music, and my other creative projects and I deeply appreciate the support in helping cover my costs and providing greater and continued opportunity to develop and share them with you all.
If you enjoy what I am doing and want to support this podcast and the other projects that I am working on, please consider joining my Patreon community which you can find though my website at

Tuesday Aug 30, 2022

I have now successfully reached Lewiston, Idaho and completed the upstream paddle on my canoe odyssey across the country. It’s hard to put into words what completing this section has meant to me as I have paddled and portaged upstream through breathtaking landscapes, a variety of wonderful communities, and connected with so many amazing people.  Now I am transitioning to a 400+ mile bicycle portage over the Lolo Pass and the Bitterroot mountains to Three Forks, Montana. 
My guest for this episode Gregory Ray is a beautiful soul who has been a long time member of the Warm Showers community that hosts, helps, and connects with long distance bicyclers. We ended up diving deep into the multiverse, life and the explorations of heart and spirit for this one. I hope you enjoy and see you again soon.

Saturday Aug 20, 2022

After paddling through the rest of the eastern Columbia River Gorge which brought with it a heat wave of 110 degrees or 43 degrees celsius for more than a week. I managed to finally reach the mouth of the Snake River and begin my ascent to Lewiston, Idaho. Which is the end of my upstream canoe journey by river before transitioning to a bicycle portage over the rockies. 
The following is a conversation with John Macbeth who lives rurally outside of Pasco, Washington.  The Snake River is quite remote in comparison to the Columbia and after almost getting bit by a rattlesnake while portaging my canoe on a 5 mile rustic dirt road around the first of four dams. I met John and his family at a boat landing on the upper side of this dam and was invited to stay on their farm for a couple nights.
A former professional bull rider, country music singer-songwriter, and full time farmer. John is a captivating storyteller and a man of many adventures, travels, and talents. We had such a great conversation sharing stories, songs, jokes, and life perspectives that this is by far the longest podcast I have done so far. I hope you enjoy and see you up the river road.

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.


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