Multi-generational Arizona pair train for Yukon River expedition
Updated as of Friday, September 13, 2019 9 PM
Adventurous, strong, and up for a long, grueling challenge: Arthur “Karts” Huseonica was looking for a very particular set of skills when he started an international search for a teammate for his latest epic expedition.
He found all of those things, and more, in Lauren Sherwood, a 25-year-old Prescott woman who had grown up camping, hiking, and kayaking in the Arizona outdoors.
After graduating from Prescott High School in 2012, Sherwood had flexed her outdoor-adventure muscles on virtually all of the big Arizona hikes – rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon, Havasupai, Fossil Creek, Humphrey’s Peak, Brown’s Peak/Four Peaks.
In 2016, she completed the 52-Hike Challenge, a commitment to hike at least once a week for a year. She also worked for a time for an overland equipment company in the area.
Then, in 2017, Sherwood left it all behind for a six-month solo backpacking trip through Mexico.
She chronicles her escapades on an Instagram page, @lolosherhood, which is packed with colorful and scenic photos.
In a blog post on www.livingoverland.com, Sherwood described herself as a “fearless” traveler from “Everybody’s Hometown – Prescott, Arizona.”
In early 2019, Sherwood was back in Prescott and in search of her next challenge.
Coincidentally, well-known Sun City, Arizona adventurer Huseonica was planning the latest in his series of record-setting quests – this time, a 2,000-mile-long “source-to-sea” canoe expedition on the Yukon River.
Huseonica, 68, is accustomed to taking on outdoor challenges that no one else his age has achieved. Just this past year, he completed a record-setting supported yo-yo through-hike on the arduous 800-mile Arizona Trail.
He also has set records on a 4,200-mile Amazon River expedition and a double-traverse of Death Valley, and was the oldest person to complete the Bear Grylls “extreme survival course.”
Retired from the U.S. Navy and from teaching college at Maryland University College, Huseonica moved to Arizona about five years ago. He says adventuring has been a part of his life since he was a 10-year-old in Pennsylvania, and he is known in the Valley for his record-setting quests.
“There’s hills there, and something’s always bugged me – what’s on the other side of the hill?” he said with a laugh.
As Huseonica began looking into a solo expedition on the Yukon in summer 2020, his friends and sponsors advised him that he should not attempt the trip alone.
That set off an international search for the appropriate expedition teammate.
“I was looking for an adventurous spirit,” Huseonica said recently, as he and Sherwood prepared for a training session in a canoe on Prescott’s Watson Lake.
The prospective partner also needed to be available for two months in the summer of 2020, have a positive presence on social media, and have experience in filming video and in writing.
Initially, the list was long. Huseonica said he considered 22 people from all over the world.
Sherwood and Huseonica already were acquainted through social media, and the Prescott resident stood out for a number of reasons.
She fit the requirements on adventurousness and physical stamina. She also was a convenient choice because of her location – so close to where Huseonica and his wife Karen live in Sun City.
The proximity allows for the two to train together on Watson Lake, an important preparation for their coming weeks in a canoe on the Yukon River.
“That’s why we’re here – to get the choreography of paddling down, the coordination,” Huseonica said.
The expedition will take Huseonica and Sherwood through the Klondike gold-rush region. The two acknowledge that the conditions will be grueling.
The river is fed by glacial runoff, and the water is expected to be about 40 degrees at the expedition’s start on June 4, 2020. There also will be rapids to navigate and remote fishing villages to pass through.
“There will be all sorts of challenges," Huseonica said, noting that hypothermia would be a major worry.
Huseonica said his research has indicated that no one has achieved a similar source-to-sea trek in an open canoe.
In order to document the trip properly, the two plan to use several forms of proof, including a publicly-accessible GPS link for tracking in real time, videos and photos of themselves in various locations, and eye witnesses.
They plan to start their trip near the headwaters of the Yukon River on Marsh Lake in Yukon Territory, Canada, and traverse the river to where it empties into the Bering Sea in Alaska.
43-YEAR AGE DIFFERENCE
Along with the other challenges of the trip, Huseonica and Sherwood will be overcoming a generational barrier as well.
More than 40 years separates the 25-year-old Sherwood and the 68-year-old Huseonica, but the two exhibited an easy rapport as they prepared for a four-hour training session on Watson Lake in late August.
Although the age spread sometimes generates questions from Huseonica’s family and friends, he said he responds, “We’re on a mission here; we hope to set some records here too.”
Sherwood added, “If and when we are successful, Karts will be the oldest documented male to complete source-to-sea in an open traditional canoe, and I’d be the youngest documented female.”
Along with a number of sponsorships, Huseonica has created a GoFundMe fundraiser to help fund the expedition at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/yukon-2020-river-expedition.
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