I am a 50 year old woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed with RA in 2010. Ever since my diagnosis, people would tell me that I should no longer kayak or backpack or engage in triathlons due to the damaging effects this would have on my body, related to my RA. But prior to 2010, people would also criticize me for taking my children on mother-daughter and mother-son canoe trips alone, up in the BWCA, even though no criticism is directed at men who chose to take there children alone on father-son camping trips. The goal of my expedition was to show women and to show all individuals with a chronic illness or with a disability that you can do anything that you set your mind to. Never give up on your dreams because those around you do not believe in your strength or determination.
I began my expedition on March 8th, 2017. My goal was to become the first person in history to circumnavigate all 5 of the Great Lakes in 1 calendar year. From my research, I can only find 3 men in history who ever attempted this, and they all 3 failed.
I began my record attempt at Port Huron, on Lake Huron. I paddled west towards Lake Michigan. I paddled under the Mac Bridge and onto Lake Michigan. I circumnavigated Lake Michigan first. I then paddled back onto Lake Huron and took the Saint Marys River to the Soo Locks and onto Lake Superior. I circumnavigated lake Superior in 8 weeks, and reached the Soo Locks again on August 31st. I then paddled around the North Channel of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, and Bruce Peninsula. On October 15th I landed back on the beach where I started and became the FIRST PERSON in history to circumnavigate the 3 largest lakes in North America. I then took the St Clair River, Lake St Clair, and the Detroit River to paddle onto Lake Erie. I paddled the entire south shoreline of Lake Erie. When I reached Niagara Falls, I portaged my kayak 13 miles around the falls and back onto the Niagara River and paddled onto Lake Ontario. On December 16th, I was caught in Toronto, by a severe winter storm. Ice was forming on the lake, and due to concerns about safety, I had to end my 10 month long expedition. My miles was being monitored by an independent company called RaceOwl, based on data from my SPOT Global GPS track. My final miles paddled was 3,592 miles in 10 months. If you google Traci Lynn Martin kayaker, you will find dozens of articles written about my expedition, including one article by ESPN. Thank You.