Documentary released covering world-record breaker’s trek through Luling

Dale Sanders arrives in Luling during record-setting paddling of the Mississippi River.

In August of 2022, “The Greybeard Adventurer” Dale Sanders made a stop in Luling near the end of his Guinness World record-breaking performance that saw him paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River in his canoe – his goal was to do so in 87 days at 87 years old, beginning the trek on his 87th birthday.   

“And I did it, too,” Sanders said.   

The 2,340-mile adventure saw him reclaim the Guinness World Record for oldest person to paddle the length of the Mississippi River. His time in Luling included a greeting at landfall by the students of the St. Charles Parish Satellite Center’s Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism program, a hot lunch made courtesy Birdies Food and Fuel and a tasty dessert by Chef Pat Phelan and culinary arts students.   

That day, he spoke of the documentary film crew that was chronicling his trip. That film – titled “Greybeard: The Man, the Myth and the Mississippi” is now a reality and has been making the film festival and public screening rounds – even earning “Best Canoe Film” at the Paddling Film Festival and “Inspirational Film Winner” via Paddle Canada.   

“I like it,” said Sanders of the film. “I’m getting a lot of comments from people that it’s not the typical documentary format of ‘on this day we did this, and then on this day we did that.’ It’s a real story – really, two stories, with a little bit of background on my wife and I, and then also about the adventure.” 

Students meet Sanders ashore in Luling.

Drone shots of that adventure used in the film give a unique view of exactly what Sanders had to navigate.   

“You usually don’t see – people don’t realize how crooked and isolated that river is up in Minnesota, and now they do,” Sanders said. “They had three drones dedicated to it and the footage is fantastic.” 

He holds six world records, two of those in the Guinness book.   

Sanders recalled the day in Luling fondly, just eight days before his record-breaking landing.   

It was a challenging trip at times – particularly due to the weather. Sanders said he’d never seen wind like he’s encountered that season.   

“It’s the worst enemy of the paddler – head wind” he said. “If it’s tail wind, it’s good. Last night, we were blessed. We got off the river, and 30 minutes later, it was the biggest rain you’ve ever seen.” 

This, Sanders said, was his last time paddling the Mississippi. He has zero plans to stop seeking adventure, however. He simply has other dragons to slay. 

Already, he has his sights set on his next one – and yes, it’s another record, one he looks to reclaim from a friend of his. He’s submitted his application to Guinness to attempt to become the oldest person to hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail in 12 months or less. He plans to begin that trek in October 2024, at the age of 90. 

In 2017, he held the record at 82 years old. A friend of his – with Sanders along with him for several sections of it – broke his record at age 83. Sanders says that same friend has committed to joining him for sections of the hike upon the attempt to re-break the record.   

“I didn’t wish him bad luck, but good luck,” said Sanders on his record being broken, “There’s too much negativity out there. I support him, he supports me.”   

 

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