So for those of you who’ve not had the pleasure of crossing paths with Jake Wilcox in person or via social media this was my first Going Solo Adventures Q&A Session with him - Click here.
Q, Jake since we last checked in with you back in April you’ve been a very busy person. Firstly you completed [Congrats] that 500 mile swim down Snake River and through Hell’s Canyon in just 16 days which we talked about in the previous interview. This was your first big swim using a Fluid Anvil, will we be seeing you take on any more rivers in this way?
Jake - Thank you Paul, Yes it was quite the journey. Hells canyon is North Americas deepest river gorge and has 36 Rapids to run. To this day is still my toughest trip. I would like to do at least one more swim using this mode of transportation. Fluid stop making the Anvil so I might have to switch it up a bit. As for where, no definitely plans, yet.
Q, What has this adventurous world taught you in the last 12 months?
Jake - It has reassured me that the world is still full of beauty, mystery, and danger. We only have to step out our front door and seek the unknown with opened eyes to discover it. The difference between dreams and reality can become blurred when you do this. It's truly a magical planet with untold adventures waiting for those who want them.
Q, Cycling North to the Arctic Circle from Anchorage followed your swim. This 570 mile journey takes you through some breathtaking scenery but what is it that cycling gives back to you as a person?
Jake - Alaska is wild, I'd recommend touring there for anyone! Cycling lets me disconnect with the stresses of modern life and reconnect with a simpler way of living. I wake, cycle, eat, sleep and repeat. It can become quite meditative, I love the thinking time the bicycle gives me.
Q, Hitchhiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming and walking are the ways you’ve travelled in recent years. But which do you prefer over the rest and why?
Jake - They all have there pros and cons. I really prefer which ever one I'm on at the time and try and do it to the best of my ability while I'm traveling that way.
Q, This wasn’t your only cycling journey as you jumped back in the saddle for your Venture500 #9 and #10 expeditions along the west coast of America. What bicycle and set up did you use for this? I noticed you had a trailer for part of it, so what made you decide to leave it behind?
Jake - I used a GT Avalanche 0.5 mountain bike with Shwallbe marathon plus tires. My set up switched as I made my way farther south, started with a trailer and to much weight for the hills of the Oregon coast. After I flipped it going downhill I left it with two ladies who were gonna try and sell it at a swap meet. (Never did hear from them) then I opted for a back rack, my backpack, & a milk crate which I finished the trip on. Traveling light can really be a game changer and in the end the lighter set up won.
Q, While out adventuring we all have those low points that make us question whether to continue the journey, what's one instance where has this happened and how did you motivate yourself to continue?
Jake - Yes, in Hells Canyon I was on day 1 of the big rapids and stupidly dropped in to a class V without scouting it first. I got flipped off my board, flippers came off, & was tossed around like a rag doll. Got to the shore & was quite shaken by the incident. I was alone and had no one to help, so I thought I either sit here and do nothing, maybe die, or try and swim out. I had no choice but to carry on. I caught my breath and told my self never to go in blind again, & didn't. Sometime you just have to dig deep and believe in yourself, & that's when the biggest breakthroughs come.
Q, Looking back at your 11 previously completed Venture500 expeditions which would you say was the most challenging and why? and he most rewarding and why?
Jake - I haven't completed them all. I had to call it quits on my Kayak journey down the Columbia river after popping 2 inflatable kayaks. This one still haunts me and is one I will go back and try to complete after I can afford better equipment. A solid kayak preferably. Having proper equipment on long journeys can make or break you I'm finding. I usually just go and am totally for bike travel that way but the water brings a whole new element to it. When this is complete it will be my most rewarding I'm sure.
Q, You’ve made these trips possible by being so focused and determined which has resulted in you seeing and experiencing rather a lot. If you could send us to a certain location you’ve visited where would you recommend and why?
Jake - Big Sur, California is a must see! Absolutely breathtaking scenery, the people are rad, and there is so much to explore. From towering sea cliffs, hidden waterfalls, & hot springs it has everything you need for an epic adventure.
Q, You’re currently walking the Camino De Santiago [Spain]. Packing for a long distance isn’t the easiest of things as everything has to have a true purpose. What are 3 essential bits of kit you have to have on this journey?
1- Osprey Volt 60l Backpack
2- Tops/Buck Knife
3- Merrell Moab waterproof hiking shoes.
It be tough to do this journey without these things.
Q, With your first 11 Venture500 journeys all North America based and now your 12th see’s you leave your home continent behind for Spain. Whilst in Europe do you plan to explore further than the Camino De Santiago trail? I can personally recommend cycling or paddling the Danube.
Jake - I have 3 days in the UK and 3 in Iceland at the end of November on my way home back to Washington State. I'd love to stay and do more/ explore more but having been on the road now 7 months I've exhausted all my funds. As for Europe, I will definitely be back! This place is amazing, I love all the history and the Danube it's a good possibility. Being Europe's longest river, sounds/looked like a great place for an expedition. Congrats on your trip by the way!
Q, What can we see you doing next once you’ve finished walking the Camino De Santiago?
Jake - I will work Wildland Firefighting this summer and pick back up where I left off when the season dies down. With about 5x the money I had starting off. Making for bigger expeditions in the future. Not to spoil any surprises but I see Australia, The Amazon, & the Arctic during winter in the future.