America’s Great Undiscovered Wilderness

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 8.35.03 AM
A worthy read by my river friend John Ruskey of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Here is an excerpt from the article. Read the whole peace here. And if you’re in the market for a guided trip on the Mississipi read up about John here and Mike Clark who is based in St.Louis here.

The origins of these waters are found upstream in America’s Heartland, St. Louis, where the Upper Mississippi confluences with the Missouri to form the Middle Mississippi. The Middle Miss separates the Pawnee Hills from the Ozarks and then meets the green waters of the Ohio at the southern tip of Illinois to form the Lower Miss. You can trace the curvy blue line of the Lower Miss southward, deep into the gut of America, the Deep South, down to the Gulf Coast. The valley of the Lower Miss was once an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, then a glacial floodplain, and later a thriving jungle of 22 million acres. Even though it’s been settled for more than 100 years, its forests cut, its back channels plugged and main channel vigorously maintained, the river still rules the landscape with unimaginable power, annually rising and falling fifty vertical feet with fluctuations of millions of cubic feet per second, preparing the stage for an unlikely setting in wilderness travel.

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 8.31.37 AM

Posted in General | Leave a comment

update & vids

The future of 7 Days in Hell is uncertain but I do plan on getting back outside in due time. For now I thought I share a video sample from the last 10 years of expeditions and inspirations.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Update – 7 Days and More

Thanks for tuning into 7 Days In Hell.  The response has been very encouraging, both from friends and total strangers.  I really hope we can land a series, and we should know more about that in early 2014.  In case you missed it, for the premiere I did a live interview on The Morning Show on Global and an radio interview out in Edmonton on News 630 AM.  I have no clue how long these links will be online but check them out now if you like.

I also wanted to give an update on Mohammed, the young man with the broken arm who returned our camera. That was almost a year ago, and while we did raise $1,400 to help him, my two contacts in India have gone MIA on me.  It’s a long story, and very frustrating, but I can assure you that I will find Mohammed and I will get his arm fixed, eventually.

Speaking of India, I wrote a short article for the Huffington Post about 5 lessons the River Ganges taught me.

Happy holidays,


Posted in General | 4 Comments

7 Days In Hell – Airs tomorrow @ 10PM/EST on HISTORY

It’s been a busy week leading up to the premiere of  7 Days.

Tomorrow I will be on The Morning Show on Global at 9:10 AM/EST to talk about  7 Day In Hell on History on live national television.

The show has received some solid press in 35 media outlets across Canada including key trade, print, and online outlets like the Canadian Press, National Post, KW Record and TV Guide Canada.  We even made Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Dec. 15.  And we received our first public scorning by the Winnipeg Free Press which comes with the territory (bad press is better than no press!).

Please do spread the word, enjoy the show and have a great Holiday Season.



Air dates (eastern standard time):  Tuesday, Dec 17th @ 10 PM — Wednesday, Dec 18th @ 4 PM — Wednesday, Dec 18th @ 6 PM — Saturday, Dec 21st @ 12 PM — Saturday, Dec 21st @ 7 PM — Sunday, Dec 22nd @ 3 AM

Posted in General | 4 Comments

7 Days In Hell – Premiering on History, Dec 17th @ 10


Clear your calendars for Tuesday, December 17th at 10 PM for the premier of 7 Days In Hell.

For this pilot to be turned into a television series (meaning Cliff and myself would be sent all over the world to be starved and worn down as we live-out historic scenarios for your viewing pleasure), we need thousands and thousands of people like you to tune into History on Dec 17th. Please feel free to share this blog post so we can live-out our hellish dream of pain and suffering the old fashion way.

A special thanks to the folks at History (Shaw Media), Proper Television and all of the talented freelancers who have contributed blood, sweat and tears throughout this creative process – that includes you too, Cliff.

Air dates (eastern standard time):  Tuesday, Dec 17th @ 10 PM — Wednesday, Dec 18th @ 4 PM — Wednesday, Dec 18th @ 6 PM — Saturday, Dec 21st @ 12 PM — Saturday, Dec 21st @ 7 PM — Sunday, Dec 22nd @ 3 AM
Posted in General | 4 Comments

University of Waterloo – Alumni Interview – 7 Days In Hell

Brett Rogers: Find out how this Environment alumn is turning his love of the great outdoors into a career in TV

There are many obvious reasons why a Faculty of Environment alumn would not find themselves anywhere near Donald Trump’s personal jet. But that’s exactly where Geography and Environmental Management alumnus Brett Rogers was when he got the idea for an upcoming television show, taking him and a friend on a grueling historical journey through earth’s harshest environments.

Rogers is a budding star on Canadian television. You may not have heard of him yet but you soon will.  As a media entrepreneur, Rogers has a unique point of view distinctly rooted in his studies in Environment.

“I was working on a show called Mighty Planes as a camera assistant and we were working on an episode that was on Trump and his Boeing 757,” explains Rogers. “I was tired of being a camera assistant, I wanted my own show that I could produce and direct myself.  During the shoot this idea came into my head, which I coined, 7 Days in Hell. The premise is; my buddy and I are dropped into historic worse-case scenarios, totally unsupported and we have to film the whole thing ourselves while setting out to survive for a week.”


Posted in General | 2 Comments

Annie’s Journey Continues!


Things are coming along very nicely with 7 Days In Hell. I will have more to share soon but in the meantime follow my twitter account  @brettonthewater for updates in the mean time.

It’s hard to believe that 4 years ago to the day we had just landed in St.Louis after enduring a month of rain and record breaking cold.  Halfway down the Mississippi River on a 4000 km expedition for the Gulf coast, our trusted boat Annie was just getting warmed up.  Now Annie is on a new adventure.  Here is a e-alert from my great Riverkeeper friends down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana…


Annie’s Journey Continues!

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.42.00 PM

Paul and Michael Orr of LEAN/LMRK made the trip upriver last week to drop off Annie to John Ruskey and the Mighty Quawpaws. Quapaw Canoe Company offers wilderness expeditions on the Lower Mississippi River, its Back Waters, Bayous, Oxbows, and Flood Plain between the levees. In over 10 years of operation Quapaw Canoe Company has demonstrated the viability of safe canoeing on the Lower Mississippi River with countless expeditions involving churches, schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, families, couples and individuals. Quapaw has successfully guided over 10,000 people on the river. The Mighty Quapaws is an after-school apprenticeship program run by Quapaw Canoe Company for Clarksdale youth, teaching skills including swimming, canoe making, paddle construction, and river guiding.

Annie will be on loan for 2014 and help John and the Mighty Quawpaws connect even more people to the Mighty Mississippi River. If you’d like to book a trip in Annie under the capable hands of the Mighty Quawpaws please contact John at Tours can be arranged by the day or the week. Float trips are available on any section between Cairo (Illinois) and the outlet of the river into the Gulf of Mexico. 10% of all trips booked in Annie will be donated to LEAN/LMRK.

The Story of Annie, the York boat:

In 2009, filmmaker, adventurer and friend of LEAN/LMRK, Brett Rogersset out to travel the length of the Mississippi River and make a documentary. He and close friend Kyle “Cliff” Quinn built a 32′ wooden York Boat in the style of the early Canadian fur trappers. Darlene and Jeff Anderson made the construction of the boat possible with a donation in honor of Annie, a young girl who lost a courageous battle with cancer.

After completion of Annie the York boat at Wolfe Island in Ontario, Annie traveled south to begin her journey down the Mississippi River. Brett and Cliff led a team of 5 adventurers for a 110 day, 2400 mile journey through the heart of North America in Annie the York Boat.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.44.45 PM

The entire journey has been captured in a 10 chapter video series online here.

EAN / LMRK was proud to play a supporting role in Brett and Annie’s Old Man River expedition. Upon completion of the epic journey, Annie was donated to LEAN’s Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper(LMRK) program to continue to inspire and connect people to our precious waterways and fragile environment.

While in residence in Louisiana, Annie shared her story and made appearances at the local Madisonville Wooden Boat Show. She also continues to safely bring people out on the water and help reconnect them with the incredible natural environment we have here in Louisiana.

See LMRK’s Flickr gallery of Annie here.  See Brett’s gallery of pictures from the Old man River Project here.


Posted in General | 1 Comment

Back from Hell


My feet are so badly beat up I can hardly walk thanks to a combination of blisters and calluses from hiking through the wilderness in leather-soled boots that where wet more often than they where dry. My fingers hardy work either.  I just carried a 80 lbs pack for a week and yet I can hardly find the strength to pick up my daypack with my laptop to write this update. It was a week in HELL.  It was hard as heck but I am so thankful for the experience, it was 7 days I will never forget. I look forward to sharing this story later this year.


The creative dream team after we reunited after day 7.  Doug, Cliff, myself and Andrew.

The creative dream team after we reunited after day 7. Doug, Cliff, myself and Andrew.

Posted in General | 8 Comments

Into The Wild… back in September


This will be the last update until early September; should we return from the Fortymile…

See you in hell,

Brett and Cliff

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold…
Robert Service
The last picture before we go...

The last picture before we go…




Posted in General | 5 Comments


photo 2

Eric and myself (I am the blonde) posing for the camera. This was the first night I ever spent in the Yukon and one, if not the greatest, experiences of my life.


Today I am heading back to the Yukon Territory (I am actually in Vancouver now).  I first arrived there as a 18 year old in search of true wilderness by way of a four day bus trip on a Greyhound bus with my good buddy Eric Addie. We spent six nights and seven days crossing raging rivers, hiking through waist deep snow and encountering, for the first time – but not the last, a full grown grizzly bear.  But this wasn’t my first introduction to the Yukon. That came years before, back when I was in grade 3, and, sick with the flu, my Mom rented me a National Geographic documentary titled Yukon Passage, about four men who built a log raft in the tradition of the Klondike Gold Rush.  I was hooked, and I still am.

Over the last 2 years I have been talking with Nick Crowe, an Executive Producer at HISTORY Canada about working together to create a television show that embraces my authentic style of storytelling while celebrating the high quality programming that people have come to expect from HISTORY.  Welcome to 7 DAYS IN HELL.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 7.09.28 PM

The idea is simple, my river mate Cliff Quinn and myself are dropped into a historic scenario of survival with a mission to overcome that culminates on the 7th day. We’re left only with period gear and all the camera equipment needed to self-document our struggle.

For this shoot we will walk in the footsteps of those brave souls who first ventured into the wilds of the Yukon looking for gold.  Cliff and I will set out to survive the elements with period gear from 1885 in the very valley that the first gold discovery in the Yukon took place, the Fortymile region.  For 7 days we will live like gold prospectors as we set out on an ambitious, and equally dangerous expedition.

I went to University thinking I would become an environmental lawyer but I left with a burning desire to tell stories that would inspire others like that National Geographic documentary inspired me when I was 9 years old.  Now with the incredible support of HISTORY Canada, along with Proper Television in Toronto, and a great team of committed and talented people, it’s time to tell another story that we will share with you towards the end of 2013 on HISTORY Canada.

See you in Hell,


photo 1

Cliff, Nick and myself having some fun

P.S.  There will be more information to follow in the coming weeks and months.  Any help with spreading with the word is greatly appreciated. To follow HISTORY Canada (which will be posting info on 7 Days In Hell) join the following… Website: Facebook: Twitter: @HistoryTVCanada

P.S.S.  I also wanted to give a special thanks for the Official Outfitter of 7 Days In Hell; Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co.  Owner’s and Tim and Chris have been supporting my expeditions for years. If you need any top notch outdoor gear I highly recommend checking out the store or visit online.

Posted in General | 31 Comments