History in the Making

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About West

West Hansen

About West

Native Texan West Hansen led his first large-scale expedition at age 50, when he paddled the Amazon River from source to sea. A licensed social worker, husband and father, he earned a degree in psychology from Southwest Texas State University, where he was a national champion cheerleader. For a good time, he competes in ultra-marathon canoe races, reads and enjoys fine scotch. He's also particular about the company he keeps.

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Explorer's Club

The Explorer's Club

Starting in 2012, West Hansen began leading expeditions to the farthest reaches of our ever-shrinking world. Fueled by the lure of traveling at a natural pace and a daily existence devoid of constant electronic input, he seeks out routes often attempted but not yet traveled by others. He travels primarily by canoe and kayak, but plans further land-based explorations.

As a member of the prestigious Explorers Club, a professional society that promotes scientific exploration and field study, West can interact with the greatest living modern day explorers and access archives of the most notable historical expeditions. His private library includes rare first edition books, publications about notable expeditions and historic maps detailing explorations around the world, including both poles, the Amazon River and the Northwest Passage. Despite his desire to avoid the non-stop onslaught of digital data, he has created this website to provide information, education, entertainment and perhaps a bit of a spark for anyone interested in getting out there and experiencing the world at its own speed.


From the deepest Amazon, the icy shores of northern Russia or the historic Northwest Passage high above the Arctic Circle, the expedition posts journal notes at the end of each day. Follow the current excitement or read back through the previous expeditions from the first step to the last days.

The National Geographic Amazon Express Expedition

West led the first expedition to paddle the world’s longest river from its newly discovered and most distant source in the Peruvian Andes, almost 4,200 miles to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil.

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Volga River Expedition

West Hansen and Jeff Wueste were the first to kayak Europe’s longest river, from source to sea. The Volga, located entirely in Russia, spans 2,200 miles from the Valdai Hills near St. Petersburg to the Caspian Sea.

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Northwest Passage

In the summer of 2019, the Arctic Cowboys will kayak the entire 1,900-mile Northwest Passage, which lies within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago boundaries of Baffin Bay and the Beaufort Sea. The team of three solo paddlers will become the first to kayak the historic route in one season. Sir John Franklin, John Rae and Roald Amundsen made the passage famous.

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