FORT KENT, Maine (AP) – A 67-year-old man has become the first to paddle his kayak without assistance 740 miles over the Northern Forest Canoe Trail from New York to Maine.

It took Gil Whitney 57 days to complete the journey from Old Forge, N.Y., to Fort Kent, Maine. The retired tractor-trailer driver from Lakeville, Maine, shed 30 pounds and survived nine days of rain, a spill in Class IV whitewater and a close encounter with a swimming black bear.

Whitney’s wife, Kathy, reported his arrival in Fort Kent on Saturday on a blog.

Northern Forest Canoe Trail officials say there have been solo canoeists, but Whitney is the first solo kayaker. The trail follows historic American Indian paddling routes through northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and part of southern Quebec.

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