Andy Knapp is off on another adventure. At 3 a.m. on June 22, Knapp (61) ended his six-year battle with renal cell cancer and left his body behind. Who knows where he is headed, but for those who know Knapp well, and even for those who don't, the SNEWS team can assure all that the trip is certain to be a grand one and doubtless beer is involved -- hopefully, they serve it where he's going.
Knapp lived life as it should be lived. With a huge heart, a bigger smile, and a knack for self-deprecation and spinning tall tales. His sense of humor remains legendary. And he never wasted a minute of time worrying about what might have been or could be. Knapp did more in his life than many of us could ever dream. Here is how his friends at Midwest Mountaineering remember Knapp:
"Everyone at Midwest Mountaineering knew him as the most persistent outdoor adventurer among us. He bicycled to work every day, even in the foulest of weather, even until the last day before that February hospital stay. He logged more human powered miles on his bicycle, kayaks, canoes, and feet than anyone we know, more than 156,000 miles! Included was a bicycle trip to Alaska and back in 1967, a 500-mile backpacking journey through the Brooks Range in 1972, and a 30-day circumnavigation of Lake Superior in 1996, the first without resupply. He paddled across Lake Superior from north to south. He climbed Mount McKinley, made first ascents in the St Elias Mountains and summited 21,000 foot peaks in Nepal. Andy bicycled in 34 states and 12 other countries, hiked and climbed throughout North America, and paddled extensively in the wilderness waters of the upper Great Lakes area, Baja, Alaska, Florida and beyond. He bicycled from Minneapolis to Canada in one day. He was named the Minnesota Adventurer and Explorer of the Year at Midwest Mountaineering in 2008.
Andy worked for over 34 years in the outdoor equipment industry as a retail buyer. He served on the boards of several industry trade associations and volunteer advocacy groups including serving as president of the Minnesota Rovers Outdoor Club and the Lake Superior Water Trail Association. He wrote two books and numerous magazine columns.
Andy had been the Midwest Mountaineering buyer of camping, canoeing and kayaking products for many years. He literally launched the sport of sea kayaking in the Midwest and established Midwest Mountaineering as the premier source for sea kayaks. "
Now, Knapp's on a one-way journey to places far beyond our imagination.
For Knapp, rest in peace does not apply. To read more about Knapp's life than we could ever manage properly in SNEWS, go to his blog, which will remain live, we are told (http://www.andytknapp.blogspot.com/). While you are there, leave a rememberance or two. And if you find yourself hanging your head, wondering about life and pondering what-ifs, snap out of it. Better yet, get outdoors and start living your life the way Knapp did his -- fully and with no regrets. He wouldn't want to be remembered any other way.