OAKLAND, Maine (AP) - A Maine teenager says his summer trip paddling a canoe the length of the Mississippi River made him a man.
Seventeen-year-old Benton Purnell of Oakland and his father put their canoe in the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota on May 4.
His father, Ronald, dropped out after two weeks.
Benton continued solo, the trip ending 2,350 miles later on July 19 in New Orleans.
Benton tells the Morning Sentinel of Waterville he spent as much as 14 hours a day on the water, passing the time by listening to audio books - including, of course, the "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
He had close encounters with wildlife, including a wolf, a poisonous water moccasin snake, and an angry beaver.
When he finished he was suffering from skin infections and bug bites.
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