CAPTION BEFORE: Lyndsay Nicole is not only the most beautiful woman in the world, she’s also a badass paraglider pilot and, most-important for this expedition,
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Inspired by the Monarch Butterfly, Benjamin Jordan has just completed the perceived impossible; the first ever paraglider journey, from Mexico to Canada, across the United States of America. Share

Did you know that Monarchs are earth's furthest migrating butterfly?

Benjamin Jordan didn't! But when the paraglider pilot accidentally came across one of their few, sacred over-wintering sites in Mexico, he couldn't believe what he found.

Millions upon millions of tiny orange beings were floating around him, so many in fact that all he could hear were the beating of their many wings.

Over four generations, these brave little pilots had made the 7,000 km round-trip from Mexico to Canada and back. How they navigate to the same over-wintering site, that their great-great grand parent had chilled out at one year earlier, baffles scientists to this very day.

'How did they get here?'
'What unknowable secrets do they hold?'


These questions kept Jordan awake at night and would ultimately form the basis of his extraordinary vision; to complete the first ever, human-powered, aerial migration from Mexico to Canada.

Welcome to the Fly Monarca Expedition. Your journey has already begun!
How Not To Do It
July 7th, 2020 - Bountiful Peak, Utah

High wind is how you can tell a pilot that learned in Utah from one who did not. I happily invite you to caption this one for me.

An epic new image every day until the film release!

Benjamin Jordan's new Documentary Film, "Fly Monarca" drops in:

Be first to watch it and get a chance to win your free copy!

Expedition Blog & Articles
Fly Monarca - In The Beginning How do you start something that seems impossible to finish? An unsupported, 2,800 km paraglider journey across the US? In one season!? 'Yeah right!' I thought, slowly packing my bag, just one meter north of US/Mexico border. Who was I kidding? My 1200 km Canadian Rockies journey took almost two months and was less than half that distance! And besides, these desert bumps in southern Arizona are no Rocky Mountains. Not only have I never flown in this type of environment, I've never BEEN in this type of environment. Lizards, rattle snakes and wind so strong it'll blow your hair right off. Welcome to southern Arizona. Welcome to me, tricking my mind into stumbling out the perceived impossible. "Break the big mission down into small missions" "Break the big mission down into small missions", advice from the great Will Gaad and something I employ every day, even when feeling overwhelmed at the grocery store. But now, I'm so bewildered that I've broken it down again, again and again until I've reached the simplest of tasks: Breath in, check. Breath out, check. Am I getting anywhere? Years of dreaming, research and phone calls to sponsors, reassuring them that I could really do this has all come down to this single, finite, moment. Now the only one left to convince is myself. Breath in. Breath out. Smile for the camera. Walk forward... Ben Read more
Expedition Gear List Because I fly and hike with all of my own equipment, I am limited to what I can carry on an expedition like this. As a rule of thumb, everything I carry must be used at least once per day, have at least two uses, and be bomb-proof. Camping - Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2 (Carbon) Tent - Big Agnes Starfire 20 Down Sleeping Bag - Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air Sleeping Pad - Goal Zero Crush Light - Jet Boil Stove, Pot and Fuel - MSR 3L Hydromdary Water Bladder - MSR 10L Dromdary Water Bladder - USB Headlamp - 10L Drysack Camera & Electronics - Goal Zero Nomad 7+ Solar Panel x 2 - Goal Zero Flip 30 Power Bank - Garmin VIRB 360 Camera - Sony RX100IV Camera - GoPro Hero 8, 7 & 4 - Gimbal for GoPro - Tabletop Tripod - 3-way Selfie Stick - Co-pilot GoPro Mount - Zoom H1 Audio Recorder - Lavalier Microphone - USB Cables - Battery Chargers - Extra Batteries Navigation & Communication - Garmin InReach Explorer SE+ Satellite Messenger - Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar GPS Watch - Smart Phone (Samsung Galaxy S7) Paragliding - Ozone Alpina 3 Paraglider - Ozone Ozium 2 Harness - High Adventure Beamer 3 Lite Steerable Reserve Parachute - Ozone Saucisse Light Concertina Bag - Ozone X-Alps Backpack - Helmet Clothing - Big Agnes Soda Peak Down Jacket - Athletic Long-sleeve Shirt - Prana Pants - Hiking Boots - Sunhat - Sunglasses - Work gloves - Down mittens - Athletic Tights - Athletic Underwear - Compression Socks x 2 - Merino Thermal Underwear Food (Typical 14-day Ration) - Instant Ramen Noodles (7 x 100g) - Instant Mashed Potatoes (7 x 100g) - Peanut Butter 3 kg (6 x 500g ziplocks) - Coffee (250g) Misc - Banjo - First Aid Kit - General Repair Kit - Extra Ziplock Bags - Canadian Passport - Cash & Debit/Credit Card - Toothbrush & Paste - American Flag Read more
This is Teamwork As a documentary filmmaker, I've become known as a lone wolf. Working alone has not only saved me financially, it has also afforded me complete, creative control over my process. But there's downsides to the solo-show as well. For one, it's lonely. Perhaps more significantly, it's limiting aesthetically, as much of the footage needs to be captured by the discipline of repetitive camera placement, annihilating any possibility of authentic, off-the-cuff material. Enter Lyndsay Nicole. Lyndsay is not just my best friend and partner, she is also a strong and creative paraglider pilot that has generously volunteered her time to support the documentary tasks of the Fly Monarca Expedition. Throughout my self-propelled journey, she will travel and work autonomously from Turtle, the Chevy Astrovan, named not only for its color, but speed characteristics as well. Why the change? It was during the three weeks of post-expedition b-roll that she shot with me after my expedition two years ago that we realized the value of our teamwork. The drone and gimbal-stabilized 4k material she captured then were the meat and potatoes of our award-winning documentary, "The Endless Chain", and inspired us to further our efforts for the Monarca expedition. Instead of joining me post-expedition, this time she'll catch it all live! As I leap, and sometimes crawl, forward on this journey, Lyndsay will be there at (almost) every turn; hiking up mountains capturing that 4k gold, then making her way back down before chasing me as I head north. This is new, this is exciting, this is Teamwork. Ben Read more
Science & Educational Articles
Science & Education
Monarch Butterfly Documentary Check out this captivating nature documentary about the majestic Monarch Butterfly. There are many more out there, but this is a great place to start your journey of amazement. (NOTE: Low resolution, but High awesome-factor! See HQ version below if outside US) NOVA/PBS: The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies Higher Quality Version of same Documentary (Not viewable in the US and possibly elsewhere. Tested in Mexico.) NOVA/PBS: The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies Reference:PBS (Official Page) Read more
The Threat of Extinction The epic 3,000-mile monarch butterfly migration may become a thing of the past. Each fall, monarchs travel from their summer homes in the northern U.S. and Canada to winter habitats in California and Mexico. This migration is considered one of the most admirable phenomena in the animal kingdom. But, the latest survey in 2020 indicates a population decrease of 53 percent since the previous season, for a total decline of more than 80 percent over the past 20 years. The twin forces of human-caused climate change and habitat loss are now threatening North American monarch butterflies with extinction. Preserving their journey requires action in light of threats such as climate change, land conversion, and forest degradation. Climate Change: Climate change threatens to disrupt the monarch butterfly's annual migration pattern by affecting weather conditions in both wintering grounds and summer breeding grounds. Increasing carbon dioxide levels may be making milkweed (the only food monarch caterpillars will eat) too toxic for the monarchs to tolerate. And higher temperatures may also be driving summer breeding areas further north. That means the Monarchs' migration routes will get longer and therefore more difficult. Land Conversion: The creation of herbicide-resistant corn and soybeans means that farmers will eradicate weeds, including milkweed. These new crop varieties could cause the demise of the milkweed plant, a vital food source for the Monarch Butterfly. Plants like milkweed in the United States and Canada are essential for monarch reproduction; it's the only plant where monarchs lay their eggs and where baby larvae feed from. In addition to the loss of milkweed across farms, drought and development on the land where milkweed once grew abundantly, has reduced the plant numbers significantly. Forest Degredation: Generations of the Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles until they reach Mexico, where they overwinter until it's time to begin their migration back home in March. The butterflies spend their time in concentrated areas of forest where they form colonies by clinging to the branches of trees, forming beautiful cascading clusters. These mountain forests in Mexico are their winter habitat, however nearby human communities also rely on them and create pressure on forests through agriculture and tourism activities. "We have the capability to save the monarch and other species. The question is whether we have the will to do it."-Chip Taylor (MonarchWatch) What You Can Do To Help: As population numbers continue to drop, extinction of the Monarch Butterfly is becoming even more likely. Just like every other organism, plant, insect or animal on the planet, monarchs play a crucial role in the survival of our ecosystems. Butterflies help pollinate plants, making them a vital contributor to crop growth and food production. They also serve as a food source to birds and other animals. We can all help by creating new monarch habitats by planting native milkweed species. This will help provide crucial fuel and rest stops for the traveling butterflies, as will taking more action to address climate change. Ditch the pesticides in your yard, and choose to purchase organic and non-GMO products as often as possible. And by being a conscious consumer, you can help prevent deforestation by avoiding the purchase of wood and paper products unless they're certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. References: National Geographic World Wildlife Federation One Green Planet Read more
Are Monarch Butterflies Poisonous? The Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a very familiar species due to its size and striking pattern of orange, black, and white. Life begins when eggs are laid on the leaves of the poisonous milkweed plant, the preferred food of the Monarch caterpillars. The toxins created by the milkweed, called glycosides, are its defense--intended to keep animals from being able to eat the plant. Because only the caterpillars of the Monarch have adapted to be unaffected by the defense, Monarch caterpillars are able to eat leaves of the milkweed and store the glycosides in their own bodies, which makes the caterpillar toxic. Adult monarchs retain the toxins, but the obvious coloration of the Monarch butterfly makes it an easy target for a predator such as a bird. If a bird eats a Monarch butterfly, the toxic plant glycosides stored in the butterfly make the bird sick. Remembering the color pattern of the butterfly, the bird learns from the experience and no longer is interested in eating Monarchs. Within that bird's territory, other Monarchs can fly about unmolested. Don't eat the Monarchs! This poison is similar to Digitalis, which can be used to help people with heart problems, but could actually kill a human if they consume too much of it! This toxin is poisonous to most vertebrates (animals with backbones), but they may not be poisonous to invertebrates (animals without backbones). The potency of a Monarch Butterfly depends on the plants they ate when they were caterpillars. Some kinds of milkweed have higher levels of toxin than others. For example, Monarchs in the North have a different chemical makeup because the milkweed they eat is different from the milkweed found in the South. The effect of the toxin depends on the amount of toxin that the predator eats, and what kind of animal the predator is. There are some birds that eat monarchs, some mammals (mice), several insects, and some parasites. We don't know much about the insect predators, but the birds have evolved interesting ways to handle the toxins in monarchs. The two bird species that eat monarchs in the Mexican overwintering colonies have evolved to tolerate these toxins, and this is apparently true of the mice as well. Of five species of mice that are common around the overwintering sites in Mexico, only one eats Monarchs; the scansorial black-eared mouse. These mice have somehow overcome the Monarchs' chemical defenses enough to use them as an important food source during the winter. References: Journey North Henderson State University Science Friday Photography Credit: Lincoln Brower Read more

This ambitious project was made possible by a select group of bold, forward-thinking businesses and organizations.  It comes as no surprise that each of them are leaders in their respective fields and industries.

NOTE: Rotate device horizontally to see flight times, tracks and links.
DATE # FROM TO DIST. TIME G.EARTH TRACK
Arizona
2020-04-09 01
Montezuma Ridge
3 Canyons Blvd 17.1 km 2:13 download xcontest
2020-04-15 02 Montezuma Ridge Fort Huachuca 63.0 km 4:41 download xcontest
2020-04-19 03 Mustang Range Mustang Range 5.9 km 0:40 download xcontest
2020-04-19 04 Mustang Range Whetstone Range 15.6 km 0:38 download xcontest
2020-04-24 05 Mustang Range Mustang Range 10.4 km 0:54 download xcontest
2020-04-24 06 Mustang Range Whestone Range South 20.2 km 1:05 download xcontest
2020-04-25 07 Mustang Range Mustang Range Camp 12.0 km 0:42 download xcontest
2020-04-26 08 Mustang Range Mustang Range Camp 3.7 km 0:30 download xcontest
2020-04-26 09 Mustang Range Mustang Range Camp 2.8 km 0:09 download xcontest
2020-04-28 10 Mustang Range Mescal 39.4 km 3:21 download xcontest
2020-04-28 Mescal South Rincon Ridge 14.9 km (gap between flights)
2020-04-29 11 South Rincon Ridge North Of Mammoth 109.0 km 5:57 download xcontest
2020-04-29 North Of Mammoth South Tornado Peak 25 km (gap between flights)
2020-05-03 12 South Tornado Peak Winkleman 9.0 km 0:32 download xcontest
2020-05-06 13 Tornado Peak Hayden Mine 7.0 km 0:38 download xcontest
2020-05-09 14 Tornado Peak Smith Wash 15.7 km 1:21 download xcontest
2020-05-10 15 Tornado Peak Tornado Peak Camp 3.7 km 0:12 download xcontest
2020-05-11 16 Tornado Peak Steamboat Wash 19.9 km 1:21 download xcontest
2020-05-11 Steamboat Wash Apache Leap Ridge 25.5 km (gap between flights)
2020-05-14 17 Apache Leap Ridge Apache Leap Camp 1.6 km 0:04 download xcontest
2020-05-16 18 Peachville Mtn Burro Basin 25.0 km 1:37 download xcontest
2020-05-16 Burro Basin Superstition Mountain 13.8 km (gap between flights)
2020-05-21 19 Superstition Mountain Cypress Peak Camp 63.6 km 4:02 download xcontest
2020-05-25 20 Mt Ord Summit Pine 67.9 km 4:10 download xcontest
2020-05-27 21 Mogolon Rim Happy Jack 31.2 km 4:14 download xcontest
2020-05-27 Happy Jack Apache Maid Mtn 24.8 km (gap between flights)
2020-05-29 22 Apache Maid Mtn Elden Mtn 64.8 km 2:50 download xcontest
2020-06-02 23 Elden Mtn Flagstaff 5.6 km 0:23 download xcontest
2020-06-03 24 Elden Mtn Agasiz Peak South 13.0 km 0:41 download xcontest
2020-06-04 25 Murphys Peak Willow Springs 103.1 km 4:28 download xcontest
2020-06-04 Willow Springs Kanab Tv Towers 140 km (gap between flights)
Utah
2020-06-09 26 Kanab Tv Towers Kanab 1.4 km 0:03 download xcontest
2020-06-10 27 Kanab Tv Towers Kanab Camp 2.1 km 0:12 download xcontest
2020-06-11 28 Kanab Tv Towers Kanab 1.5 km 0:03 download xcontest
2020-06-11 Kanab Toquerville Ridge 70 km (gap between flights)
2020-06-17 29 Toquerville Ridge Toquerville 4.4 km 0:11 download xcontest
2020-06-18 30 Toquerville Ridge Ash Creek Resevoir 19.2 km 1:17 download xcontest
2020-06-18 Ash Creek Resevoir Kannara Mtn 18.2 km (gap between flights)
2020-06-19 31 Kannara Mtn Spry 89.6 km 4:09 download xcontest
2020-06-19 Spry Circleville Mtn Camp 21 km (gap between flights)
2020-06-24 32 Circleville Mtn Camp Monroe Peak Base 54.6 km 2:39 download xcontest
2020-06-27 33 Monroe Peak Lost Creek 43.5 km 2:05 download xcontest
2020-06-27 Lost Creek Horse Heaven Launch 73.6 km (gap between flights)
2020-06-30 34 Horse Heaven Launch North Levan 18.6 km 1:03 download xcontest
2020-07-02 35 Red Cliffs Springville 96.9 km 4:17 download xcontest
2020-07-04 36 Camels Pass Mahogony Mtn 34.4 km 1:56 download xcontest
2020-07-05 37 Mahogony Mtn North Salt Lake City 51.6 km 2:45 download xcontest
2020-07-05 North Salt Lake City The 'V' at Bountiful 12.9 km (gap between flights)
2020-07-06 38 The 'V' at Bountiful Bountiful School 9.3 km 1:32 download xcontest
2020-07-07 39 Bountiful Peak Bountiful Peak 2.1 km 0:13 download xcontest
2020-07-08 40 Bountiful Peak North Ogden 52.7 km 3:07 download xcontest
2020-07-09 41 Willard Peak Plymouth 58.3 km 2:04 download xcontest
2020-07-11 42 Gunsight Peak Gunsight Peak Base 2.0 km 0:06 download xcontest
2020-07-12 43 Gunsight Peak Cherry Creek 23.6 km 1:47 download xcontest
Idaho
2020-07-12 Cherry Creek Elkhorn Range 18.7 km (gap between flights)
2020-07-13 44 Elkhorn Range East Downey 35.1 km 2:12 download xcontest
2020-07-14 45 Cottonwood Peak R.H. Fork Marsh Creek 5.8 km 0:26 download xcontest
2020-07-15 46 Cottonwood Peak L.H. Fork Marsh Creek 9.4 km 0:27 download xcontest
2020-07-16 47 Clegg Canyon Pebble Creek Ski Area 59.4 km 3:07 download xcontest
2020-07-17 48 Bonneville Ridge Bonneville Ridge Base 3.0 km 0:12 download xcontest
2020-07-21 49 Bonneville Ridge Ross Fork 53.4 km 3:42 download xcontest
2020-07-21 Ross Fork East Butte 60.9 km (gap between flights)
2020-07-23 50 East Butte East Butte Base 1.0 km 0:02 download xcontest
2020-07-23 East Butte Base Arco Peak 53.9 km (gap between flights)
2020-07-26 51 Arco Peak Arco Ridge 1.9 km 0:04 download xcontest
2020-07-26 52 Arco Peak Iron Creek Ridge 95.7 km 4:42 download xcontest
2020-07-27 53 Iron Creek Point Junction Peak 25.1 km 0:55 download xcontest
2020-07-29 54 Junction Peak Bohannon Creek 89.3 km 4:44 download xcontest
2020-07-30 55 Geertson Creek Kirtley Creek 29.8 km 1:50 download xcontest
2020-07-31 56 Geertson Creek Geertson Creek Ridge 2.4 km 0:09 download xcontest
2020-08-02 57 Geertson Creek North Fork 45.8 km 3:56 download xcontest
2020-08-05 58 Stein Mtn Elk Point Canyon 52.0 km 2:28 download xcontest
Montana
2020-08-06 59 Elk Point Peak Conner 19.0 km 1:34 download xcontest
2020-08-07 60 Tabor Mtn Peak South Hamilton 19.2 km 1:11 download xcontest
2020-08-07 South Hamilton Baldy Mtn Peak 13 km (gap between flights)
2020-08-09 61 Baldy Mtn Peak Baldy Mtn Base 7.3 km 0:42 download xcontest
2020-08-10 62 Lolo Peak Ski Area West Missoula 23.8 km 1:26 download xcontest
2020-08-14 63 Mt Sentinel Missoula 4.3 km 0:13 download xcontest
2020-08-15 64 Mt Sentinel Butler Creek 20.9 km 1:36 download xcontest
2020-08-18 65 Point Six Peak St Marys Lake 39.0 km 2:12 download xcontest
2020-08-21 66 East St Marys Ridge Swan Lake 76.9 km 3:24 download xcontest
2020-08-21 Swan Lake Mt Orvis Evans 13.9 km (gap between flights)
2020-08-27 67 Mt Orvis Evans Whitefish 62.5 km 3:56 download xcontest
2020-08-27 Whitefish Whitefish Ski Area Top 10.5 km (gap between flights)
2020-08-28 68 Whitefish Ski Area Top East Of Olney 17.0 km 1:01 download xcontest
2020-08-28 East Of Olney Stryker Ridge 14.3 km (gap between flights)
2020-09-04 69 Stryker Ridge Canadian Border 61.7 km 3:50 download xcontest
TOTALS:
Cross-Country Flights 2059 km 118:45 flights-only tracklog
Short Flights (flights less than 10 km) (reveal in log) 97 km 7:55
Hiking Portion (flight gaps greater than 10 km) (reveal in log) 678 km (23.9% of total distance)
Complete Expedition 2835 km 150 days complete tracklog


Want more Inspiration?
Download these award-winning Adventure Films by Benjamin Jordan
Team Monarca
We are currently post-producing a new documentary while publishing online, writing articles and doing interviews about the expedition and Monarch conservation. Please contact us about any of the above or to find out how you can take part in this exciting new project.
Lyndsay Nicole
Media / Public Relations
lyndsay@benjaminjordan.com
1 888 205 1687
Benjamin Jordan
Athlete / Filmmaker
(please contact Lyndsay for interviews, sponsorship information, etc.)