Six men have have embarked on a journey of epic proportions; they are canoeing from the Mississippi Delta on the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. “Rediscover North America Canoe Expedition” will travel 5200 miles through ten U.S. States, Five Canadian Territories on eleven rivers.
The Six are all experienced outdoorsmen. Adam Trigg worked as a summer canoe guide in Manitoba and Ontario. Winchell Delano, has previously embarked on other canoe expeditions such as the, Les Voyageurs, a 45 day journey on the Coppermine River. Jarrad Moore is an experienced outdoorsman who has rock climbed in twelve different states. Daniel Flynn has used photography to documented river trips on the Hayes/Gods River. John Keaveny is an avid hunter and fisher and Luke Kimmes is an outdoor enthusiast, participating in climbing, canyoneering, biking and skiing. All the men are originally from Minnesota except for Moore and Kimmes who are from Iowa.
The expedition started on January 2nd on the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississppi, in the Delta near Buras, Louisiana. The journey traveled up the river, skipping some the heavier river traffic around New Orleans, connecting to the Mississippi near Natchez Mississippi. The six men will then continue up the Mississippi for nearly 2000 miles, canoeing through major cities like Memphis Tennessee and St. Louis Missouri. The journey will leave the Mississippi just south of St. Paul/Minneapolis, following the Red River over the U.S./Canadian Border. In Canada the expedition will cross Lake Winnepeg, up through Lake Athabasca, onto the great Slave Lake and finally reach the Arctic through the Hood River. The route combines the routes of many historic canoe treks, such as the route Eric Sevareid described in his 1935 book Canoeing with The Cree and some of the route of the Trans-Territorial Expedition which Delano participated in in 2012.
“Overall, we had quite the sampler pack of conditions,” Winchell said “There were days we paddled without shirts, coupled with nights we didn’t venture far from fires, and who could forget afternoons scraping newly formed ice off of boats, gloves, and paddles? We’ve known winter would come for us eventually, but it was easy to neglect that fact until the snow flew, the frost formed, and paddle-able hours were no longer dictated by wind, but rather by our ability to stay warm.”
However the greatest fear is not weather or exhaustion, but tipping, which could be extremely dangerous on such active waterways. The expedition averages 20 miles a day, they paddle in two to three hour shifts.
The six friends expect to make the Arctic in September. You can follow their progress on their journey on their website here.