The canoe trip of a lifetime

paddling canoe
© Rediscover North America

How six young men are pursuing ‘adventure for adventure’s sake’ as they paddle upstream across the North American continent this year.

Six courageous canoeists are chasing spring across the North American continent. These young men – Winchell Delano, Adam Trigg, Luke Kimmes, Jarrad Moore, Daniel Flynn, and John Keaveny – started their journey in the Gulf of Mexico on January 2. They hope to reach the Arctic by mid-September, after paddling 5,200 miles (8,400 kilometres) across ten states, three provinces, two territories, and eleven rivers.

Their route is somewhat unusual. Most paddlers would likely prefer to head down the Mississippi River, rather than paddle upstream, but these guys are clearly up for a challenge. In an interview with Canoe & Kayak, Delano explains why it appealed to the group:

“Although a Gulf-to-Arctic paddle is definitely not an unprecedented feat, completing a route that has never been stitched together exactly like ours was very appealing. We thought of it like a paddling mosaic, taking so many little parts to make a unique whole. We also liked the idea that we’d encounter a very delayed transition from dense urban and agricultural lands to more remote areas – to find the remaining wilderness (to the extent that’s even possible these days).”

The guys paddle around 8 to 10 hours in order to cover approximately 27 miles (44 kilometres) per day. Each has his standard role; three stay in the stern, and the three bowmen rotate daily, which keep conversations flowing. Each set of partners cooks dinner together, which, according to Adam Trigg in an interview with Maclean’s, has been going well: “We keep a pretty good spice kit and we have good imaginations… I’m sure by the end, however, rice and beans and noodles will be close to meeting their end.” That’s a fair bet after 270 days of canoeing!

Trigg said they are often asked why they’re not paddling for a cause, to which they reply:

“What’s wrong with an adventure? Why does it have to be done for this bigger purpose besides what it is? We wanted to see if we could do it.”

His answer is refreshing at a time when anything that’s slightly impressive seems to be done to raise awareness or money for a cause.

The group is now camped on Lake Winnipeg, according to the interactive Google map available on their website showing their most recent location. From there, they’ll travel rivers in Saskatchewan and Alberta to Great Slave Lake, and eventually onto the Coppermine River which will take them to their final destination at Kugluktuk, a small community on the Arctic Ocean.

The canoe trip of a lifetime
How six young men are pursuing ‘adventure for adventure’s sake’ as they paddle upstream across the North American continent this year.

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