Canoers stop in McGregor on way north in ‘Rediscovering North America’ trip

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Luke Kimmes and Winchell Delano were two members of a group of six canoers that paddled into McGregor last Wednesday on the way north in their “Rediscovering North America” trip from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. The journey will take the group through 10 states, five Canadian provinces, 11 rivers and 5,200 miles. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

The “Rediscovering North America” group paddled into McGregor mid-day Wednesday, a little cold and wet after spending a slushy night camped on an island across from Clayton. McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Gallagher reached out to them several weeks ago, inviting them to spend the night, an offer they readily accepted.

“It’s good to have beds and hospitality along the way,” shared Dan Flynn, noting that stopping in communities like McGregor gives them something to look forward to, breaking up the monotony of time on the river.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

A group of six canoers made a pit stop in McGregor last Wednesday on the way north in their “Rediscovering North America” trip.

The trip, which includes six friends (Adam Trigg, Winchell Delano, Dan Flynn and John Keaveny, all originally of Minnesota, and Jarrad Moore and Luke Kimmes, both Iowa natives) traversing 10 states, five Canadian provinces, 11 rivers and 5,200 miles, began in the Mississippi Delta near Burras, La., at the start of 2015. The nine-month trek will end at the Arctic Ocean.

The guys paddled into McGregor mid-day Wednesday, a little cold and wet after spending a slushy night camped on an island across from Clayton, just nine miles downriver. McGregor-Marquette Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carolyn Gallagher reached out to them several weeks ago, inviting them to spend the night, an offer they readily accepted. While in McGregor, the guys stayed at Little Switzerland, dined at Old Man River and planned to update their trip blog at the library.

“Rediscovering North America” pieces together a number of other already-traveled routes throughout the United States and Canada, and is the first time they’ve all been done together. All seasoned outdoorsmen, the group researched the trip, and finding it was possible, decided to move forward, Kimmes said.

Their reasons for taking on the whole North American continent are continually changing, he said.

“We all have our own reasons, and that changes every day,” he said. Sometimes it’s just experiencing an area’s natural beauty.

“Last night, it was pretty surreal coming into Clayton. The bluffs were gorgeous and there was this Dippin’ Dots snow,” he added, referencing the brand known for its small “dots” of ice cream. 

They also hope to make an impact and help others realize their dreams.

“We’ve had so many people say they were inspired to do a river trip or a bike trip,” Kimmes said.

With two guys per canoe and 100-pound packs and water weighing down the vessels, the trip up the Mississippi hasn’t been easy. Definitely “no coasting,” they said. 

Kimmes said the group had a goal of traveling 20 miles per day, but upped the mileage to 25 as the trip progressed. Since hitting Davenport, he said the pool system made the trip easier, and they consistently traveled over 25 miles for five straight days.

“We’ve been lucky with the upstream weather and river levels,” he said, noting last week’s cooler temperatures were nothing new for them, as they’d already encountered ice and winter weather farther south. “We plan to chase spring and will hopefully be in it the whole way instead of hitting winter full on.”

“It’s good to have beds and hospitality along the way,” shared Flynn, noting that stopping in communities like McGregor gives them something to look forward to, breaking up the monotony of time on the river.

It’s especially enjoyable, added Kimmes, because, once the group heads into Canada, they will go weeks without coming into contact with others.

“Getting to know the area as you’re going through makes the trip better,” he said, mentioning the unique interplay between the Mississippi and town environments along their journey.

The group doesn’t rely on a GPS, but rather their cell phones, which they said have been fairly reliable so far. When they have computer access, they update the trip blog. 

Flynn said they’re a democracy and vote on both big and small decisions, whether it’s determining which island to camp on or where to stop on a certain date. 

So far they’ve had fun and enjoyed one another’s company.

“You’re out there every day for nine months and it’s really hard mentally and physically,” Kimmes said, “but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

If you would like to follow the group's “Rediscovering North America” journey, visit rediscoverna.com.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)