A group of six friends are embarking on a once in a lifetime feat: paddling a canoe upstream from the Gulf of Mexico to that Arctic Ocean. It is a nine-month journey that presents a variety of obstacles, from dealing with the varied weather patterns to the physical pain of paddling up to 20 miles a day.
Rediscover North America
After a year of planning, the men started what they refer to as the “Rediscover North America” trip on January 2nd; you can follow their adventures at rediscoverna.com. The 5,200-mile canoe journey will navigate through the Mississippi River, the Red River, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake, the Hood River and finally end at the Arctic Ocean.
Regarding the canoe team, five of the six men work for Second Nature, an outdoor adventure therapy program. Each is an experienced outdoorsmen, and Winchell Delano, who first came up with the idea for the expedition, recently completed a 2,600-mile canoe trip across Alaska and Canada.
When asked why they decided to not only embark on a nine-month canoe trip, but also complete it going against the current, they have mixed answers.
For me, it’s a way to simplify life … Canoeing allows you to see landscapes at an appropriate pace. If you walk, it may be too slow, if you drive, it’s too fast. This is an optimal way to see things. – Delano
Jarrad Moore desired to do something no one has done before, whereas Luke Kimmes is enjoying the time that the journey allows for reflection and fostering relationships.
Outdoor adventure therapy
You don’t have to go on a nine-month canoe trip to experience the therapeutic qualities of nature. With how much time teens spend “plugged in,” the remote elements of outdoor adventure therapy can have a great impact on a teen’s behavior and outlook. Besides giving teens a sense of accomplishment by testing their abilities and going outside their comfort zone, outdoor adventure therapy teaches valuable life lessons.
You might think you know someone until you get involved with something like this. This is definitely hard at times, and it will either bring the best or worst out of you. You might be covered in ice, but you have to just laugh and know that it might not be fun at times, but you have to keep going, no matter what. – Kimmes
Overcoming life’s obstacles
Much like the six-man canoeing team are facing, outdoor adventure therapy provides a host of obstacles to overcome. From dealing with personal conflicts to unexpected natural or weather complications, teens are challenged daily in the wilderness. Learning to take control of what they can and have a positive attitude over what they can’t allows teens an opportunity to develop personal skills. What they learn during outdoor adventure therapy can be applied to many aspects of their life.