THE ITINERARY

This memorable expedition across the United States of America will begin on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. The adventurers will then be forced to fight the current by paddling upstream on the Columbia River for nearly 500 kilometers. They will have to portage their first four large hydroelectric dams before reaching the city of Burbank in the state of Washington.

They will canoe upstream and explore the magnificent Snake River for about 220 kilometers. This river, filled with history, is situated in a semi-arid climate. Snake River will offer spectacular panoramas for the four canoeists. These views will be a small reprieve from the rough and rugged nomad life they will live while on the river. After portaging four more hydroelectric dams, they will continue to navigate their canoes to the town of Lewiston in the state of Idaho.

Between Lewiston, Idaho and Helena, Montana, the team will be challenged with a 600 kilometer portage through the Rockies. They will have to overcome muscular pains and continue their sustained effort to cross this harrowing portage. Each crew member will have the opportunity to be amazed by the enchanting setting surrounded by mountains. During this leg of the trip, the use of adapted bicycles and trailers will allow them to admire these landscapes while saving their energy.

Spring will not only bring warm weather, but it will also attract grizzlies out of their homes to hunt and fish. Once in Montana, the team will have to be on a constant watch for numerous and enormous grizzlies. Several areas that the team will explore will have the lasting traces of a bear who just visited that same spot. Although grizzly bears can swim very well, the team will attempt as much as possible to sleep on islands in order to detect bears early on. Meals will be cooked away from the campsite and food barrels placed several hundred meters from tents. These tents will only have the comfort of a mattress, sleeping bag, pepper spray and a book. The delicate fabric of the tent will offer a modest feeling of security from the outside dangers. No matter how tired team members might be from that day’s exertion on the water, they might find it hard to close their eyes for unease of what surrounds them in the dark.

The team will then navigate the mythical Missouri River for nearly 3,600 kilometers. Finally having the benefit of the current, they will be pushed downstream. This will allow them to cover more mileage each day as they get closer to their end goal. During this stretch of the river, the team will meet with First Nations to learn more about their way of life in hopes of expanding their understanding of different cultures and environments. For over 12,000 years, First Nations have depended on the Missouri River and its tributaries as a source of sustenance and transportation.

Portaging the 14 hydroelectric dams that accompany this river will put their endurance to the test. The valley of the lower Missouri will bring violent storms and tornadoes. This will be the time of year when tornadoes will be most active in the U.S., especially in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri.

Once the team reaches the city of St. Louis, each team member will enjoy a well-deserved, yet short, five-day break.

After returning from their reprieve, the team and their canoes will continue to journey along the Ohio, Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers for nearly 1200 kilometers to Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico (Illinois, Kentuky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama). Along the way, they will come across the America's Great Loop Cruisers with whom they will share stories of their time on the river while surrounding themselves with comradery and good meals!

Storms and bad weather are bound to be frequent during this seven month journey. As much as they will be welcomed by sunny skies, they will also be tutored with heavy rain shifting to hail as the temperature decreases. They will have to squint their eyes and turn their faces to lessen the pain and struggle they encounter when bad weather hits. These adventurers will be clothed in not only the clothes on their backs, but the zinc oxide adhesive tape covering their damaged, cracked skin and blisters caused by the thousands upon thousands of paddle strokes. The winds will kick up waves in every direction, causing each canoe to rock and slowly take on water throughout each day. This will cause each team member to make a decision; bail water or paddle harder.

After months of daring and determined paddling, the four canoeists will finally make it to the Gulf of Mexico. Here, they will not stop, but continue on for the last and final leg of their magnificent adventure. The immensity and beauty of the Gulf of Mexico will be contemplated amid every stroke and every mile they paddle. The crew will allow themselves to be carried by the poetry of the sunsets which will be followed by star-studded skies. The fauna and flora will present their most beautiful specimens. The four adventurers must then be vigilant and cautious of shark, snake, spider, alligator and tick bites. The hurricane season will be at its peak and they will have to respect the power of Mother Nature.

This epic journey will end on the shores of the Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean. There could not be a more heavenly and peaceful place to celebrate the end of the adventure of a lifetime, 7600 Kilometers away from where it all began seven months ago. After a few days of rest and luxuriance, each member will return to where they came from with their heads filled with stories and images and memories engraved on their hearts.