Rediscovering North America

November 25, 2016

NEW ULM - In 2015, a six-man canoe team of the Rediscover North America Expedition began a nine-month journey starting in the Gulf of Mexico and ending in the Arctic Circle.

One year after completing the adventure, the team has released a documentary video chronicling their exploits.

On Tuesday, team member John Keaveny visited the New Ulm Public Library to facilitate a screening of the documentary.

Keaveny currently lives in Minneapolis, but his parents are New Ulm residents.

New Ulm had a great significance for the expedition.

During the fourth month of the expedition, Keaveny and the other expedition members Winchell Delano, Adam Trigg, Daniel Flynn, Jarrad Moore and Luke Kimmes stopped in New Ulm.

The team had recently made the switch from paddling up the Mississippi River to paddling the Minnesota River.

The expedition landed in Riverside Park on April 9, 2015.

New Ulm represented the halfway point of their journey and offered them a chance to rest and resupply.

The film was created by expedition member Dan Flynn and was mostly shot on GoPro. Audiences were able to see from a first-person point of view what it looks like to spend the better part of the year on the river.

The canoe team would ultimately paddle 11 different rivers in the United States and Canada and experience nearly every type of weather, from the tropical weather of Louisiana to the cold tundra of northern Canada.

One of the more harrowing parts of the documentary is when the team is paddling through dense smoke caused by a Canadian forest fire.

Keaveny would later say the most exciting part of the journey was paddling across lakes. With lakes, it is quickest to cut across, but the risk of capsizing is greater. Fortunately only one canoe ever capsized during the entire trip and that was during a river crossing.

Keaveny said the team was fortunate not to suffer any serious injuries during the trip. After completing the expedition in September, the team noticed their legs had developed atrophy from sitting in canoes for a long period, but they also developed arm strength from paddling.

At the end of the documentary, the team said the best part of the trip was the people they met along the route. Keaveny said it was the short stops at communities like New Ulm that re-energized the team to continue. The best part was being able to share the adventure with an audience.

After completing the expedition, the crew was honored with the 2015 Canoe & Kayak Magazine “Expedition of the Year” award.

The Rediscover North America documentary is available for rental at vimeo.com.