This stage of the expedition began in the last week of May while ice still covered most of Great Slave Lake. The adventurous pair, accompanied by their favorite lead dog Fennel (a 100 lb. Lab-husky mix), worked their way up remote rivers and through immense lakes. The clear, cold waters of Lake Athabasca and Reindeer Lake were on their route, along with the algae-filled waters of Lake Winnipeg. The end of their route has taken them through Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Dave and Amy call Grand Marais, Minnesota home, so they wrapped up this leg of their journey in very familiar territory.
The purpose of the North American Odyssey is to raise awareness of North America's waterways and wilderness. It is also a call to action, urging people to simplify their lives, reduce their carbon footprints, and get outside to enjoy nature. Their message has been heard by about 65,000 school children from around the globe so far.
Dave and Amy update an educational website, http://www.WildernessClassroom.com, where students and educators interact with the expedition team. A second website, http://www.NorthAmericanOdyssey.com serves as a blog for armchair adventurers to see what they are up to. The Freemans began the North American Odyssey in the spring of 2010 near Seattle, Washington. They paddled the Inside Passage and then headed inland, working their way up to the Mackenzie River delta. They then turned south, paddling upstream until the snow flew and they spent last winter dogsledding across the Northwest Territories to Fort Resolution.
Despite this homecoming after about 5 months of paddling, the couple are just over halfway done with the North American Odyssey. They are taking this winter break to give school presentations and attend other speaking engagements. In the spring, they will dust off their paddles once again and travel through the Great Lakes out to the East Coast, where they plan to follow the annual whale migration down the Atlantic Coast to the Florida Keys.
# # #
The Wilderness Classroom is a nonprofit that strives to improve students' core academic skills and appreciation for the environment by introducing elementary and middle school students to wild places through our website and live school presentations.