Origin Story

It has been over sixteen months since the crew finished the migration out to Utah, and a lot has happened in that time. Here's a little background to the story; I'll try and be brief.

Initially, it was John, Adam and myself (Winchell) living in Salt Lake City and working for Second Nature. This started last winter back in December of 2012. I was returning to work following a canoe expedition and three-month homestead back in Minnesota. John had recently quit his job at Talahi in order to move out West after years of pressure from his older brother Steve (pictured on the right). Adam was in between jobs and lured to Utah with the promise of abundant snow. By January of 2013, we had a quaint little house, ski passes at the Canyons Resort, a luxurious but unheated garage, and zero obligations outside of work, which was eight days on followed by six days off. Life was pretty good. 

Jarrad was a part of Adam's training group at Second Nature, and lived on our couches for the better part of the spring in 2013. You either love or hate a guy at that point, and obviously the former won out. Meanwhile, Daniel was in the process of finishing school back in Minnesota, and finally arrived in September of 2013. Everything was coming together. We had just agreed to a nine-month lease for a house in Liberty, Utah, which is close to one our favorite resorts, Snow Basin, and clear of the smog in Salt Lake City.

Fun photo shoot at the Canoe and Kayak Awards in Salt Lake City (Summer 2013)

Fun photo shoot at the Canoe and Kayak Awards in Salt Lake City (Summer 2013)

Steve and Winchell with the prizes

Steve and Winchell with the prizes


Like I said before, the past year has been full of highlights. Last summer, I was part of a crew that accepted Canoe and Kayak's Expedition of the Year Award for 2013 (pictured above). The award show was a blast and we came away having won an award we didn't believe we had any business even competing for. The fall was full of anticipation for the ski season to begin and exploring Utah's national/state parks. And visitors, tons of visitors! We were lucky enough to provide lodging for family and friends the past six months, who have made this place feel more like a home than a bachelor pad. 

So, how does all of this factor into a canoe expedition from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean? Well, it came together piece by piece. First came the idea. Adam and I were on a flight home to Minnesota, and trying to think of ways to be creative with a new expedition. It was Adam who came up with the bright idea to paddle UPSTREAM on the Mississippi. Then we had to convince people to come with. Pretty easy sells to be honest, and we are still in the process of adding a sixth.

Be on the lookout for upcoming blog posts on our official sponsors run-down and Hayes/Gods River portfolio from Daniel Flynn. Also, please feel free to contact us via the website's fancy little form on the contact page.