If you’re going to canoe 5,200 miles in a single year, some bad weather is to be expected. But when the 6-man crew of the Rediscover North America canoe expedition set out from the Gulf of Mexico in January, their timing looked promising. Moving up the Mississippi River at 20-25 miles per day would allow them to follow the warm weather north on their way to the Arctic Ocean–at least in theory.

When we last heard from the team, they were making good progress despite some wind and rain. Now, close to 1,000 miles into the journey, snow and temperatures as low as 18 degrees below zero have begun to slow the canoeists as they move past Saint Louis.

“Morale is high because we’ve been doing exactly what we expected,” said expedition-member Winchell Delano, referring to time budgeted for delays if not freezing weather so far south.

Luckily, the river angels network–a group of people living along the Mississippi who help through-paddlers with shelter, laundry and showers–have stepped in to assist the crew.

Upstream the river is still frozen over, and the paddlers are debating losing precious time while waiting for a thaw or starting a long portage.

–Stay tuned for the next update from the Rediscover North America canoe expedition.

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Crew arriving at the chain of rocks just north of Saint Louis on February 28.

Click HERE to follow the crew’s progress (and here to follow Rediscover North America on Facebook).

Read more about the impetus for the expedition, funded in part with the $2,500 Expedition Grant presented by Shred Ready, which was awarded to Delano’s 2,600-mile Trans-Territorial Canoe Expedition upon winning the 2013 Canoe & Kayak Awards Expedition of the Year.