Most honeymoon shortlists read like a page out of a Royal Caribbean travel brochure—Greek island hopping, swimming with dolphins in Cancun or boozing in Key West. Dave and Amy Freeman, though, aren't like most newlyweds. For starters, when they were married in March of 2010, their ceremony was accessible only by traveling over a frozen lake, so guests arrived by dogsled, ski and ice skates. It was clear that the two veteran dogsled and canoe guides were on the outdoors path to marital bliss. For their honeymoon, the couple set out a month later—on Earth Day—for an epic, 11,700-mile North American Odyssey by kayak, canoe and dogsled along the following route (click to enlarge):
They wanted to gain support and protection for vital North American waterways, sure, but they also wanted to have a hell of an adventure.
Oh, and inspire kids to get outside and start exploring for themselves. See, 12 years ago, Dave founded The Wilderness Classroom, an educational nonprofit that uses technology to virtually bring schoolkids along on his expeditions. The idea is to help them form a lifelong connection to the natural world while teaching basic skills like reading and critical thinking. His first educational trip was a six-week solo trip across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in the heart of winter. Since then, he's reached more than 100,000 middle and elementary school students, taking them as far as North Africa and the Amazon.
A week ago today, the Freemans wrapped up their ambitious journey in Key West, Florida, having kayaked Alaska's Inside Passage, canoed the Yukon's wild rivers, dogsledded across the Northwest Territories. Highlights from their awesome honeymoon include running rapids on the Peel River in Yukon, taking kids for dogsled rides in remote communities in Canada's Far North, being approached by humpback whales off the Alaskan coast and paddling alongside sea turtles and hammerhead sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. But the best part of the whole thing? Learning to live simply and spending tons of quality time together outdoors. Now that's epic, and sure beats a Duval Street bar crawl any day.