Two Women About to Make Paddling History


Traveling by canoe from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Canada’s Hudson bay is a more than 2,000 mile journey. In 1930 Eric Sevareid and Walter Port made such a trip; later Sevareid would write a book Canoeing with the Cree (1935) chronicling the adventure. In 2005 two young men from St. Cloud followed in Sevareids’ wake to mark the 75th anniversary of the original. Now, two young women plan to leave their own mark on this historic route.

Natalie Warren and Ann Raiho are both ready to graduate from St. Olaf College. Like all recent college grads, they’re both excited and anxious about what the “real world” has in store for them. But for Natalie and Ann, the real world isn’t an internship or entry level data specialist position. Instead they’re putting their degrees in Environmental Studies to use right away, by setting out to become the first women to canoe from Minneapolis to the Hudson. They’ll set out on June 1st 2011, almost immediately after graduating ceremonies have wrapped up.

When Sevareid made his journey, he had just graduated from High School. He might not have made the journey if he knew what was in store. Blistering heat, swarming insects, and food shortages all plagued the trip. When he was done, not only did he get a book out of his experiences, but ultimately Sevareid became a well known journalist for CBS radio.

For Warren and Raiho however, fame and glory are not motivating factors. “We want to raise public awareness about women venturing into the wilderness and encourage young women to be strong and bold enough to go on their own adventures,” says Warren. The pair plan to stop at high-school along the rivers to speak about local water quality.

The two trips do have one major factor in common. The need for funding. Sevareids journey was sponsored by the Minneapolis Star. Today, Warren and Raiho are seeking out more modern sources of cash, namely outdoor retailer sponsorships. If you’d like to help fund this trip you can check out their website here:HudsonBayBound
After all funding for the trip has been met, the proceeds will be donated to YMCA Camp Menogyn, providing scholarships to other young women who want to experience wilderness adventures in Northern Minnesota and Canada.

Check back with PL during this summer for full coverage of this story. We’ll have all the latest update on Warren and Raiho’s progress…