Paddling with Polar Bears
June 19, 2008 2:24 PM   Subscribe

In 1930, Eric Sevareid and Walter Port embarked on a wild adventure when they launched a canoe at Fort Snelling on the Minnesota River and paddled over 2200 miles north to Hudson Bay. Sevareid later documented their story in the book Canoeing with the Cree. The book has since served as inspiration for young adventurers. Two such men, Colton Witte and Sean Bloomfield, departed on their own trek on April 28, 2008. The pair made it to Hudson Bay on June 17, 2008, in only 49 days. They aren’t the only ones to follow in Sevareid’s and Port’s footsteps – Scott Miller and Todd Foster made the same journey in 2005.
posted by cabingirl (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"I was confident in the boys' skills in the wilderness as far as survival, map reading and preparation," said Kathy Witte in an email. "But what caused anxiety was the unknown. You can't prepare for 6 foot waves in a canoe, cold weather, rain, snow, illness, rapids, bears or questionable people."

Interesting story, and nice first post cabingirl.
posted by netbros at 2:29 PM on June 19, 2008

Eric Sevareid (1912-92) is a fantastic writer with an amazing life story (Dan Rather gave the eulogy at his funeral). I've only read excerpts from his autobiography Not So Wild a Dream (1945), it is considered one of the best first-person accounts of the Great Depression. He tramped around the country (and world) hoboing.
posted by stbalbach at 7:59 PM on June 19, 2008

Thanks, cabingirl. I think I will put the Canoing book and stbalbach's bio recommendation on my summer vacation reading list - good first post!
posted by madamjujujive at 9:12 PM on June 19, 2008

Slightly related derail; Samuel Hearne's A Journey from Prince of Wales’s Fort in Hudson’s Bay to the Northern Ocean (abridged free on-line version) is a fantastic account of the earliest European exploration of the territory to the Northwest of Hudson's Bay. Traveling with Native bands, in 1770, he sympathetically relates their day-to-day struggle to survive the harshness of the land, and each other, while he attempts to find the legendary Coppermine River. I would have never known the stomach-contents of freshly killed caribou was such a delicacy without reading this book.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:16 PM on June 19, 2008

These four hep cats did a similar (though shorter @ 1400 mi) version of this trip in 1979, but it took them 70 days. [insert bong sound].
posted by HyperBlue at 9:49 PM on June 19, 2008

So did Scott Anderson and his friend, and Scott wrote a damn fine book about the experience.

Among many other accomplishments, Scott was an F-16 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard in Duluth, Minnesota. His full-time occupation was a test pilot for Cirrus Design. In 1999 he was testing a version of the SR20, when the plane crashed in Duluth, and Scott was killed at the age of 33.
posted by Kibbutz at 10:59 PM on June 19, 2008

This sounds really awesome, but I'm puzzled that I don't find a map of the route they took. Seems like an obvious thing.
posted by Goofyy at 1:59 AM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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