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Boreal Community Media

New Book: Women recount an epic paddling adventure

Jan 08, 2021 01:29PM ● By Editor
Image: University of Minnesota Press

From Boreal Community Media - January 8, 2021

In 2011, Minnesota Amn Raiho and Natalie Warren became the first two women to p[addle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay.  Warren's new book - Hudson Bay Bound - recounts the epic canoe expedition in thrilling detail.

From U of M Press:

Unrelenting winds, carnivorous polar bears, snake nests, sweltering heat, and constant hunger. Paddling from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, following the 2,000-mile route made famous by Eric Sevareid in his 1935 classic Canoeing with the Cree, Natalie Warren and Ann Raiho faced unexpected trials, some harrowing, some simply odd. But for the two friends—the first women to make this expedition—there was one timeless challenge: the occasional pitfalls that test character and friendship. Warren’s spellbinding account retraces the women’s journey from inspiration to Arctic waters, giving readers an insider view from the practicalities of planning a three-month canoe expedition to the successful accomplishment of the adventure of a lifetime.

Along the route we meet the people who live and work on the waterways, including denizens of a resort who supply much-needed sustenance; a solitary resident in the wilderness who helps plug a leak; and the people of the Cree First Nation at Norway House, where the canoeists acquire a furry companion. Describing the tensions that erupt between the women (who at one point communicate with each other only by note) and the natural and human-made phenomena they encounter—from islands of trash to waterfalls and a wolf pack—Warren brings us into her experience, and we join these modern women (and their dog) as they recreate this historic trip, including the pleasures and perils, the sexism, the social and environmental implications, and the enduring wonder of the wilderness.


"Ann and Natalie would be heralded for showing that adventure can still be had in a changing environment, and that women have not only a place in the landscape of adventure, but an important voice that needs to be heard. [Their] journey illuminates the physical landscapes, hardships, and human encounters; it also uncovers the heart of any good journey, the human spirit."

— Ann Bancroft, from the Foreword

"Hudson Bay Bound is a story of friendship forged on the river as two young women paddle 2,000 miles to the Arctic. With the candor and enthusiasm of a first grand adventure, Natalie Warren shares the joys and trials of living by water, propelled northward by muscle power and the belief that anything is possible."

— Caroline Van Hemert, author of The Sun is a Compass: A 4,000–Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

"Natalie Warren's Hudson Bay Bound is part adventure-memoir, part nontraditional love story. Her adoration for the water and deep respect for the history of the land it weaves through is clear throughout the journey. Complemented by the intimacy of a friendship cultivated in motion, this is a refreshing, fun, and thoughtful read."

— Gale Straub, author of She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild

"Natalie and Ann’s story is classic example of how the exuberance of youth and a healthy dose of grit make any dream possible. From the foggy swirl of excitement as they launched their canoe into the flooded Minnesota River to their final paddle strokes down the Hayes River, Hudson Bay Bound provides a vivid account of an awesome adventure that we couldn’t put down."

— Amy and Dave Freeman, authors of A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters

Editor's note:  Hudson Bay Bound will be available in February.  You can order it on-line by following this link.