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Points North

Presenting HumaNature: Tipping Point

In 2011, Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren climbed into their canoe and pushed off the banks of the Minnesota River just outside Minneapolis. Their goal was to paddle to Hudson Bay, thousands of miles away in Canada. It was a huge test of physical strength and friendship. (courtesy: Ann Raiho / Natalie Warren)
Ann Raiho / Natalie Warren
In 2011, Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren climbed into their canoe and pushed off the banks of the Minnesota River just outside Minneapolis. Their goal was to paddle to Hudson Bay, thousands of miles away in Canada. It was a huge test of physical strength and friendship. (courtesy: Ann Raiho / Natalie Warren)

During their senior year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Ann Raiho and her friend Natalie Warren read a 1935 book called "Canoeing With the Cree”. The book recounts the journey of two boys, just out of highschool, who paddled over 2,250 miles north from the Minnesota River to Hudson Bay.

As Ann read the book, she looked online to see if anyone had recreated the journey. From what she could tell, no women had ever done it.

“(Ann) came to my dorm room, I was writing a paper, and she flung the door open, and she chucked the book over at me and said, ‘Hey, read this. I think we should do it,’ and then just walked away,” said Natalie.

Natalie says she picked the book up and read it cover to cover that night. The next day when she saw Ann, she said, “Yes, let's do this!”

Natalie Warren (front) and Ann Raiho paddle a canoe. (credit: Lee Vue)
Lee Vue
Natalie Warren (front) and Ann Raiho paddle a canoe. (credit: Lee Vue)

Then on June 2, 2011, Ann and Natalie shoved off the banks of the Minnesota River near Minneapolis, and headed upstream towards their goal thousands of miles away.

But the journey proved to be a huge test of both physical strength and friendship.

“ Lake Winnipeg itself was really like a breaking point for me because it just seemed to go on and on and on,” said Ann.

“And that was the thing that really just made us tip over and just start arguing and yelling at each other,” Natalie said.

This episode comes from the HumaNature podcast from Wyoming Public Media.

Natalie Warren wrote a book about her canoe trip with Ann Raiho, titled, "Hudson Bay Bound: Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic".

In 2011, Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren paddled their canoe from the Minnesota River, to Hudson Bay, Canada. (credit: Angela Staehling)
In 2011, Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren paddled their canoe from the Minnesota River, to Hudson Bay, Canada. (credit: Angela Staehling)

Credits for HumaNature:
Producer: Caroline Ballard
Editing: Erin Jones, Megan Feighery, Ivy Engel, and Charles Fournier
Digital Producer: Anna Rader
Executive Producer: Micah Schweizer
Pre-Production: Tressa Versteeg
Music: Cornicob by Blue Dot Sessions.