5/15/2008 11:14:00 AM
High school canoers
journey to Hudson Bay
By Scott Tedrick
special to the american-news
While so many teenagers immerse themselves in the
wonders of popular culture and its technological
wizardry, there are still those that choose to immerse
themselves in the wonders of God's green earth.
On April 28, Chaska High School graduates Sean Bloomfield and Colton Witte set out on the trip of a
lifetime that will take them on a 2,250-mile, 70-day journey as they paddle the Minnesota River from
Fort Snelling to the Hudson Bay.
The two are following the river trail blazed by Eric Sevareid and Walter Port, who proved the feat
could be done when they completed an expedition as teens in 1930.
Sevareid's subsequent book, "Canoeing with the Cree," documented the boys' harrowing
experiences along the trip. For generations the book has inspired and motivated nature enthusiasts
of all ages.
"You're working your tail off the whole time," said Bloomfield.
The exhausting exertion against relentless winds and cold, wet rains was made all the worse with
Witte struggling to overcome food poisoning that plagued him as of day one. Unable to shake the
bug, he was finally forced into receiving fluids at a hospital in St. Peter on day four. Despite the
episode, the boys' spirits have remained high.
Packed with as little technology and as few supplies as possible - clothes, water, food, a tent, maps
and a compass, with a frisbee and deck of cards - the canoe they've dubbed the Bloomitte floats
lightly and moves swiftly.
According to their calculations, they were paddling 11 hours and over 25 miles a day against the
strong current. The speed is sure to increase as they move up river and into the calmer lakes,
eventually floating with the current when the waterway changes direction at Brown's Valley.
Their pace should get them to Hudson Bay in record time.