Canoeing with the Cree

Castoff loaned me this book about a 2,250 mile canoe trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay by 2 teenagers . Written by Eric Sevareid, who was one of them.
No ultralight anything , no freeze dried, not much support, no An epic adventure, learning as they went.

Yes, great story. I have it on Kindle. Maps were iffy as well. Amazing that two kids were able to do that … and finance it by sending dispatches to the newspaper. Shades of the future for Eric Sevareid.

I loved that book. Mine had an intro by Severeid written much later than the book in which he comments on the audacity of youth. He says there are some things you have to be young and very optimistic to try, and apparently this trip was one. He says he’d rather repeat storming the beach on D-day than repeat that trip.

We think we rough it when we go for a trip. But we have so much better gear! The gear list in the book was so impressive (compared to what we bring) I wrote it down. Not even a sleeping bag. They got behind schedule and were finishing the trip as winter was closing in. They had a shirt and sweater apiece.


Gear List for a 14-week, 2,250-mile Canoe Trip (with 60 portages)
From Canoeing with the Cree

Eighteen-foot canoe
All-purpose pocket knife
Three five-foot, copper-tipped paddles
Skinning knife in sheath
Two sponges for canoe cleaning
Heavy hatchet in sheath
Pack sack with food in small canvas bags
Pocket whetstone
Pack sack with clothes and miscellaneous articles
Bottle of boot oil
Four wool blankets rolled in two rubber ponchos
Bottle of mosquito lotion
Gunny sack with cooking utensils
Length of mosquito netting
One army pup tent
diary book
.22 caliber rifle, single shot
Waterproof match container
One-gallon water bag
One tin pail
Rod and reel
Smoked glasses
Length of small rope
Personal toilet articles
First aid kit
Heavy wool underwear for sleeping
Travelors’ checks, five dollars in cash
Heavy sweater apiece (excellent as pillows)
Swimming suits
Felt hats with wide brims
Frying pan
Camera films
Maps, army compass
Cooking grate
Two small kettles with loop handles
High boots
Two tin cups
Many pairs of wool socks
Three pie tins for plates
Breeches, plus long trousers
Wool shirt, cotton shirt apiece
Tablespoons, not teaspoons
Steel wool to clean pans

Source: Sevareid, Eric. Canoeing with the Cree, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul. Reprint Edition, 1968. pages 8-9

It’s been a long time since I read that book. If I remember correctly, they ate mostly macaroni and cheese and actually gained weight by the end of the trip.

They ate a lot of fish and what waterfowl they could shoot. Had Mac and cheese been invented in the 30s?

As recently as the last five years, at least two groups have re-traced this epic paddling trip, two young guys, and two young ladies…don’t know that any mac’ and cheese has repeated the trip yet…

Yep, the olden days, when everyone used the same gear. Great book. Eric went on to become one of the leading CBS TV News Reporters of our time. One of the elite war correspondents of his day. Yeah great book. Also get by Dillon Wallaces’, “Lure of the Labrador WIld” about the ill fated Hubbard canoe expedition about 1903. EPIC!

Reading it reminded me of The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark. Great stories of the life I dreamed of as a boy.

@string said:
They ate a lot of fish and what waterfowl they could shoot. Had Mac and cheese been invented in the 30s?

Made me look…You are right - I couldn’t find any reference to mac and cheese (or weight gain) in that book. Must have been another book, another group, another trip…

passinthru, I think you are thinking of a book called ‘Distant Fires’. Two teens wanted to replicate the trip from Canoeing with the Cree. I believe it took place in the 90s. This one is also worth reading!

awdriven - I think you are right. That book title sounds familiar. I think I read it once but no longer have the book to check my memory.