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Ann Raiho - A 2,000-mile journey by paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay


Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren are childhood friends who in 2011 became the first women to paddle 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 has gone on to write a book about this journey - Hudson Bay Bound - Two Women, One Dog, Two Thousand Miles to the Arctic.

Today we hear the story from Ann’s perspective.

Ann in her own words:

I grew up outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. While I was in high school, I went to a canoeing camp in the summer called YMCA Camp Menogyn. Natalie and I met the summer of 2007 on a 50-day canoe trip in Nunavut, Canada. Then, by coincidence, we went to college together at St. Olaf College in southern Minnesota.

I majored in mathematics with a minor in environmental studies. But, mostly I was interested in playing a lot of ultimate frisbee and worrying about climate change. Natalie and I were having trouble finding jobs after college. We decided that this would be the perfect time to go on a longer canoe trip.

In the summer of 2011, we paddled 2,000 miles in 85 days to Hudson Bay. During the trip, we both had a lot of time to think about what we wanted to do next. I decided to pursue a career as an ecologist and after the trip got my master's in ecology from Colorado State followed by my Ph.D. in Biology from Notre Dame.

My dissertation work focuses on connecting field-collected paleoecological data with predictive models. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State working for the National Park Service in Alaska. I use my skills in mathematics and statistics to understand nature's complexities. Specifically, I identify landscape types in Alaska that may be robust to accelerating climate changes.

My early experiences with long-distance canoeing have given me the ability to persist through hard research tasks and a passion for preserving the wilderness by improving our knowledge of the importance of nature.


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Show notes

  • Who is Ann

  • Family life and growing up

  • Spending time outdoors

  • Having access to a cabin in the wilderness

  • Her dreams as a little girl and wanting to go on crazy adventures

  • Getting into canoeing

  • Being inspired at YMCA Camp Menogyn

  • Deciding to go on a big adventure and challenge

  • January 2011 and graduating from college

  • Planning and preparation for the trip

  • Equipment and paying for the trip

  • Building a website

  • Spending 85 days together on the river

  • The biggest challenge on the expedition

  • Resolving disagreements

  • Figuring out how to make decisions

  • The plan for writing a book after the journey

  • Sending the journals from the trip…

  • Picking up a stray dog for the trip

  • 2011 and recreating the journey and meeting people along the way

  • Lessons learned from the adventure

  • How canoeing is still a part of her life

  • Advice for other women who want to get into canoeing

  • The power of believing in yourself