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Canoeing with the Cree

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4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  692 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
In 1930 two novice paddlers--Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port--launched a secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling for an ambitious summer-long journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes, and difficult portages. Nearly four months late ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 15th 2005 by Borealis Books (first published 1968)
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Geoff Wyss
Jun 03, 2010 Geoff Wyss rated it really liked it
If I were going to recommend a nature-adventure book for adults, I'd definitely recommend 'Kon-Tiki' over 'Canoeing with the Cree.' The former can get preachy at times, but it's often beautifully written (this one's not), it's coherent(this one isn't), and it's got a sense of historical context (again not true of 'Cree'). But this book is going to be perfect for my English III classes, the quarter on the theme of nature.

'Cree' isn't trying to be a nature book, which is why it's going to work we
...more
Lush
Aug 15, 2007 Lush rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens and adults
Facing high school graduation, a couple of teens decide to spend their summer on an epic adventure prior to starting college and careers. Their goal: canoe from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay.

Only 17 years old at the time, Eric Sevareid convinced not only his mother to let him go, but also a local newspaper to fund part of the adventure in return for periodic updates on their progress. Much of the route was uncertain, and they had to rely on the local population to help them find their way.

I'd
...more
Desiree
Jan 14, 2013 Desiree rated it it was amazing
Great nonfiction read aloud! My children and I really enjoyed it.
Marie Carmean
Oct 10, 2016 Marie Carmean rated it really liked it
I cannot say how happy I am that this book found its way back into print! What a fascinating testament to the tenacity of youth. Two young men just out of high school decide that summer in the 1920s to canoe 2,250 miles from Minnesota to Hudson Bay. Almost everyone they meet tells them it can't be done; that they are foolish to go that far. Yet, they are determined to see this through, and see it through they do! They were likely the first men to do so....if there was a trapper in the far reachi ...more
Pris robichaud
Jan 03, 2009 Pris robichaud rated it it was amazing
And, They Said It Couldn't Be Done, June 26, 2008
"Eric Sevareid made his name as a CBS news correspondent. But at a young age, Sevareid experienced an adventure most only dream of. Sevareid detailed the journey in his book "Canoeing with the Cree". Now to mark the 75th anniversary of Sevareid's journey, two Minnesota men plan to make the same trip." Tim Post

In 1930 two young men paddled their way from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in Canada. A trip of 2200 miles. Everyone told them it could not be
...more
Lisa Kearns
Jun 24, 2013 Lisa Kearns rated it it was amazing
This is one of those old books that is "rediscovered" when it's re-released, bringing it to the attention and admiration of a whole new generation. Originally published in the 1930s as newspaper columns written during the trip, this is one of those books you'll remember long after you've read it.

Eric and Walt, high school seniors, plan and dream about taking a record-setting canoe trip after they graduate. They set out with a used canoe, basic clothes and minimal food and just a few dollars betw
...more
Kurt
Dec 29, 2009 Kurt rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy true wilderness adventure stories.
Always a big fan of true outdoor adventure stories, I was especially intrigued when I heard about this one because the author, who was only 17 at the time, was someone whose name was well-known to me. Eric Sevareid was a long-time reporter and anchorman for one of the national news networks during the 60's and 70's.

Canoeing with the Cree is the story of Sevareid and his friend, Walter Port, both teenagers, who decide to spend the summer of 1930 canoeing all the way from their home in Minneapolis
...more
Kyle
Oct 18, 2011 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Fun, easy-to-read true story about Eric and Walter, two Minnesota boys who canoe from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada. Sevareid shares the boys experiences fighting wilderness, river currents, unexpected situations like injuries or weather as well as the people they meet and see along the way. Reading Canoeing with the Cree is a joy because you already know that Eric and Walter are going to make it to Hudson Bay, so it's more about experiencing how the journey unfolds--not to sa ...more
Karen
Aug 19, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it
This is a quiet book, a fast read. Severeid wrote it from his teen age journal, only 5 years after he and his friend did the trip. I am familiar with about two thirds of the journey of 2200 or so miles, and he really makes it sound easier than it was. I am rather astonished that a) his parents let him go at age 17, and b) they actually lived through the last 500 miles as the cold weather was coming. But what a wonderful adventure! With no modern materials or equipment, with woolen clothes and wo ...more
Sally Atwell Williams
When Eric Sevareid graduated from high school in Minnesota, he and a good friend decided to take the summer and canoe from Minneapolis, MN to Hudson Bay, via the rivers going north. Everyone told them they were crazy, but they got themselves equipped and started out. It is quite a saga - including meeting wonderful people on the way; coming way too close to death a couple of times, and being advised by the men they met in Canada, that the rivers coming into Hudson Bay would be frozen and that th ...more
Bill
May 06, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-reading
I really enjoyed this book. 2250 miles in a canoe - a great adventure and a book worth reading. I can't add much that isn't already perfectly described in this book.

At the start of the trip during a brief stay in Fargo, North Dakota, a friend and doctor named Frederick Gronvold sets the boys on their journey in a proper frame of mind. "Don't let anyone, no matter who he is, convince you that your trip can't be completed. You have youth and strength, and courage too, I hope, and with a little co
...more
Debbie
Jul 15, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it
This is a story of a youthful adventure back when that term meant something, and as such it is cool. It's well written enough, and steers clear of the deadly reefs of endless introspection and rhapsodic descriptions (by teenagers) of nature.

It's also cool as a time capsule. Who wouldn't love hearing people gripe about the exorbitant price of candy bars (2 for a quarter!) and gasoline (50 cents a gallon!) up North? Most striking for me was that the trip almost ended early on when Severeid's comp
...more
Janice
Aug 06, 2011 Janice rated it really liked it
I remember Eric Sevareid as a journalist for CBS for many years. However, this book was written many years before his TV career began, in 1930, when he was only 17 years old. At that young age he and his best friend, 19 year old Walt, leave their home town of Minneapolis in a canvas canoe, with supplies they hope will last through a 2250 mile trip that will end at Hudson Bay on the Atlantic. As far as they knew, they were the first people to attempt this trip, with only their paddles and muscle ...more
Barbara Mader
Oct 03, 2013 Barbara Mader rated it really liked it
This was a fine book for whiling away my recent flight to Minnesota. Basically a worked-up account taken from journals and newspaper articles filed enroute, it is the true account of two young Minnesota adventurers, aged 17 and 19, who, in 1930, paddled rivers from Fort Snelling in Saint Paul, Minnesota, down to southern and western Minnesota, up to Canada, and finally reached Hudson Bay--a 2,250-mile trip. One of these young men was Eric Severeid, who became a renowned journalist and CBS news c ...more
Susan Emmet
Jul 10, 2015 Susan Emmet rated it really liked it
Getting to the meat and bone of things...that's what I remember about Eric Sevareid as a journalist.
And that's what this cobbled-together story tells of meat and bones, and sometimes only hardtack. And hard paddling and youthful hope.
The Minneapolis Star paid Sevareid and friend Walter Port a whopping $100 to canoe from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay (oveer 2000 miles) and they did it, with some help, much pluck and youthful pride, and a heap of just plain determination. They sent their written "colu
...more
JoDean
May 07, 2012 JoDean rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a good, true adventure story.
Reading this book was a delight for many different reasons only one of which was the adventure story of two teens navigating waterways from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay during the summer of 1930. The author/adventurer, Eric, made use of references to Hugo, Browning, Ballantyne and more that made me ache for education of the past. The other thing that impressed me was the overall manners and decency of the two boys - some Polish girls from a settlement along the way happened upon Eric waiting in the ...more
Tim
A simply told account of two teenagers travels in the rugged Canadian Wilderness via canoe, but most inspiring to read about. While this would still be a very difficult journey today, the remoteness of the region the author and his accomplice travelled though in 1930 is somewhat less so today, but not much. It would still be a difficult journey today...when the author made the trip, with rudimentary equipment and little communication, it was definitely a heroic feat.
Doug
Jun 15, 2013 Doug rated it it was amazing
I have always loved adventure books so Canoeing with the Cree was probably destined for five stars before I even opened it. Having read the book now, I can honestly say it earned every star. Of all the books in this genre that I've read, none we're written from the perspective of a 22-year-old. Sevareid's ability to weave a coherent story from the sparse journal he kept during the trip kept me spellbound. Whether it was his observations of a different canoeing stroke, relations between whites an ...more
Valeria Wicker
Mar 15, 2011 Valeria Wicker rated it liked it
Inspiring; makes you want to pick up a paddle and go somewhere. This would make a great book for middle schoolers because it's not on too difficult a level and the adventure will keep their attention. It's also a very innocent coming-of-age story that any parent would approve of. An adventure memoir about a self-prescribed right-of-passage, the two boys ultimately discover their ability to survive through strength, perseverence, careful planning, and reaching out for help when needed. I decided ...more
Gail Lipe
Nov 20, 2013 Gail Lipe rated it liked it
Imagine two teenagers paddling a canoe from Minneapolis to the Hudson Bay without the benefits of GPS, cell phones or tracking systems. That is what Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port chose to do in 1930.

The book is a well-written journal outlining their adventure. It also speaks about the time in history and people’s reactions to each other. For example, the boys gathered letters of introduction along the way, which at the time, were an important part of validating them and their mission.

My expec
...more
Sue
Oct 28, 2011 Sue rated it it was amazing
In 1930, two teenagers, just graduated from High School in Minneapolis MN, beging a 4 month, 2250 mile journey by canoe from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Traveling with equipment that by today's standards are antiquated and heavy, they paddle their way through many areas that were uncharted with almost no population, little communication with family, braving the changing weather, and succeeding! An incredible journey that gives us insight into what it was like in the 1930's to undertake. One of th ...more
Randy
Aug 26, 2014 Randy rated it it was amazing
This was a book I first read in 2008 and read again in 2014 for a book group discussion. Although it contains a few minor errors, this was one of those accounts of two young men on an adventure. They admit they could not tell all to the financial supporters, the Minneapolis Star newspaper, not the parents because those back home would be too worried. Taking place in 1930 the communication systems were in place in Minnesota and they would be greeted and supported by many generous people along the ...more
Lynn
Jun 21, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
"There is a cleanliness, a breadth and sweep and strength in the north, a purifying realization that one is living close to the fundamental elements of life. Yes, the north has a spell". So wrote Eric Severeid during the epic journey that he and Walter Port took by canoe after their high school graduation in 1930. The goal was to go from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, over 2,250 miles. The journey took them 14 weeks and was a life-changing event for both young men. This is a book I just re-read and ...more
Eric
Nov 14, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing
This is a quick, very entertaining read that captures your imagination and holds it for the entire 2250 miles of an arduous and often treacherous journey undertaken by two high school graduates in 1930. Even 85 years later, with vastly improved equipment and technology, I can't imagine two 18 year olds being able to complete such an undertaking. It certainly reads as though it were written by a high schooler, but the story is so riveting you don't really mind that at all. It actually adds to the ...more
Anne Rasset
Feb 23, 2015 Anne Rasset rated it really liked it
I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this. Originally written in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree is a firsthand account of a trip from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in 1930, possibly the first of its kind. Who hasn't thought of such an adventure, and who among us has actually followed through? These sorts of things always sound well and good, and the result is usually that the trip never happens, or fails spectacularly. In the case of Eric and Walt, the result was success--to the great surprise ...more
stefan
Nov 16, 2009 stefan rated it liked it
I wonder a bit what this book would have been like if written by the other paddler, whose combination of excitement and cool and humility (maybe I'm projecting) seems a bit more my taste. A classic adventure tale, a document (if prejudiced) of Cree living 80 years ago in wild Canada, and sure, an impressive adventure. But every other line seems like a heroic of blindly lucky escape from certain death. The author went on to become an award-winning TV journalist and Paris-based newspaper editor. T ...more
Susan Fetterer
Aug 12, 2011 Susan Fetterer rated it it was amazing
In 1930 Eric Sevareid and his high school buddy embarked on a canoe trip which began at Fort Snelling on the Minnesota River and ended in Hudson Bay a full month later than anticipated. Paddling for three months was the plan but having countless delays and problems, they barely made it to their destination before the waterway iced over. Their inexperience was nearly their undoing multiple times. The Minneapolis newspaper partially funded the trip and expected periodic update on their progress... ...more
Jan C
Jul 02, 2011 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: canoe enthusiasts
Shelves: biography, travel, 2013
Enjoyable read. The late newsman, Eric Severeid, and a friend decide to take a canoe trip after they graduate from high school. Hey, I did the same thing. Except that I just went p to Boundary Waters with a church group while Eric and Walt canoed from Minnesota to Hudson's Bay. Great adventure. I think their total trip was 2,250 miles. And dveryone told them they couldn't do it. They couldn't canoe this lake or this river. But then they did it. I think at one point they canoed a rapids that was ...more
Jc
Feb 10, 2012 Jc rated it really liked it
A great true-adventure tale. The young Eric Sevareid, fresh out or high school, decides it would be fun to go on a canoe trip -- from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay, about 2250 miles! He and his equally young companion have no experience or training in long distance wilderness canoeing, or really any canoeing, so part of the adventure is them learning the hard way how to survive in unknown territory. Their trip speaks of a time we can never return to. A must read for any lover of canoeing, kayaki ...more
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