Teens Retrace Epic Canoe Trip Michele Norris talks to Colton Witte and Sean Bloomfield, two Minnesota teens who canoed 2,250 miles from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay to retrace journalist Eric Sevareid's 1930 trip. They were inspired by Sevareid's memoir, "Caneoing with the Cree."
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Teens Retrace Epic Canoe Trip

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Teens Retrace Epic Canoe Trip

Teens Retrace Epic Canoe Trip

Teens Retrace Epic Canoe Trip

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Sean Bloomfield (right) and Colton Witte at the end of their trip. Courtesy of Sean Bloomfield hide caption

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Courtesy of Sean Bloomfield

Sean Bloomfield (right) and Colton Witte at the end of their trip.

Courtesy of Sean Bloomfield

Colton Witte and Sean Bloomfield, two Minnesota teens, canoed 2,250 miles from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay to retrace journalist Eric Sevareid's 1930 trip. They were inspired by Sevareid's memoir, "Caneoing with the Cree."

"My dad actually gave me the book in seventh grade," Sean Bloomfield says. "He gave it to his dad and once he died, he got it back and he showed it to me.

"We'd been paddling since about fourth grade with our families and so I read the book and showed it to Colton and we just decided that we're just going to do it."

Their enthusiasm for the trip wasn't matched by their parents' reaction, they say.

"They pretty much said — yeah right," Colton Witte says. "The people who doubted us were definitely a big motivation."

Once they got started, however, they found encouragement in unexpected places.

"In Minnesota, we'd see signs along the river — a phone number or signs saying congratulations you've made it this far and wishing us the best of luck," Bloomfield says. "But occassionally (there would be) a phone number to call and we'd call them and they'd come down to the river and bring us cookies.

"Because basically we lived on our survival food. We didn't have snacks; we didn't have sweets. ... It was just stuff to get by."

And — there was pizza. They ordered four pizza, which they ate cold.

"After about a week and a half, mold started growing so we had to start picking the mold off and eating more of it so we ran out quicker," Witte says. "You're so hungry that mold doesn't really bother you."

The teens acknowledge there were several difficult moments, but many memorable ones, too.

"The most memorable one would be the first time we saw the bay," Witte says. "It's impossible to put words to but we just paddled from behind an island down at the end of the Hayes River and saw the bay for the first time. ... We looked at the ocean for a good minute or two and then hooped and hollered and congratulated each other and said we just can't believe we made it this far."