Woman to Paddle 2,400km From Minneapolis to Hudson Bay

Later this spring, Madison Eklund will leave on a four-month, 2,400km solo kayaking expedition from Minnesota north to Hudson Bay.

Eklund's route will begin in Minneapolis, Minn. and end in Hudson Bay in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Image: M. Eklund

Eklund’s route will begin in Minneapolis, Minn., and end in Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba. Image: M. Eklund

2022 Hudson Bay kayak expedition

Eklund will set out from Minneapolis, cross through Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and span most of the length of Manitoba.

“This expedition will take me from urban city, to sprawling midwestern prairies and farmland, up to the Canadian backcountry, and into the subarctic taiga along the Hudson Bay,” she wrote.

During her journey from Minneapolis to South Dakota, Eklund will paddle 515km up the Minnesota River. She will cross Lake Winnipeg and eventually reach York Factory, Manitoba, on the shores of Hudson Bay.

The sparsely populated route abounds in rich indigenous history. She intends to host several river cleanup rallies along the way and has partnered with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality to collect water samples.

Route history

The route was first charted in 1930 by Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port. The pair later documented their journey in Canoeing with the Cree. Sevareid and Port’s objective was to follow the historic Hudson Bay Company fur-trading routes.

Eklund notes on her adventure site, Expedition Alpine, that only a handful of people have followed Sevareid and Port’s in the near-century since their expedition.

The first documented repeat, by Sean Bloomfield and Colton Witte, occurred in 2008 by canoe. Their journey took a northern variation on the original route, via the Hayes River to access Hudson Bay, whereas Sevareid and Port had taken God’s River, which traverses Manitoba.

In 2011, Natalie Warren and Ana Raiho became the first women to complete the Minneapolis to Manitoba trip. The pair followed Bloomfield and Witte’s Hayes River variation and also traveled by canoe.

Eklund bills herself as a lifelong outdoor enthusiast who has benefited from the knowledge and experience of those around her. She began Expedition Alpine in 2019 with the goal of providing a trustworthy educational resource to the outdoors and to serve as a catchall for her personal trip reports.

For trip reports, updates, and more, head to expeditionalpine.com and follow Eklund on Facebook and Instagram.

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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