Sierra Designs athletes complete historic 2250-mile paddling route

ecoming the first all-female team to ever paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, Sierra Designs supported Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren finished the historic 2,250-mile route in 85 days

BOULDER, COLORADO -- Becoming the first all-female team to ever paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay, Sierra Designs supported Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren finished the historic 2,250-mile route in 85 days.

Labeled as the “Hudson Bay Bound” adventure, the trip was inspired by the fur trade route outlined in the 1930 novel Canoeing with the Cree. Raiho and Warren were struck by the fact the trip had never been completed by an all-women's team, and saw a potential journey as a way to inspire other women to plan and embark on their own multi-day adventures.

“We hoped that our trip would bring awareness and inspiration to women who do go on …or want to go on wilderness canoeing adventures. We did make it, so the first part of our goal is fulfilled. Now we will work at spreading our story to inspire other people to get out there,” said Raiho during a post-adventure interview.

Raiho and Warren were not only the first women's team to complete the arduous journey, but also were the fourth team ever to complete the trip.

Raiho and Warren left Minneapolis on June 2, and reached York Factory in Hudson Bay on August 25. In total, 70 days were spent canoeing, including 7 wind-bound days on Lake Winnipeg. The journey included 3 weeks on the Minnesota River, 2 weeks on the Red River, 18 days on Lake Winnipeg and 18 days for the final stretch which included 4 layover days.

“Our biggest physical challenge was paddling upstream on the Minnesota while the river was in flood condition and the state was experiencing record high temperatures for June,” said Raiho. “However, our biggest emotional challenge was finishing Lake Winnipeg.”

Lake Winnipeg was the site of a rare error for the team, as Raiho and Warren made a navigational mistake near Poplar River and erroneously thought they were nearly finished with the journey.

“(On Lake Winnipeg) it was really discouraging to have to keep paddling into what seemed like a never-ending lake. When we finally did see the end of the lake … we both cried and then sang until our throats were raw. We knew at that moment we would probably make it to Hudson Bay because Lake Winnipeg was our largest obstacle,” added Raiho.

The Hudson Bay Bound team relied heavily on their Sierra Designs gear, including sleeping bags and the Meteor Lite 3 tent -- calling it perfect for every section of this journey.

“We spent 60 nights out of 80 in our tent. In the Minnesota heat, (the Meteor Lite 3) allowed us to stay cool at night. On Lake Winnipeg, it held up in any wind and was easy to take down if we had to move our camp quick. On the Hayes River, we were often camping near swamps, and we found that the tent could fit in any small spot. It was so easy to get up quickly when we got into camp late because it only has two poles and not very many steps in the set-up routine,” said Raiho.

About Sierra Designs

Founded in 1965 at the beginning of the golden age of backpacking and climbing, Sierra Designs draws on an extensive heritage to create innovative, technologically-advanced outdoor equipment to compliment any active, outdoor lifestyle. With years of experience designing best in class tents, sleeping bags, apparel, packs and gloves, Sierra Designs has been to every corner of the world, from the highest peaks in the Himalaya to the campground down the road. Whether you're an ultralight hiker, world-class mountaineer, or recreational camper, Sierra Designs has you covered. Visit us at Sierra Designs. Seek Adventure.