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The Adventures of Monty

Granite Falls

Hudson Bay Expedition comes through Granite Falls

By Daniel McGonigle-News Editor

Once these two put their minds to something, they are going to do it. Day 31 of a 2,250 mile canoe expedition which will take Scott Miller and Todd Foster from St. Cloud to Hudson Bay, saw the modern day explorers paddle their way into and through Granite Falls on the Minnesota River.

Held up a couple days in Redwood Falls because Todd was suffering some wrist problems, the explorers are a little behind schedule. No worries, however. They left some wiggle room later in the trip and expect to complete their journey by late August.

They have come a long way and seen a lot of things one-third of the way into their journey.

"On May 1st when we left it was snowing," said Miller. "We tipped into the rapids on the first day in the snow."

Todd and Scott were inspired to take the trip after reading "Canoeing with the Cree" by Eric Sevareid, a book that recounts Sevareid's trip with his friend Walter Port along the same route in 1930. 2005 marks the 75th anniversary of Sevareid and Port's trip.

"Planning actually began a couple of years ago," said Miller. "We work together at a winter camp and Todd had read the book "Canoeing with the Cree" and said 'we should do this.'"

Foster continues: "I read the book that night cover to cover and the next day called and said "let's do the trip."

Miller added: "I was looking for a full time job and I saw this as an excuse not to have to look any longer," he joked.

The timing was right for the pair to embark on such a journey.

"I live by the motto that if I believe I can do something then I am going to do it," said Miller. "This is like being a kid and reliving a Huck Finn adventure."

The pair plan to tell of their adventures by writing a book of their own about the experience. They are also keeping an up to date journal of their trip on-line at www.hudsonbayexpedition.com. They hadn't yet made an entry about their time in Granite Falls because the evening they spent here was a busy one.

Sevareid wrote of his experiences in these parts as follows:

"We passed the entrance of the Yellow Medicine River and then for twelve miles paddled on still water into Granite Falls, racing the clock in order to beat the closing hour for the grocery stores. Our camping spot was unique that night-a grassy bank right in the town's residential section."

While Miller and Foster didn't camp in the same spot that Sevareid and Port did, (they stayed at Memorial Park), the two did marvel at how friendly residents of this sleepy little river town have been.

"The people here have been very friendly," said Foster. "This was the first stretch we didn't have to paddle with a full canoe."

Seems the manager of the Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Terri Dinesen, helped the pair by driving their heavy, heavy supplies up stream for a stretch, giving them two days relief from carrying all their gear on-board their canoe.

The pair also had the opportunity to take a shower at the KCC and were challenged to a game of two-on-two water basketball, an opportunity that despite eight hours of paddling up a river, they didn't pass up.

The two enjoyed a meal at DeToy's and Todd joked about calling his wife as he was dining.

"My wife helped us pack enough food for 110 days," said Foster. "Yet she laughs because every time I call her I am eating at a local restaurant."

Journey continues

As Day 31 began, Foster and Miller again enjoyed a local restaurant in Granite Falls, Hardees. Dinesen delivered breakfast to the pair as the day was breaking and their camp was being disassembled. Several of the local faces that the pair had met had turned out to see them through this stretch of their journey.

The mayor brought them souvenir t-shirts of historic Granite Falls. Packs were loaded, laughs were shared, and contacts were put into the eyes through whom this journey will continue to be told up river.

Kevin Jensvold, the newly elected Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Upper Sioux Community, presented Miller and Foster with an item to help them along in their journey.

"Kevin gave us something to help us in times of danger, specifically as it relates to the weather," said Miller. "We are really going to appreciate that as we get up towards Lake Winnipeg."

Miller and Foster have contacted various tribes along their route.

"We wanted to make sure we asked first if we could go through their lands," said Foster. "We wanted to be respectful. Besides, it is ethical amongst canoeists to do that."

New friends

Two days before reaching Granite Falls was the longest day on the river for the adventurers. The pair spent 11 hours.

"It is nice to have some challenging days," said Miller.

As they left this location, their destination was Montevideo. One of the things the pair didn't expect was how beautiful the area is.

"Someone told us that this is like the boundary waters of southern Minnesota," said Miller.

"We didn't expect we'd see such interesting rock out croppings and landscape," added Foster. "Around every turn you see and experience something different."

According to their website: "The Mission of Hudson Bay Expedition 2005 is to experience and share the thrill of adventure, the power of living out your dreams and the beauty of our natural environment."

The objectives are:

*To celebrate the spirit of adventure and friendship exhibited in the book "Canoeing with the Cree".

* To examine how the rivers and lakes along the route have changed in 75 years and draw attention to their continuing beauty and efforts to preserve and restore them.

* To celebrate the lives of the diverse people who live along the rivers and lakes on our route.

* To provide educational opportunities about canoeing, wilderness, Minnesota, Canada and caring for the environment.

As their journey continues, the pair are sure to make more friends. The people of Granite Falls opened their arms and their homes to the explorers, and both parties benefited from the experience of having them come through the area.

Send us an email at paddlers@hudsonbayexpedition.com
Hudson Bay Expedition
1020 Co. Rd. 134
Saint Cloud, MN 56303

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