Minnesota man to set out on canoe journey with 1905 gear


A Minnesota man is setting out on a journey to canoe the Labrador Passage in Canada. But there's a catch – he's ditching his nearly indestructible synthetic canoe for a handmade cedar and canvas one.

This summer, Peter Marshall, a native of St. Cloud, plans to retrace the path of one of the most famous canoe sagas in paddling history – the Hubbard Expedition, the Independent Filmmaker Project of Minnesota says.

In 1905, Mina Hubbard, traveling with four guides and two canoes, ventured into one of the last unmapped parts of North America – from present-day Happy Valley, Canada to Ungava Bay, Canada (which runs roughly parallel to the North Atlantic coast – see the dotted black line on the map below). Hubbard attempted to follow the same route that claimed the life of her husband two years earlier, according to Wisconsin Outdoor Fun.

"My intention for this trip is not to kind of do the next great challenge or the next great canoe feat. It had much more to do with the curiosity I had for exploring old ways of travel, and just interest in the way people did it 100 years ago before nylon, Gore-Tex, plastic everything," Marshall, 31, told the St. Cloud Times.

With the exception of communications equipment, cameras, life jackets and a first aid kit, Marshall will only use the gear that Mina Hubbard would have used like waxed canvas tents, tin-cloth rain gear, hand-forged tools and hand-sewn wool apparel – everything he plans to use was handmade by local craftspeople, according to the project's website.

For the trip, Marshall has teamed up with Andrew Morris, 27, a Chicago native and a professional guide with training in primitive skills, Canoe and Kayak says. The most time they've spent together is eight days primitive camping – they've allotted 50 days to cover the 600-mile journey, but Marshall thinks it'll take them about 45 days, the St. Cloud Times notes.

They plan to document it all in a new film, the Labrador Passage, which is co-produced by Twin Cities Public Television.

Twin Cities Public Television isn't covering their expenses, so Marshall and Morris are raising money for their journey to help pay for travel to and from Canada, according to their Indiegogo campaign.

As of Sunday, their campaign had raised $4,480 of their $5,500 goal. Marshall told the St. Cloud Times that post-production work on the film could cost as much as $65,000.

Marshall is no stranger to months-long canoeing adventures. Since he was 16, Marshall has paddled over 7,500 miles through remote areas of Canada and he's been on two expeditions that lasted over 120 days, according to Filson.

Marshall won the Expedition of the Year crown in the 2013 Canoe and Kayak Awards for his four-man, four-month, 2,6000-mile canoe journey across Canada's Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories, Canoe and Kayak says.

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