Skip to main content

Polar explorer's next trek: Recreating Roosevelt's rainforest trip by canoe

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A famed Polar explorer has identified his next journey: to the wilds of the jungle in the Southern Hemisphere.

Paul Schurke, 58, of Ely co-led the 1986 Steger International Polar Expedition and has traveled thousands of miles by dog team. The Duluth News Tribune reports that Schurke and fellow Ely adventurer Dave Freeman, a Boundary Waters canoe guide, departed on Friday to begin a jungle journey that will recreate the famed trip down the Amazon that almost cost Theoodore Roosevelt his life a century ago. Roosevelt's expedition, devoted to science, mapping and hunting, cost three members of his 19-person party their lives.

The Minnesota pair, along with five Brazilian paddlers, plan to traverse the famed “River of Doubt” — or Rio Roosevelt — for 400 miles through the Brazilian rainforest this summer. Although Freeman and Schurke’s party will have aluminum canoes and a satellite phone, they expect to encounter many of the challenges that Roosevelt’s party faced in 1913-14— dangerous rapids, poisonous snakes and a generally inhospitable environment.

They're not alone in paying homage to Roosevelt's journey. The San Diego Union Times reports that a scientific expedition from the University of California San Diego will retrace Roosevelt's trip. It will be led by materials engineer Marc Meyers, who is a native of Brazil. The research focus will be on changes in flora and fauna. Meyers is collaborating with an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker who specializes in travelogues; they are discussing the use of a small, camera-toting drone to film canopy and terrain.

Minnesota explorer Dave Freeman told the Duluth newspaper that the remote rainforest region remains mysterious a century after Roosevelt's trip.

“There’s very little known about the river,” he said. “We don’t have detailed information about the rapids. We’re using satellite imagery. And it’s going to be difficult just having this team of Brazilians and Americans. Many of them are quite fluent in English, but there will be some language barriers and cultural differences.”

Freeman and his wife Amy recently completed an 11,700-mile kayak, canoe and dogsledding expedition across North America, followed by 85,000 students as they traveled. The two were named among National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year for 2014.

For more information and to follow the progress of the Rio Roosevelt Centennial Expedition, go to wildernessclassroom.com.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.29.58 AM

Extremely drunk driver arrested in Chaska

The driver was more than four times the legal limit.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 8.21.21 AM

Stillwater police looking for suspect who stole vehicle with 1-year-old inside

The suspect abandoned the vehicle with the child still inside just 5 minutes after the theft.

Related