Preparing to canoe the Rio Roosevelt



On Friday Paul  Schurke and I will get on an airplane in Duluth, Minnesota and fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil.  We are busy organizing and packing our equipment for our trip. We will spend over 6 weeks in Brazil. We will be exploring the Amazon Rainforest. We will spend over a month canoeing down the Rio Roosevelt, or Roosevelt River. Rio means river in Portuguese. Most people in Brazil speak Portuguese. The 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, paddled this river one hundred years ago. The river was named in his honor. Between now and the end of June we will be posting photos, daily data, videos, blog entries and other information.

Dave Freeman and Paul Schurke in a canoe on White Iron Lake

Dave and Paul canoeing on White Iron Lake shortly before heading to Brazil.

Since this is our first update I want to tell you about what we are doing to prepare for our Amazonian expedition. Our team is made up of two Americans, Paul Schurke and myself, Dave Freeman, and 5 Brazilians. When we get to Brazil we will introduce you to the rest of our team members. This will be Paul’s first trip to Brazil and his first visit to a tropical rainforest. Paul is an Arctic explorer and dogsledder. He has been to the North Pole by dogsled many times. He just returned from a trip to Greenland where he dogsledded with the Inuit people from the Northern most village in the world. The rainforest will be different for him and he is excited to learn about the rainforest and explore a new place.

I have been to the Amazon Rainforest many times. It is one of my favorite places on earth because it is very biodiverse. I love learning about new plants and animals. I have never been to the Rio Roosevelt and I am looking forward to exploring the river.  I am also looking forward to meeting new people.  The headwaters of the Rio Roosevelt are home to the Cinta Larga. The Cinta Larga are an indigenous group of people that have their own language and traditions. I think it will be very interesting to learn about the Cinta Larga and other people living along the Rio Roosevelt.  If you have questions you would like us to ask the Cinta Larga, or other people we meet, you can email your questions to us.


Paul and I have been spending a lot of time organizing our clothing and equipment for the Rio Roosevelt Centennial Expedition.


Dave Freeman's clothing and personal items for the Rio Roosevelt Expedition

Most of Dave’s clothing and shelter and personal items laid out on the floor ready to pack into dry bags.

Below is a complete list of all of the clothing and personal items that Dave will bring to Brazil. What would you bring and why? Make your own list and explain why you are bringing each item. Remember that you have to carry everything you bring around dozens of rapids and waterfalls along the Rio Roosevelt– and  some of the portages are over a mile long. A portage is when you carry your canoes and equipment around a rapids or obstacle.


Sea to Summit Specialist Solo Tent
Hennessy Deep Jungle Hammock
Hennessy insulating pad
Sea to Summit Cool Max Adaptor Traveller sleeping bag liner

Small Items:

Sea to Summit micro fiber travel towel
Sea to Summit Hand Cleaning Gel
Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash soap
Adventure Medical Kits Bath Wipes
Bug spray x 4
toothbrush and tooth paste
Multi vitamins
Gold Bond Powder
SOL survival pack
Chapstick with sunscreen
Sunscreen x 3
Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp
Petzl  Tikka XP headlamp
LifeStraw (water purification)
Klean Kanteen 40oz water bottle
Sea to Summit Delta Spork and Bowl
Thin rope (40 feet)

ExOfficio Nio Amphi Shorts
ExOfficio Nomad Pants
ExOfficio Nio Amphi Pants
ExOfficio  Sol Cool Long-Sleeve Tee
ExOfficio  Baja Sur Long Sleeve Shirt
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Underwear x 2
ExOfficio Purdom Venter Hiker Socks x 2
ExOfficio Cape Hat
ExOfficio Sol Cool Neck Gaiter
ExOfficio Short Sleeve Tee
ExOfficio Rain Logic Jacket
Original Bug Shirt
Tennis shoes
Rubber boots

Paddling equipment:

Mitchell canoe paddle x 2
MTI  Adventurewear Slipstream Life Jacket
North Water throw bag

Plus we have a wide range of cameras, Goal Zero solar panels and batteries, a Delorme InReach that we will use to update a map with our location and send tweets and short messages, a Iridium GO! Satellite terminal, an Ipad, Iphone, Samsung tablet and all the cords and cables we need to charge and use all of the electronics that we will use to communicate with you. We store most of the electronics in Pelican dry boxes to keep them safe and dry.

Cameras and other technology for the Rio Roosevelt Expedition

We have organized all of the cameras and equipment that we will use to document and share our journey down the Rio Roosevelt. We will produce all of the power that we need with our GoalZero solar panels.

Luckily our Brazilian team members are organizing all of the food. Our team of  7 people will eat over 450 pounds of food during the expedition. We hope to catch some fish to eat and find some edible plants to try, but we have to bring most of our food with us because there are no towns along the 400 miles of the river we will explore.


Equipment waiting to be packed for the Rio Roosevelt Expedition

We are organizing all of our equipment. All of Dave’s personal items and most of the technology are in the green, 90 Liter Sea to Summit backpack.

Cast YOUR Vote!

During our first week in Brazil we will be in the Sao Paulo area preparing for our trip and exploring the area. Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and the 7th largest city in the world. There are many things we could do in the city of Sao Paulo and the surrounding area. We need you to vote and decide what we should do.  The option that gets the most votes is what Paul and I will go and explore. We will report back to you about what we learn.


Here are three things we could study:

  1. We could hike and paddle in the Atlantic Forest and learn about the plants and animals that live there.  The Atlantic Forest is a unique biome in that is very biodiverse, but also very threatened.  Many of the plants and animals that live there are found nowhere else on earth.
  2. We could paddle in and explore the mangroves and ocean. There are mangroves along the ocean near Sao Paulo and we could go and learn about the mangroves and  the ocean.
  3. We could explore the city of Sao Paulo and learn about what it is like to live in one of the largest cities in the world.

What should we study while we are in the Sao Paulo area?

  • Atlantic Forest (58%, 102 Votes)
  • Mangroves and Ocean (32%, 57 Votes)
  • Explore the city (10%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 177

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Dave’s Dilemma: How can we get to know our team members?


Paul and I are very excited to go to Brazil and meet the other members of our team.  We have been emailing and Skype-ing with our new Brazilian friends, but we do not know them very well. We are about to spend over a month with them in the middle of the Amazon and we are trying to figure out what we can do to get to know them better. We will have a couple of days in Sao Paulo to prepare for the journey with most of the team and then we will spend 3 days driving together to get to the Rio Roosevelt.  Do you know of games we could play, or activities we can do with our new friends to help us get to know each other and become a close-knit team?

Send us your answers. We are counting on you for help.


Keep Exploring!






Paul and I have also been trying to learn Brazilian Portuguese. It is hard to learn a new language, but we are trying to learn a few words each day. Here are a few of the things we have learned how to say.


Bom dia!
Hello! / Good morning!
Boa tarde!
Good afternoon!
Boa noite!
Good evening! / Good night!
Tchau!Bye! Por favor.
Até mais.
See you / See you later.
Até logo.
See you soon.
Até amanhã.
See you tomorrow.
(Muito) Obrigado.  
Thank you (very much).
Não há de quê.
You’re welcome. / Don’t mention it.





  1. amazed 5th grader
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    wow thats a LOTS of stuff how are you going to bring that stuff

  2. Kim Zimmer
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Good luck Dave! We will be following you on this amazing adventure and wish you nothing but the safest and most successful journey!!

  3. Kim Zimmer
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Good luck Dave and Paul! We will be following you on this amazing adventure and wish you nothing but the safest and most successful journey!!

  4. Bernardo Vaccaro
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Boa noite amigos. Estou aqui acompanhando a sua publicaçāo e desejo boa sorte. Cristalina está enviando dois dos seus melhores remadores. Gostaria que incluisse o meu e-mail, e me enviasse fotos e notícias diariamente.

  5. Bernardo Vaccaro
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Vamos acompanhar a espedição diariamente. Uma aventura emocionante, boa sorte remadores estamos na espectativa ….

  6. Mrs. Bickel's Class
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    We think you should come up with a topic to all discuss. Then everyone can answer. It’s kind of like a game to get to know each other.

  7. Marianne & Jim
    Posted May 19, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Have a safe journey. We look forward to hearing about your exciting adventure.

  8. Posted May 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Entrevistei o Eurico, um dos integrantes dessa incrível expedição, para o site e estou à espera de qualquer notícia que vocês possam mandar. Boa sorte a todos.

  9. Antonio Morel
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Dear Paul and Dave
    welcome to Brazil!

    Dear Paul and Dave
    Welcome to Brazil!

    You are a very lucky guys because you will live during these days with a very special person, a great friend , he is Norberto Lessa Dias.
    I will follow this adventure at this site.
    best regards
    Antonio Morel ( Gravataí city, south of Brazil )

  10. Helena Morel
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Norberto, desejo que esta expedição seja de muito sucesso, uma bela aventura! Eu gostaria que as postagens fossem também em portugues para acompanharmos. Desejo uma boa viagem à toda equipe. 25.05.2014- Gravatai-RS Brasil

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