Submitted by Steven Rigby -Columbia and Western Trail Society
Dana Meise will soon to be the first Canadian to have walked across the Trans-Canada Trail.
The Thunder Bay, Ont. man, originally from Prince George, B.C., is in the sixth year of his journey to solo hike the entire 23,000-kilometre length of the Trans-Canada Trail – east to west, north to south.
“I hope to be in Victoria in mid December and in 2015 I hope to reach Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories,” said Meise, who reached Castlegar on Oct. 27.
Meise can already claim to be the first person to have hiked to Canada’s easternmost point – Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador – and to its most southern point at Lake Erie’s Middle Island.
Meise has walked from Cranbrook over one of the highest points on the Trans-Canada Trail, the Gray Creek Pass which already had a foot of snow in October. “It usually takes three to four days but I hiked 63 Km in one 15 hour day, I don’t know how I did it,” said Meise.
But every step of the way has been worth it for the 39-year-old forestry technologist. He said his goal to learn more about Canada and its people from every corner of the country has been an amazing experience.
“I had no idea how astounding and cool Canada is,” said Meise.
The cross-Canada hike along the Trans-Canada Trail began in 2008. That year, Meise walked 1,750 kilometres, followed by 2,450 in 2009, another 3,215 the next year, 2,450 in 2011 and 2,750 last year. When he arrived in Castlegar last week he estimated he had hiked 3,200 kilometres this year since setting off from Saskatoon on June 6.
He would have gone further each year but for three of them he was injured with a case of plantar fasciitis, a painful condition caused by the overuse of tendons on the backside of his feet.
“Castlegar has more art than anywhere I have ever seen,” said Meise in regard to the popular local Sculpturewalk attraction. “I like the views of the mountains and rivers, the trails here are beautiful, I’ve have met wonderful people here” stated the hiker.
His trip is not over yet as he plans to walk the Columbia and Western Rail Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail onwards to Victoria this year.
Next year Meise will begin the final portion of his journey when he sets off from Fort Saskatchewan and heads up to Canada’s Arctic.
He will hike all the way to Inuvik, and then take a canoe to Tuktoyaktuk.
“When I said I was hiking through all of Canada I really meant it,” said Meise, who is planning on a documentary film and book, The Great Hike – A very long walk on the Trans-Canada Trail for 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday. “It’s a big project.”