A storm comes over a canola field north of Saskatoon. (Photo: Dana Meise)
For Meise, the missing trail sections meant making a number of detours along his trip. But detours are often part of the story that makes up a country he arguably knows better than anyone. The meandering trail is actually designed to connect beauty, community and history, and often gets diverted from the most logical route.
In order to guide his way and track his progress, he used a couple of different GPS systems. One of them connects to his website so people can track his progress as he hikes. But this doesn’t mean he hasn’t been lost — there are many overgrown and unmarked parts of the trail.
Nonetheless, he’s made it from the easternmost point of the country at Cape Spear, N.L., to the southernmost on Middle Island in Point Pelee, Ont. This year, he plans to complete the hat trick by touching the Alaskan border that marks the westernmost extreme. He’ll pick up the northern fork of the trail near Edmonton this summer and hopes to complete it by reaching Inuvik, N.W.T. by the end of the season. He’s spent his last few birthdays on the trail and reaching the Arctic Circle by his 40th is the best present he could hope for.
“I always wanted to explore. I’ve got one short life and I’m doing it while I can.”
For more on Dana Meise’s journey, watch videos from his trip, including the one below, where Meise watched two cubs playing when their mother came along.