I’d never before met him, didn’t recognize the man when I walked up to him on the beach at Clover Point while he chatted animatedly with his female companion as she took his photo. Through the interference of my nerves, I asked whether I could join their conversation. Though I hadn’t heard the words, something about what they were discussing seemed interesting. In any event, it seemed interesting that he’d stood for his friend’s iPhone portrait with one foot immersed in the sea with no apparent regard for the soaker. Hadn’t he noticed the creeping water as he stood grinning at the camera phone?
No. Because he’s had the same soaker before, nearly 16 months ago, when he’d stood in the exact same spot and dipped the same foot into the same sea to end his world-record hike across Canada.
Yes. On December 17, 2013, Dana Meise (@the_hiking_fool) completed his seven year, 16,500 km solo thru-hike of the still-in-development TransCanada Trail, from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Victoria, British Columbia, the longest hike in the world. For his efforts he was awarded the Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s Expedition of the Year Award for 2014.
"The TransCanada Trail is designed not so much to connect the country, like the highway, but to connect communities. ... People sometimes don't understand the scope of the TransCanada Trail and what it's hoping to acheive. It's not meant for me; it's actually meant to connect communities. I simply set out to do it, and at the time it wasn't so big, and I was like, Okaaaay...but then I made a promise, and I was like, I gotta get it done.
When I got here, I was emotionally overwhelmed - it didn't set in till later. I thought about my dad a lot, and I was really emotional, I cried a little...but I don't think it truly set in at the time.
I come from a world in which a handshake is a signed deal - the minute I shake your hand we're golden forever, and that's the world I come from, from the North. So it was like, for me, when I got here, I'd made a promise and I wasn't done yet. So this past year after finishing the hike across the country I walked three-and-a-half thousand kilometres along the northern leg of the TransCanada Trail [from Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, to Inuvik, NWT] and walked 412 kms off the trail, I walked to my dad, right to his wheelchair, right to his home and said, 'Hey, thanks, dad,’ because my dad inspired me to do this. My dad can’t walk [owing to a brain aneurism], so I promised to do this for the both of us, so that’s exactly what I did." I'm almost more emotional today, becuase I'm by myself...it's just nice to revisit. I'm staying with a friend eight-and-a-half kilometers away and I walked here, as a day hike, and [turning towards the sea] it just feels really good."