The Great Hike (by Dana Meise)

The Great Hike 
by Dana Meise

I don’t think step counters go to 26,400,000 but if you walk 16,500km that’s what it would work out to. Indeed it’s a long walk but it was all part of my childhood dream to explore Canada. I chose the Trans Canada Trail because it suited my “explore needs”. By design it connects community, ­history, beauty and geography. As of December 17th, 2013 I completed the across Canada section of the trail at Clover Point Victoria B.C. thus becoming the first to do it, setting a record as the longest hike on the longest trail.

When one does such a thing as I have done It stands to reason that I would get asked many questions, here are a few that I will share with you; Do you get lonely? Yes! How many pairs of boots have you gone through? 17. Why have you taken on this incredible challenge? Because I can! Don’t you get bored? Well now, I can answer that question by answering another one I get asked all the time. What keeps you going? I was the kid that couldn’t wait to see around the next corner always exploring. My curiosity was “most curious” indeed, and as it turned out served me well on “The Great Hike” I had embarked on. By always being excited as to what’s ahead and taking genuine interest in my surroundings and the people I meet, I’m never bored, that is what keeps me going. So as you may imagine I had much anticipation to hike the Kettle Valley Rail Trail which is considered by many to be one of the most significant sections of the Trans Canada Trail.

I knew there were a series of trestles and tunnels that I was highly anticipating. One tunnel called the “Bull Dog” is 912m, the longest on the KVR. After getting through I pitched camp on the other side. Rising at dawn I decided for good measure I’d walk through again, after all I had walked tens of millions of steps to get here what’s a few more. I was highly impressed, however I found the whole KVR one “WOW” after another making everyday exciting, and I walked it! Cycling the trail would be awesome, In fact I’ve talked a few families into going this summer as they were asking me what to recommend. I wish I could share all the highlights but there are too many and besides I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you!

When I hike I don’t think about what works best for me rather, I rate a trail system by how user friendly it would be for a variety of users. If you’re out for a day, a few days or want to do the whole thing it is perfectly geared with plenty of access points for drop off and pickup. If just for a day, anywhere you are you will find a “WOW” factor just waiting for you to discover it! I really wish you could hear the excitement and enthusiasm in my voice as I write this because I would seriously get you PUMPED-UP to experience what this trail offers. I’ve got some experience with trails and I can’t wait to come back and cycle it and this time I’m bringing friends!

If you would like to see more pictures and stories about my experiences on the KVR or my journey as a whole please check out my Facebook Page “The Great Hike” or Twitter @TheHikingFool I’d be happy if you shared your experiences with me as well. Follow my new adventure beginning early April 2014 as I solo hike to the Arctic another 3800km’s.

Letter from Trans Canada Trail Foundation

By Clive Webber
Facilitator: Trans Canada Trail Foundation

Given the immense size of our country, it’s not surprising that some of our greatest legacies are the ones that have connected Canadians from far and wide; canoe routes, pack horse trails, our national railways, and the Trans Canada Highway are among the most spectacular and mind boggling of achievements. Continuing in this tradition, a new legacy is taking shape all across the country, in the form of a 24,000km recreational trail stretching between the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans and connecting nearly 1,000 communities: The Trans Canada Trail.

While it may not feel crowded along our province’s rail trails, even on a quiet day, you might just be sharing the trail with hundreds of thousands of other people and not even realize it. That’s because the Kettle Valley Railway, Columbia & Western Railway, the Salmo Great Northern Rail Trail and even the Galloping Goose Rail Trail and Cowichan Valley Trail on Vancouver Island are all former railways that are now part of the Trans Canada Trail. In fact, the provincial rail trail network makes up over 40 per cent of the Trail’s total length across Southern BC.

Initiated in 1992, the Trail has now been in existence for 22 years and Canadians from all walks of life and parts of this nation – from volunteers and private donors to major corporations – are pulling together to connect the Trail’s final and most challenging sections by 2017, in time for the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. In British Columbia, we’re about 77 per cent of the way there.

The Trans Canada Trail has developed an extensive B.C. Connection Plan, which proposes to connect the Trail route by facilitating improvements on existing trails, developing exciting new hiking and biking trails, as well as establishing government-endorsed road cycling routes where trail development is currently not feasible or sustainable. Finding willing partners – particularly local trail associations – to help develop and maintain the Trans Canada Trail is crucial. We are delighted to work with these partners, not just to make the Trail a reality by 2017, but as well to help build better communities through the development of non-motorized recreational trails. Great trails make for healthy communities!

What can you do to help?

Join your local trail association that stewards and advocates for your local segment of Trans Canada Trail, in order to assist in the maintenance and improvement of your local segment.
Contact our provincial advocacy group, Trails BC, to learn more about the gaps – and how you can help connect the Trail!

Trails BC recently launched its new website (, featuring digital mapping with not only the most detailed and up to date GPS tracks of the Trans Canada Trail across BC, but as well the locations of campsites, toilets, staging areas and points of interest along the way. Combined with the Kettle Valley Express magazine, you’ll have no trouble staying on course and finding plenty of interesting sights on your next adventure along the provincial rail trails!