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Prince George native becomes the first to ever walk the entire Trans Canada Trail

10 years and 21,000 kilometres later, Dana Meise accomplishes his goal

No one else had ever done it, so when a family member suffered an illness, he did it in their memory. 

Dana Meise grew up in Prince George, and when he was younger, his curiosity would eventually lead him on a 10-year journey. 

"Growing up in Prince George, right by the Fraser River, I always wondered why it was called the Fraser River," he tells PrinceGeorgeMatters. "We grew up without TV or anything so I just read books on explorers, and that's what I wanted to be."

His idea of being an explorer was put on the back burner, but then he heard about the Trans Canada Trail. 

"I thought, 'What a great way to explore!' Because nobody has ever done it," he says. "I put that on the backburner, too."

His father suffered a head injury previously and had to learn how to walk again. After his recovery, Meise says his father would walk everywhere until another illness struck — a stroke.

"That was the click moment," Meise says. "I thought, 'What if this happened to me and I didn't fulfil this dream?' So I bought a one-way ticket to Newfoundland and told my dad I was walking it for the both of us."

He began the journey in 2008. There are memories aplenty for him, including the first step he took when it all began and realizing his dream that he put off for a while was now coming true. 

Meise walked a total of 21,000 kilometres in 10 years. He finished his journey a couple of days ago on Nov. 15, standing on the Arctic Ocean. 

"It hasn't even hit me yet; it's been a whirlwind," he says. "I get there to the fanfare of the Inuit, and I'm standing on the ocean. I shed some tears. I just couldn't believe I completed this massive undertaking."

The Trans Canada Trail (now known as The Great Trail) is the longest trail in the world, so of course, it wasn't all easy. 

He physically ran into injuries, like plantar fasciitis due to overstrain. 

"The one thing British Columbians would never think of is walking long distances on flat ground," he adds. "So that gave me plantar fasciitis, which might not sound like much to anybody, but if you asked me when I had it, I would rather break my leg."

Meise also recently suffered a concussion after falling on a slippery slope in Inuvik, which knocked him out. He had regular injuries such as blisters and toenail problems, broke a finger and his vertebrae began to fuse from carrying a heavy pack for so long.

As for equipment, he went through three to four tents and a few sleeping bags.

"When people say you're crossing Canada, they think Terry Fox, highways," he says. "They don't think about the sheer scale of this trail. This trail is epic, or I could have walked from LA to New York four times."

Some may wonder why it took him 10 years, but his reasoning is more about self-awareness than rushing to complete something. 

"I wasn't in a hurry," Meise says. "It was a journey of learning and experiencing the country. Another thing was the sheer distance and the hardships that come with it."

Twenty-seven pairs of boots and 21,000 kilometres later, Meise has a memory he'll never forget for the rest of his life. 


Jess Fedigan

About the Author: Jess Fedigan

Jess Fedigan graduated from BCIT’s Broadcast and Online Journalism program in 2016 and comes from the Lower Mainland.
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