Canadian Becomes First to Hike the Length of The Great Trail

A couple of weeks back I posted a story about Canada completing a stunning new hiking route that stretches for more than 24,000 km (14,912 miles) across the entire country, while also touching the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. Formerly called the Trans-Canada Trail, and now dubbed The Great Trail, this new route –– which is a mix of land and water –– is the culmination of more than 25 years of work. Naturally, that led me to speculate who would become the first person to hike it end-to-end. As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long to get the answer.

According to the CBC, Canadian Dana Meise is the first person to accomplish that feat. Meise, who goes by the handle thehikingfool on social media, has spent the better part of the past decade hiking the sections of The Great Trail that were already finished. So when the final stages of the link-ups between the various sections were being completed, he was already waiting and prepared to go. In the process, he became the first person to touch all three oceans that the trail visits.
Meise says that he was inspired to hike the TGT after his father lost his ability to walk From there, he took up the challenge, trekking sections of the route a bit at a time. But the final stage wasn’t an easy one for him. Dana fell himself recently and ended up in the hospital, even as other family emergencies occupied his time. He even had ravens attack and shred his tent while camping. As a result, he was delayed in finishing the hike and had to endure much colder temperatures than he would have liked. In the evenings temperatures would drop as low as -40ºF/C, making it difficult to stay warm and push forward at times.
Despite those challenges, Meise reached this final goal in Tuktoyaktuk along the Arctic Ocean last week. He wandered into the village on November 15, wrapping up what has been a long and difficult hiking adventure. He first began hiking sections of The Great Trail back in 2008, often spending upwards of six months backpacking along the route. The CBC says he also missed three years following an on the job accident in 2015.
Upon completion of the trek Meise said “I think there’s a lesson we learn about just following through with what you said you’re going to do.”
Well said and congratulations DanaThanks to Rick at Best Hike for sharing this story!
Kraig Becker