Dana Meise talks about his inspiration for hiking through the Trans Canada Trail.
This summer has been unique to say the least. I learned much about myself, and the importance of never giving up, as I walked the 412 km from Dawson Creek, B.C., to my hometown of Prince George, B.C. This hike was a detour, as the actual goal was, and still is, my walk to all three of Canada's Oceans via the Trans Canada Trail.
Having already completed the 16,500 km cross-Canada section from the Atlantic to Pacific last winter, this summer was the Arctic leg of the journey. Although the trip was already roughly 4000 km long, the walk to my hometown was very important to me. My Dad, Ronny, who lives in a permanent care home, was the one to inspire me to do the hike. He can't walk, so I promised him I'd walk enough for the both of us. To date I'm now at over 30,000,000 steps, so I believe I have done that. However, it was with struggles.
En route I began to feel unusually fatigued. By the time I arrived in Chetwynd, B.C., roughly 100 km in, I was feeling unusually exhausted and sick. Before I knew it I was in the hospital diagnosed with Beaver Fever. This is a parasite that attacks violently, causing all kinds of fluid loss, resulting in severe cramping and dehydration. It's caused by drinking contaminated water which was my mistake. I stayed in Chetwynd for eight days in agony, alternating visits between the motel and the hospital to get fluids replaced.
After the eight days I mustered all my strength and continued on through the Rockies one painfully exhausting step at a time. I had no cell service or internet, so the struggle was a lonely one at times. But word had got around and many people stopped to offer food and water in support of my mission. When I arrived I was completely wiped out of energy, but excited at the same time. I'll never forget the look on my dad's face when I walked up to him. If there was ever a face of pure joy, that was it. If ever my heart has soared to such a height, then that was the moment.
Knowing I had just walked nearly 18,000 km to my hometown and right to where a dream was born and then realized, was one of the most beautifully rewarding experiences of my life. My dad inspired me to follow my dream even though he didn't realize it. Now, I inspire others to follow their dreams. I know now the power of following through true to your word and how that will echo in the hearts of many. I also learned the importance of sharing the journey, including all the highs and lows, as only then can you truly relate to an audience who then gives back to you. This journey is a metaphor for life. One that's meant to be shared so we may all learn its lessons together.
Written by: Dana Meise