German hiker Melanie Vogel became the first woman to walk coast-to-coast-to-coast across Canada, completing her incredible five-year journey in Victoria on Saturday.
Vogel started her journey in Cape Spear, NL, in June 2017 and reached the end of her hike along Trans Canada Trail Clover Point, Victoria.
During the journey, she stopped at the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans as she made her way across the country.
She expected the hike to take about two years, but the journey ended up taking five.
Her 20,000-kilometre, 26 million-step hike was delayed for about a year and a half due to the pandemic, during which time she stayed in the Yukon, according to a release from the Trans Canada Trail on Thursday.
‘TRUE SOUL AND SPIRIT OF THIS COUNTRY’
Over the course of the five-year journey, Vogel experienced acts of kindness both small and large, suffered through blisters and exhaustion, and adopted a dog named Malo in Manitoba, who accompanied her on the hike for the past three and a half years .
“When I set foot on the trail in Newfoundland, I had no idea or expectation of how this walk would unfold,” said Vogel in the release. “I did not know that kindness and my connection to nature and this land would become such major talking points.”
“People stepped up when support was needed: the repair of gear, an invitation to stay at someone’s home to rest up, a sandwich handed through a car window, encouragement from afar, or sometimes just a simple hug or high five on the roadside, ” she said. “Those moments and the stories we shared have shown me the true soul and spirit of this country.”
Vogel chronicled her journey on social media and hopes her trek inspires others to visit the outdoors and embrace conservation.
“It’s impossible not to become passionate about the conservation of nature, public land and this trail once you have walked amongst old trees and along lakes and rivers, drunk fresh, clear water from a creek, sat by a fire, watched the stars and listened to the sounds in the forest,” she said.
“My message is this: Just go. Go at your own pace and capabilities. Go and fully use your senses. Explore, discover and connect to nature,” she said.
Vogel also hopes her solo trek across the country encourages women to spend time outdoors, especially since she thinks there’s more barriers for women and girls to explore nature on their own.
The Trans Canada Trail claims to be the longest recreational trail in the world, stretching across all provinces and territories in Canada. It spans 28,000 kilometers and connects to three oceans as well as 15,000 different communities across Canada.
On Saturday, Vogel ended her journey in Victoria by taking off her hiking boots and dipping her feet into the Pacific Ocean, alongside Malo.