Today surprised us with a stranger who paddled ashore in a canoe. Granted, we’re working a resort in northern Minnesota that sits on international waters and borders the boundary waters. So, someone landing on the beach wouldn’t normally be all that unusual. But this fellow happens to be Pascal Bredin and has been out paddling his canoe for nearly 3 months now. You see, he’s 20 years old, is by himself, and has undertaken an expedition to canoe across Canada.
I asked him why. He’s always loved canoeing. In fact, he and a friend have been canoeing since they were children. Together, they spent years planning this trip to canoe across Canada. They hoped it would present them with a challenge, and that it would also give them an opportunity to live in harmony with nature. One of the goals was also to relive the experience of the early explorers who crossed Canada. Electronics are only being used for safety (GPS tracking), and to document the journey. Sadly, his friend wasn’t able to join him on the actual journey.
Imagine that it’s just you and whatever provisions you can fit in a canoe. Picture navigating, paddling and portaging for thousands of miles in the thick, beautiful and unforgiving wilderness… by yourself. Just thinking about the endeavor brings to mind words like: spirited, inspirational, courageous and determined.
Pascal started his trip back in April. He paddles on average around 25 or 30 miles a day. That’s a pretty fast pace, but one of his goals is to push himself physically. The total journey is expected to take 180 days and covers over 4,000 miles. As far as he knows, he’ll be the only one to have canoed across Canada solo. When asked how long his journey will take, he replies: “until I get hurt, the river freezes over, or I reach Inuvik.”
His meals on the trail consists mostly of foods he’s prepared and dehydrated himself, to make sure he has the right mix of calories, proteins and fats for the trip. His parents send boxes of provisions to pre-determined locations along the way. We were one of those stopping points. And while he’s enjoying a couple of days of hot meals and hot showers here, the staff at the resort have been enjoying getting to know him and hearing about his remarkable adventure.
You can follow Pascal’s facebook page with video and pictures updated as his journey progresses. Or, on his blog (La remontée des sources), you can see the course map and follow along as his GPS tracks his progress.