Mike Ranta and his dog Spitzii have wrapped up their canoe trip from Fort McMurray to Yellowknife.
They hit the Clearwater River on July 11 and arrived in Yellowknife 22 days later, about a week sooner than originally expected.
Ranta said they paddled roughly 12 hours a day to show appreciation for First Nations and veterans.
“Our veterans, they protect our way of life. They’ve always had that unique ability to step above and beyond and put themselves in harm’s way so the rest of us don’t have to and for me that’s amazing. That’s about as Canadian as it gets.”
He added that he doesn’t typically look at a map before he and Spitzii go on these adventures, saying he likes the “explorer’s surprise.”
By the time they made it to Fort Chipewyan, Ranta had posted to Facebook that they’d run into two bears, which he said were scared off by Spitzii.
“Right away his first instinct is to start barking and he lets that bear know that we’re there.”
Ranta and Spitzii were joined by their friend and retired Ontario judge, Stephen O’Neill, who parted ways at Fort Resolution, NWT.
Overall, Ranta called the support he received “cool” saying they were treated to cold water and ice cream along the way.
He said he wouldn’t be surprised if they did the same trip again, saying everyone he met along the way had an impact.
“Fort McMurray was the best and it just got better as we went.”
This isn’t the first time Ranta has done a trip of this length. He’s paddled from Vancouver to Cape Breton Island, giving him the world record for the longest solo canoe trip.
He said he really wants to cover the third coast of Canada.
“The Mackenzie River’s been on my radar for a long time. I’m really looking forward to getting onto that and completing the biggest river in North American and again going along the ways and stopping in at First Nations and Legions along the way and just showing my appreciation.”
Now that the trip has wrapped up, Ranta will work on the world’s largest paddle before preparing for next July’s trip from Yellowknife to Tuktoyaktuk, which is roughly 2,200 km.
Their trips include Rocky Mountain House to Montreal, Vancouver to Nova Scotia and Fort McMurray to The Pas among many others.