After hiking the equivalent of walking twice across Canada, Dana Meise knows a little bit about trails. He likes what he sees of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen-maintained Kettle Valley Railway Trail.
This week the Prince George native was hiking the KVR as part of a six-summer odyssey walking the Trans Canada Trail, beginning at Cape Spear, Nfld, and, through Wednesday, getting as far west as Summerland.
“Of all the thousands and thousands of kilometres I’ve walked, it’s so good to be home in B.C. and walking on the legendary KVR,” said Meise. “It’s such a gem. There’s just so much to see, so much adventure.”
So far, after six years of hiking, Meise has covered almost 16,000 kilometres.
“The trail is designed to connect communities and beauty and history,” he said. “What better way to see a country than to walk through more than a thousand Canadian towns and villages. I’ve already done more than 850.”
He planned to be 45 km up the trail from Summerland before nightfall and in Princeton late Thursday.
“Depending on the terrain, normally I could get that 45 kilometres done in 10 or 11 hours,” said Meise. “But today I’m giving myself 12 hours.”
Meise spent several days in the Penticton area, travelling along the KVR from Mara Canyon earlier this week. He says the South Okanagan trail system could play a pivotal role in a decision on where to settle down once he decides to settle down.
“When you walk it, you have a whole new appreciation for it. This place is just unbelievable,” he said. “I could imagine a summer day cycling it and having great picnics. And then there’s the beauty of the lake.”
On Nov. 21, Meise arrived in Bankier at 2 a.m., settling under a nice Spruce tree in the temperature of -20 c. In the later morning, he woke and went to the Tee Pee Lakes store for coffee before heading out for Princeton.
Meise spent the next night at the home of Kelley Cook, just outside of Princeton. Cook’s son gave up his bed for the night for their special guest. When Meise awoke in the morning, he was suprised to find that “Kelley had snow-sealed my boots. I’m so grateful for the support,” he stated.
After hiking into Princeton across the Bridge of Dreams, which Meise reports is, “A fine example of what a small community can achieve when motivated,” he hiked off towards Coalmont and Tulameen.
In Tulameen, Meise was welcomed at the Firehall via a note from Fire Chief Jody Woodford welcoming him to goodies and chicken noodle Soup—he arrived here at 12:30 a.m.
He slept in warmth on a stretcher provided and in the morning went to the Trading Post for breakfast, then off to Brookmere and then to Hope.
Meise plans to wrap up his cross-country stroll December 16 in Victoria. But his journey won’t stop there.
“The Trans Canada Trail has three “kilometre-zero” signs,” said Meise. “One’s in Newfoundland. One’s in Victoria. And one’s in Inuvik. I’m heading to all three of those.”
He adds he’ll be in no particular hurry to make his way to Inuvik.
“I have the patience of a tree. When you walk 10 hours a day, by yourself in the wilderness, there’s no rush.”
Meise posts his cross-country adventure on Facebook as ‘The Great Hike’. Visitors to the page will find his latest photos detailing his KVR experience, including some amazing snow-filled shots from Mara Canyon. To find his page, access Facebook and search for The Great Hike.
The Regional District maintains 246 km of KVR trail from northeast of Naramata to north of Tulameen and is actively pursuing a complete trail network south to Osoyoos and throughout the Similkameen Valley.