The world’s largest intact Aboriginal trail systems
I draw maps; been drawing them since I was a teenager. It’s an obsession with me—a way to indulge in a passion to preserve what I explore. Maps and drawings find their collective way into journals I’ve kept describing various adventures and explorations, and, later, into the several guidebooks I’ve produced. I stopped calculating the distance I’ve travelled across Canada, but my journals, and my aching joints, tell me that my explorations have gone well beyond the 60,000-kilometre mark, spanning almost half of our great country.
My wilderness explorations by canoe, however, are not founded on distance or personal achievements—the notoriety is accepted politely—nor do my guidebooks focus solely on making life easier for the adventuring paddler. My work is born out of a love for the primal beauty of this country, which is often taken for granted and can lead to neglect, industrial intrusion and even more recently—wilderness affected by climate change. All of this presents an element of urgency for me. Canada boasts a healthy portion of wilderness, and still sports the world’s largest intact Aboriginal trail systems—canoe routes. As a worldwide commodity, wilderness is infinitely more valuable as it becomes scarce. This is why my guidebooks embrace the important contributions made by our First Peoples, as well as magnify the significance of a sustainable environment.
When the Trans Canada Trail folks approached me to map out a canoe trail from Thunder Bay to Manitoba, my first thought was, another guidebook? No way, too much work!