Dr. Rick Long treks BC Trans Canada Trail
Dr. Long is the first officially recognized person to hike the British Columbia portion of the Trans Canada Trail west-to-east, from its coastline in Victoria through to Peter Lougheed provincial park on Alberta's border.
Seven years, 82 days, 473.6 hours, 1,825.9 kilometres, seven mountain ranges — any way you measure it, Richard Long has accomplished an adventure of a lifetime.
Long is the first officially recognized person to hike the British Columbia portion of the Trans Canada Trail west-to-east, from its coastline in Victoria through to Peter Lougheed provincial park on Alberta’s border.
“I’m a linear kind of thinker. I wanted to start at one end or the other and see how far I could get,” Long said. “I didn’t at the time know whether I would end up finishing the whole province or that type of thing, but I thought I would at least start there and see how far I could get.”
Beginning in 2008, Long dedicated an average of two weeks each summer to conquering the trek across British Columbia. Accompanied at times by his wife, his sons or his neighbour and friend Don Ramage, the 64-year-old University of Saskatchewan human resources professor covered about 22 kilometres per day in his journey to span a distance that, if stretched in a straight line, would encompass nearly a fifth of the distance from one end of Canada to the other.
Although the Trans Canada Trail is not scheduled to be finished until 2017, Long worked his way through the sections that were available at the time and crossed incomplete areas regardless of whether or not they had been officially inducted.
During the hike, Long went through everything from urban city centres to long stretches of isolated trail and saw firsthand some of Canada’s natural wonders.
“You’d hike through glades where the water is just gushing out of the mountainside beside you and there’s beautiful falls. One time my son Michael and I were sitting having our lunch and a nanny goat and her two kids came up — silently, soundlessly — and took a look at us,” he said. “They probably had never seen human beings down there.”
One stretch had poor signage near Nanaimo that sent Long in circles, ballooning a planned 22-kilometre hike to 32 kilometres in a single day. Still, he retains a positive attitude toward even the most gruelling of times.
“We came along to a part of the trail where it pointed us off, and then the trail got thinner and thinner. After a while, we couldn’t see any kind of trail. We had to guess where it went. My wife says we were lost that day, but I say no, because as it turns out we guessed right,” he said, laughing.
Long has tentative plans to try to hike another 100 kilometres in every province, which he says he has already accomplished in Saskatchewan. In the meantime, he’s content to shine a light on the Trans Canada Trail.
“I wanted to raise the profile of the Trans Canada Trail, if I could. I really believe in something like this that lets us appreciate nature — appreciate the size of Canada, the diversity,” he said.
“If a 60-year-old professor can cross a province, then maybe a lot of other people can, too.”
Contact Information : HENRYTYE GLAZEBROOK, THE STARPHOENIX
Release Date : August 01, 2015