A 3,400 km solo journey from Lake Erie’s Long Point to Kangiqsualujjuaq in the Arctic by canoe and on foot. The journey took three months and spanned five different ecosystems (see map below), ultimately going from Canada’s south coast (Lake Erie) to north coast. Some highlights included huge storms on the Great Lakes, portaging around Niagara Falls, trying not to get run over by commercial freighters, reaching saltwater on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, bushwhacking in Labrador’s wilderness (something I’d done before), canoeing alone in polar bear territory, and detouring on foot to explore the remote Torngat Mountains (photos below). Fortunately, on this new adventure I was able to apply some of the lessons I learned from my earlier solo journey across Canada’s Arctic.

Expedition Duration: April 24 to July 23, 2022

Distance: Circa 3,400 km

Method of Travel: Canoe and on Foot

Longest Stretch without Seeing Another Human Being: 18 Days

Bear Encounters: Dozens

Blackfly Bites: Infinite

The inspiration for the journey was watching birds, especially peregrine falcons, which migrate from Long Point to the Arctic. Besides following the birds north, I thought the journey would offer a unique chance to explore the diverse ecoregions (see map below) that make up Canada’s geography and the connections between them. My route traversed five distinct ecosystems, from the lush Carolinian forests of southernmost Canada (the light brown on the map) to the maples and pines of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest (the purple zone on the map) to the vast boreal forests of the north (dark green zone), the sparsely treed subarctic woods (light green), and finally the arctic tundra (whitish beige) where permafrost prevents trees from growing and polar bears and caribou roam.

I’m currently working on a new book about this adventure which will be published next year. Check back here for updates, including the chance to pre-order the book and details about speaker events with slideshow presentations on the journey. Order my other books here.

Map of eco-regions. My journey spanned five eco-regions, from the Carolinian forest in the south (brown shaded) to the arctic in the north (white shaded).
April 24, Day 1: Setting off in my canoe from Long Point. The Old Cut Lighthouse is visible behind me.
April 29 Day 6: Paddling offshore on Lake Erie, with wind turbines in New York State behind me. This image was captured by local photographer Brad Wood as I made my way to Fort Erie.
April 30 Day 7: Portaging around Niagara Falls. I received a few curious looks.
May 3, Day 10: Paddling through the Toronto Islands.
May 22, Day 29: Camped along the St. Lawrence River near Cap Sante, Quebec.
July 5, Day 73: Hauling my canoe over a beaver dam, while working my way up a creek in Labrador.
July 9, Day 77: Paddling through a rainstorm in Labrador.
Running rapids in northern Quebec.
Picking a wild mushroom (a bolete) to add to my cooking pot for supper.

 

Camp in the Torngat Mountains. I left my canoe behind and detoured on foot to reach these remote peaks.
Freshly caught brook trout roasting over a fire for supper.
July 22, Day 90: Keeping an eye out for polar bears as I paddle on the saltwater near Ungava Bay.
My canoe resting on the rocks at high tide on the Arctic coast.

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