The Trans Canada Trail (www.thegreattrail.ca) was designed to run uninterrupted more than 20,000 kilometers from the Pacific to the Arctic to the Atlantic Ocean. Hap Wilson -- a modern-day explorer and mapmaker -- was the man chosen to find a water route through the wilderness from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior to Manitoba's eastern border.
First Nations peoples had traveled this mosaic of lakes and rivers 7,000 years ago. Coureurs des bois and voyageurs had used it to carry furs and trading goods. Wilson set off to carve a trail for modern users. He mapped it, measured it, marked it and in the process, experienced the best and worst of Canada's wilderness.
He survived bear confrontations, being struck by lightning, grueling days slashing open old portage routes, a knee replacement, violent storms, gale force winds, isolation, biting insects, tick infestations and bitter cold. Organizers christened this section of the Trans Canada Trail the "Path of the Paddle" in honor of canoeing icon Bill Mason and Canada's First Nations.
In this exciting account, Hap Wilson divides his 1,200 km journey into 12 routes with varying degrees of difficulty. Diary excerpts, hand-drawn maps, GPS coordinates, and photographs provide up to date information, expert guidance and anecdotal color. He describes the pictographs, old encampment stone circles that he finds along the way, more evidence of early travel, survival, myth, legend and mystery.
Hap Wilson has paddled more than 60,000 kilometers across Canada. His explorations have been published in more than a dozen books. Wilson is an International Fellow of the Explorer's Club and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, recipient of the Bill Mason Award for lifetime achievement in river conservation, and co-founder of the environmental group Earthroots. He lives with his family in Rosseau, Ontario.
Hap is also the author of Temagami: A Wilderness Paradise, Canoeing and Hiking Wild Muskoka, Missinaibi: Journey to the Northern Sky and Wilderness Rivers of Manitoba.
For many Manitobans, this is the season for picking up a paddle and exploring the beauty of the Canadian Shield's lakes and rivers. For those who like the idea, but not the exertion, Ontario author and canoeist Hap Wilson has written Lake Superior to Manitoba By Canoe, his account of his work establishing a 1,200-kilometre water portion of the Trans Canada Trail.
I would like to congratulate you for the hard work and insight you have put into these works. As you mentioned, I do have a passion for Canada's trails and spend as much time outdoors as I can. Like you, I believe it is important that we work alongside Indigenous Peoples to maintain a healthy environment and keep certain areas of land protected while creating a sustainable economy.