Taking on Winter in Canada’s Arctic Watershed, Our Greatest Challenge Yet

When we started our Travel Blog back in 2008. We were feeling unfulfilled with our lives and needed a change from our careers in the film business. Back then, we weren’t sure if we’d ever been able to leave our jobs to follow our dream of traveling the world. We thought that maybe it was too late for us. We thought we lacked the experience and skills needed to become experts in travel and adventure. Never did we think we’d actually trek one day to Mount Everest Base Camp, or summit Mount Kilimanjaro. but we did!

“If you go through life feeling safe and comfortable, you are never truly living.”

Even though we hadn’t spent our lives training and preparing for adventures, we  knew in our hearts it was something we wanted to do. The skeptics thought we were too old and weren’t experienced enough in the outdoor world. We hadn’t grown up in mountains, we didn’t spend our time in the backcountry, and we weren’t expert survivalists who had years of rock climbing, mountaineering, or guiding. The people who were supposed to be adventurers were the people who had years of training. The people who grew up winter camping and taking outdoor education and survival courses.

Adventure is for Everyone

Who were we to think we could become adventurers? But then we thought, so what if we weren’t a Dave Breashears or Dean Potter (The adventurers we admired and looked up to at the time), we were a married couple who had a zest for life, had already travelled the world extensively, and had done some pretty cool adventures ourselves.

adventure couple

We believe that adventure is for everyone, so when we were brainstorming ideas for this blog, we decided to use it as a way to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and live an extraordinary life. If we could show others that regular people like us could do it, they may feel that they can change their lives too. Even if you lack experience, you can learn the skills you need to have a great adventure. No matter what point you are at in your life or what skills  you are lacking, if you have an open mind and are willing to learn from others, you can achieve great things.

Winter camping expeditions

At the End of our Missinaibi Headwaters Expedition

So, in 2008, we decided that to walk the walk and do something epic to let people know you can do something extraordinary, even if you don’t have experience. So we kicked off our blog by cycling the continent of Africa from Cairo to Cape Town. We trained for a year, took a bike maintenance course, created a blog and started sharing our preparations. It was Epic!

Cycling Africa Started it All

In South Africa, near the finish of our cycling race down the continent

In South Africa, near the finish of our cycling race down the continent

That trip launched our careers as travel bloggers and we’ve been having the time of our lives traveling ever since. We’ve kept the adventures going by driving in the Mongol Rally, Climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp and Mount Kilimanjaro, taking unsupported kayaking trips in Croatia and Mexico, running with the bulls and visiting both poles. But nothing has pushed us to our limits again quite like our African Cycling Adventure…

Until Now

It was coming home to Canada to explore our own backyard that offered us one of the most challenging and epic adventures of our lives.

traditional winter trekking on snowshoes

We travelled to the far north of Ontario to take on the Missinaibi Headwaters in the dead of winter. For 11 days, we trekked into the Arctic Watershed on snowshoes while pulling all our gear on sleds. We had to fend for ourselvs, cutting down trees for firewood, chipping through ice for drinking water and navigating our way through frozen rivers and lakes. We cut through challenging portages with axes, shovels and saws, we hoisted our sleds up up steep hills and through dense bush. We survived temperatures well below -30 degrees Celcius as we trekked through the most gruelling 100km of our lives. Dave Hartman of Hayfire media joined us on the expedition to document our every move and capture our feelings, our challenges and our triumphs on the trek. We think he captured the essence of what we went through beautifully enjoy!

There were highs and lows, frustrations and triumphs. It was difficult and cold, uncomfortable, and very challenging. But we have always said that it is these moments that make you feel alive. It is facing the elements, feeling the extremes, and thinking that you can’t go on that connects you to this life. It makes you appreciate the little things and tells you that it’s good to be alive.
If you go through life feeling safe and comfortable, you are never truly living.
It is by stepping out of your comfort zone, scaring yourself a little and pushing forward that takes you to the next level of living an extraordinary life. It is these moments that enrich our lives and help us feel that we can overcome obstacles in our every day lives. As we stated at the end of the video, “If we can survive trekking and camping in the Canadian winter, we can survive nearly anything.”
The Lure of the North offers expeditions in traditional trekking and camping ranging from introductory three-day experiences to epic treks like the Missinaibi Headwaters.
For more Ontario Adventures visit  OntarioTravel.net l and Ontario Outdoor for more information on trekking and travel in Ontario, Canada.

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