Solo paddler Mike Ranta completes cross-country journey

A northern Ontario paddler with some impressive treks under his belt has completed his latest — and longest — solo paddling expedition.

'It was such an amazing feeling to touch base with all these people from our country,' says Ranta

Northwestern Ontario paddler Mike Ranta said he and his dog Spitzii encountered some frosty mornings on the last leg of their journey, but overall were blessed with unseasonably warm weather on the East Coast. (Alan Gauthier-Poelman)

A northern Ontario paddler with some impressive treks under his belt has completed his latest — and longest — solo paddling expedition.

Mike Ranta, who hails from the northwestern Ontario town of Atikokan, began a nearly seven month journey when he set out from Vancouver on April 1. 

He arrived at Dominion Beach, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday. 

"It's kind of surreal in a way. I made it in 200 days and I'm just beside myself," said Ranta.

"And I couldn't think of a better place to end it than Cape Breton. It's just been a wonderful reception here."

A crowd gathered to watch Ranta, and his faithful travelling companion Spitzii the dog, as they arrived on the beach, he said. 

This wasn't Ranta's first solo cross-country paddle. In 2014, he and Spitzii made a trip from Vancouver to Nova Scotia that he believes broke a world record. But this trip marked the first time he made it as far as Cape Breton. 

Mike Ranta of Atikokan, Ont., and his dog Spitzii stop for a break along the East Coast stretch of their trip. (facebook.com/mikeranta2016)

"I've had a lot of fun on this trip," Ranta said, although he also acknowledged that there were some rough patches.

"There's a lot of places that were very isolated." 

Journey dedicated to veterans

The long, and often lonely trip was brightened by the people he met along the way, said Ranta, especially the veterans, to whom the journey was dedicated.

"It was such an amazing feeling to touch base with all these people from our country," he said, "and listening to some of the stories that they had, and the comradery they have with each other — what a beautiful feeling." 

Along the way, Ranta stopped at many Legions to meet with veterans, hear their stories, and have them sign his canoe. 

Mike Ranta's canoe is decorated with hundreds of signatures of people he's met along the way, many of them military veterans. (facebook.com/mikeranta2016)

Now that his journey is over, Ranta said he plans to spend a few days on the East Coast, before driving back to Atikokan, Ont.

He's already planning out a new route for his next adventure.  

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.