Atikokan solo paddler Mike Ranta aims to break world record
An Atikokan man has set off on a cross-country canoe trip that he hopes will break a world record.
Mike Ranta is paddling from Vancouver to Cape Breton in an attempt to set a world record for the longest solo paddle.
But Ranta is not completely alone.
"I got my best friend in the world, my dog Spitz,” he said.
“He's a Finnish Spitz, the national dog of Finland, and he's the best bush dog anybody could ever ask for. And I've got my coconut, Atta. I found him on my last trip on the North Saskatchewan River, and him and I have been chummin' up and now we've got two nuts in the canoe."
Ranta began this trip on April 1, on the west coast. Late last week, he was still paddling on BC's Fraser River.
This is Ranta's second major canoe trip. His first was a more-than-5,000 km trek from Rocky Mountain House to Montreal, in 2011.
Ranta's current expedition will be more than 8,000 km, and he aims to complete the journey in six months.
His second motivation for the trip is to inspire youth in his hometown of Atikokan and help them to “shoot for the sky, and do what you can."
Ranta told the CBC on Friday that, so far, the trip has been "excellent."
The tricky part now will be timing the trip so that he hits open water along the way, and doesn't get frozen in.
His canine canoeing companion has proven to be helpful, Ranta noted.
"[Spitz] is pretty laid back. He just keeps an eye out,” he said.
“There's not a log or a rock that can come within 10 feet of my canoe without him letting me know about it."
People can track Ranta along his journey on the Facebook page "Mike Ranta's Paddle,” where he will try to post photos and videos along the way.
He hopes to pass through Thunder Bay in July.