On Saturday, November 12, Melanie Vogel became the first woman to complete a continuous coast-to-coast hike of the Trans Canada Trail, hiking all land-based miles of the mammoth 15,000-mile land-and-water route.
The Trans Canada Trail (TCT), formerly known as the Great Trail, combines both land and water routes that, together, span over 24,000 km (14,912 mi). It is the longest trail network in the world, connecting the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans.
Over the span of five years, Vogel hiked approximately 20,000 continuous km (12,427 mi), or 26 million steps. She started her journey on June 2, 2017 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, and finished in Clover Point, Victoria, British Columbia.
Vogel was born and raised in Germany and has adventured all over the world as a solo female. She immigrated to Canada in 2008, and after reading about the TCT, decided she wanted to explore the country on foot. A 10-day trek to the Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal was her only previous long-distance hiking experience.
Vogel experienced many unexpected changes along the trail. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was forced to reside in Yukon for a year and a half until she could resume hiking. Her trip ended up taking five years, as opposed to the two that she had originally anticipated.
In a positive turn of events, she adopted a dog named Malo halfway through the province of Manitoba. Malo went on to accompany her for the remaining few months of the hike.
“It is not about the amount of kilometres I walk in a day, in a month, in a year or my lifetime,” Vogel wrote in her blog. “It’s about the experience I make and lessons I learn, the people I meet and love I receive that make this journey monumental…little did I know that this would become a solo walk powered by human kindness.”
Prior to Vogel’s accomplishment, Dianne Whelan was recognized as the first person to complete both the land and water routes of the TCT in August of 2021. In 2017, Sarah Jackson became the first individual to complete an east-to-west journey on the trail.
Featured image via TCT Studio.
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