Big goals take a long time and a lot of work to accomplish, otherwise everyone would do them!
The 1000 Mile Solo trip that I pulled off in the summer of 2019 had actually been a looooong time in the making.
It was actually in 1992 that I first heard of Nueltin Lake and the Thlewiaza River and thought that someday, somehow, I would like to do that journey.
(I came across this route while researching another trip, one that would take me from Jasper, Alberta to Churchill Manitoba on the Athabasca, Fond du Lac, Cochrane and Seal Rivers. Click here for a short excerpt about a particularly difficult portion of that trip.)
Before I could explore the Thlewiaza life, work and marriage happened. I became a firefighter, started Grapplearts, had kids, etc.
Little did I know at the time that the Jasper to Churchill trip would be my last major solo trip for more than 25 years.
It was only in the early 2000’s that I started thinking seriously about the Thlewiaza again.
Doing it right then was out of the question; I had two young kids in the house, my marriage was in crisis, and was spinning a million other plates. Taking an entire summer off to explore some obscure arctic river was an impossibility.
But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Plus it’s always good to have a light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in a tunnel, so I thought that setting a date far in the future would be an incentive for getting through the tough times.
Eventually I set a firm date. I decided that I would do the Thlewiaza River trip in 2014. By then, I thought, the kids would be old enough and things sufficiently stabilised to head north for another major expedition.
I spent hundreds of dollars on maps, researched the route, and made tentative plans.
But there’s an old saying which goes, ‘Man makes plans and God laughs.’
Then in 2010 life happened, specifically a divorce. Overnight my finances were gutted: I went from living in a nice apartment to a basement suite I would have been ashamed to live in as a student, and the North suddenly got a little further away. And, oh yeah, I had to have a life-saving kidney transplant too…
In the end it wasn’t till 2019 that I managed to pull off this trip that I’d been daydreaming about since 1992.
It took 9 years to recover from the divorce, to build the relationships needed, let the kids get older, find an amazing woman who was supportive of her man going away on a crazy adventure, and set up the systems that had to be in place for me to have a shot of going away for up to 50 days in the middle of the summer.
It took a few decades, a ton of hard work and a whole lot of not quitting but then, in the summer of 2019, I finally made the 1000 Mile Solo happen!
Here’s a short podcast episode I recorded in the middle of the wilderness musing about the long strange preparation process for what ended up being a long strange trip.
Give it a listen if you need some encouragement about achieving your huge, crazy, audacious goals, whatever they may be!
For example, if you have an iPhone then it’s the purple app with the antenna-like thing in it; just click the Apple Podcasts link below to go to the right place and hit ‘subscribe’.
Here are the links to find the podcast on various players – today’s episode is number 228…
- Apple Podcasts (the purple app on your iPhone)
- Google Podcasts (the new google podcast app)
- Spotify (it’s free)
- Google Play
Or you can just stream the audio here:
P.S. Click here to see pictures from the 1000 mile solo trip and read about what happened!