31 January, 2017

How to Walk 1,658 km in the Heart of Winter

What is the best way to meet new people and stay active during the coldest and darkest months of a Canadian winter? Well, we suggest walking to Tuktoyaktuk.

Yes, the suggestion sounds unusual. But stay with us.

If you were literally going to walk across the winterscape of the Northwest Territories (NWT), traversing the Arctic Circle to reach the small community of Tuktoyaktuk, you’d need warm clothes, an arctic-friendly tent, a sled full of supplies and an industrial–sized portion of bravery.

Instead, we suggest that you participate in Walk to Tuk. The only prerequisite for this iconic Canadian event, thankfully, is a handful of friends or colleagues.

Walk it off, champ

An annual community challenge organized by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, Walk to Tuk is a conceptual journey of 1,658 kilometres— essentially the distance from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk along the Mackenzie River (also known as the longest river system in Canada).

While Canadians are notorious for their outdoorsy propensities, walking hundreds of kilometres in the darkest days of winter is hugely demanding. That’s why Walk to Tuk is tackled in teams.

Whether you live in Halifax or Hazelton (or anywhere in between), all Canadians are invited to participate in this healthy-lifestyle challenge. Teams of up to 20 members have two months — January and February — to collectively walk a total of 1,658 kilometres. To break it down further, the average daily distance to cover is approximately 30 kilometres for the entire team. Very doable!

(Shameless plug: we recommend logging some of those kilometres along The Great Trail. It’s the longest trail system in the world, available all year long for Canadians to discover their own backyard.)

A little event with large impact

Walk to Tuk started in 2011 with 550 participants. This year, over 3,400 people in 272 teams have registered for the increasingly popular physical activity challenge. That number represents approximately 8% of the total population of the NWT, a 35% increase in participation from last year.

The yearly event is gaining national popularity, and with good reason. While there are a myriad of ways to stay active during the coldest and darkest months of winter in Canada, forming teams and working towards a common goal is one of the best options out there.

Happy walking!

Cheat Sheet

Event: Walk to Tuk
Location: Northwest Territories — but available to all Canadians!
Date: 3 January – 28 February 2017
Website: nwtrpa.org/walk-to-tuk.htm
Twitter: @nwtrpa