Hiker-adventurer Melanie Vogel becomes the first woman to complete a coast-to-coast-to-coast through-hike on the Trans Canada Trail
Melanie Vogel set to arrive at the Trans Canada Trail’s Point Zero at Clover Point in Victoria, B.C., on November 12, concluding a five-year, solo hike powered by human kindness
On Saturday, November 12, German-born hiker and solo adventurer Melanie Vogel will complete her epic five-year through-hike across Canada along the Trans Canada Trail. When Melanie arrives at Point Zero of the Trans Canada Trail at Clover Point in Victoria, B.C., she will become the first woman to make the coast-to-coast-to-coast journey across the Trans Canada Trail on foot, reaching all three oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific.
Melanie began her journey on June 2, 2017, in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost point. Over five years, approximately 20,000 km of land routes and 26 million steps in a continuous journey through all four seasons, she was halted only once in her trek by pandemic travel restrictions, which kept her in the Yukon for a year and half. In what she calls a “solo walk powered by human kindness,” Melanie will walk to the finish line by the Pacific Ocean with Malo by her side, a lab-husky she adopted while travelling through Manitoba, who has been her sole companion for the past three and a half years.
See a timeline of Melanie Vogel’s coast-to-coast-to-coast trek
and watch a video about Melanie here.
Despite travelling solo, she has been buoyed by a community of followers, admirers and supporters as she shared both the highlights and challenges of her slow-lane adventures on her website www.betweensunsets.com and social channels.
“I never felt this [hike was] too much for me. The freedom, the peace that I have on the Trail and the beauty that I experience outweigh any struggles or suffering that I also experience on the Trail,” she said while en route through Ontario in 2018.
Born and raised in Germany, Melanie immigrated to Canada in 2008. Her only previous long-hike experience was a 10-day adventure to the Annapurna basecamp in Nepal. Having read about the Trans Canada Trail, and feeling a deep longing for being out on the road again, she decided, almost spontaneously, to set out for what would be her longest-ever journey. What she thought would be a coast-to-coast and two-year adventure turned into a three-ocean hike over five years. In her travels, she experienced how nature both humbled and restored her, and was bowled over by the many acts of kindness from strangers along the way.
“When I set foot on the Trail in Newfoundland, I had no idea or expectation of how this walk would unfold. I did not know that kindness and my connection to nature and this land would become such major talking points,” says Melanie Vogel. “People stepped up when support was needed: the repair of gear, an invitation to stay at someone’s home to rest up, a sandwich handed through a car window, encouragement from afar, or sometimes just a simple hug or high five on the roadside. Those moments and the stories we shared have shown me the true soul and spirit of this country.”
Melanie is using the art of storytelling to promote life in the outdoors, by sharing geographical, cultural and historical facts and anecdotes. She is also hoping to inspire others to live a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle with minimal impact on the natural environment.
She adds: “There exists a barrier for women to explore the outdoors on their own. I wanted to be someone women and young girls can relate to: a city girl who set out on an adventure to reconnect with nature. I shared my experiences and emotions honestly and I talked openly about my failures and what I learnt from them, and shared moments of fears, and how fear finally moved to the back of my mind the more time I spent in nature. Nature invites you to push past your comfort zone, and it made me happy when I received messages from women who felt encouraged by my walk to push theirs a little further.”
While being in the outdoors demanded caution and preparedness, it also offered Melanie a place to find balance and contentment, and connection to her surroundings and to herself. “It’s impossible not to become passionate about the conservation of nature, public land and this Trail once you have walked amongst old trees and along lakes and rivers, drunk fresh, clear water from a creek, sat by a fire, watched the stars and listened to the sounds in the forest,” she says. “My message is this: Just go. Go at your own pace and capabilities. Go and fully use your senses. Explore, discover and connect to nature.”
“Now that my journey is coming to an end, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, excited and anxious at the same time,” she says. “Excited to start new projects and to see family and friends back in Germany after all these years. Anxious as I do not feel prepared for my return to society. Over the course of five years, I called the Trail home. So, I’ve started telling myself that even though the Trail ends the journey has not. What gives me the peace and strength to move forward is the thought that this or any other trail will be there for me when I need to step out, sort my thoughts and take a few deep breaths. That thought is comforting.”
“We are so proud of Melanie and wholeheartedly celebrate this extraordinary achievement with her,” says Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO, Trans Canada Trail. “The experience Melanie has had, of connection to nature, to self, to people and to the land, is the very ethos of the Trans Canada Trail. We are all the more thrilled that her accomplishment coincides with two very special anniversaries for Trans Canada Trail. In 2017, when she started on her journey, we celebrated the milestone of a connected Trail. And now as she takes her final steps on her epic hike, in 2022, we celebrate 30 years of Trans Canada Trail. We thank Melanie for her tremendous passion for the Trail, and for sharing it with us.”
Melanie’s historic achievement comes on the heels of B.C. filmmaker Dianne Whelan who, in August 2021, became the first person to complete both the land and water routes of the Trans Canada Trail. In 2017, Edmonton’s Sarah Jackson completed an east to west journey on the Trail.
On November 12, you are invited to welcome Melanie Vogel at her final stop at the Trans Canada Trail Point Zero marker at Clover Point. Her anticipated arrival time is 12:30 pm PT.
See Facebook event page for details.
Learn more about Mel:
- Website: www.betweensunsets.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/talesbetweensunsets
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/betweensunsets
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/betweensunsets
For media only: download images of her adventures here.
9 February, 2024