One month later, the Canadian Odyssey has covered 1250km and is headed to one of the ‘big’ ones - Lake Winnipeg. Michael arrived at his 2nd pit-stop in The Pas, Manitoba on Father’s Day to a wonderful surprise.
Sunday afternoon, Michael arrived in The Pas, MB. Exhausted, wet and 20 pounds lighter, he started the long process of un-packing and dragging his kayak onto the shore when he heard “Hey Hartley, you need any help?”
Jan Madsen, Michael’s long-time kayaking friend
from Vancouver had driven 30 hours to surprise him.
“I’m here to keep you honest. You wanted to do Lake Winnipeg. Let’s get it done.”
Overcome by emotion, Michael broke into tears.
flipping his kayak on Day 1, Michael was reluctantly forced to accept he would
have to skip Lake Winnipeg, one of Canada’s biggest and most storied waterways.
It is particularly risky and subject to severe weather patterns at this time of
year; just not safe to do alone. Additionally, a solo kayak severely limits the
amount of provisions you can pack (the key reason he has lost 20 pounds in 1
While being able to complete this key part of the Canadian Odyssey is a big thrill for Michael, it pales in comparison to how touched he is by this incredible gesture from a true friend. Under any circumstances, having someone travel this distance to help you complete your lifelong goal is overwhelming. Receiving this gift after spending the better part of a month soaked with rain, undernourished, exhausted and alone is impossible to articulate.
We admit our bias, but feel this is an indication not only Michael’s relentlessly humble and genuine character but of the lengths people will go simply to do good.
Thank you Jan for this amazing gift that truly Makes a Difference!
Since his fantastic rest stop in Prince Albert, the trip has been plagued by bad weather and lonely days. The weather in Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba in June is predictably poor and appears to be in a holding pattern. He hasn’t seen the sun in 10 days and has been facing a strong wind from the East. Additionally, the river is small, winding, muddy and largely desolate. In his words - “It feels like Kane’s land out there.” It has been a tough stretch.
Furthermore, due to storage limits in the kayak, his diet has been restricted to 1500 calories per day worth of freeze-dried food, supplements and energy bars. This while burning an estimated 5000 per day and he has lost 20 pounds in 1 month!
June 19, Michael and Jan set out on the last 80 km of the Saskatchewan River toward Cedar Lake and Lake Winnipeg.
Besides great company, Jan brings many years of kayaking experience and expertise as well as much needed storage space. The two will pack their kayaks solid with provisions knowing that there is a real possibility they could end up ‘beached’ for days due to weather. Furthermore, Lake Winnipeg is highly isolated without access to roads until they reach Hecla Provincial Park 2/3 of the way down. They will be very much ‘on their own’ out there.
In his words "The next 12% of the trip is the hardest. But we are doing our best to make good and knowledgeable decisions. The risks are fatigue and isolation but the company and change of scenery are welcomed! I have been thinking of this part of the trip for years and am excited to take it on."
We look to hear from them when they arrive in Winnipeg in early July. From there, Michael will be joined by Bob Salmond to cross into Ontario and immediately thereafter ‘the Bobs’ (Rieder and Rebagliati) into Voyageurs and Quetico Park.
See Michael’s emotional interview with Global TV - http://bit.ly/L005ia
To date, we have now raised almost just over $10,000, towards a goal of $50,000. Thank you to all who have donated! We will reiterate that 100% of donations go to the youth we support through sports and education programs.
Donations are critical to ensuring these important programs continue to thrive. We rely on your support and are deeply touched by each and every contribution. No donation is too small!
How to Donate:
1) Secure on-line donations: click here. **100% of all on-line donations receive tax receipts.
2) Send a cheque, payable to:
Tides Canada - Strachan Hartley Foundation
468 Arbutus Ave, Duncan, BC
**Donations made by cash or cheque of $50 or more receive tax receipts.
As before, Michael
continues to update his daily progress on the SHLF website
This includes daily check-ins via his SPOT tracker, photos and media updates, and links to social media (Facebook and Twitter) which are being updated daily.
Thanks to all for their support!