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Canoeists stop here en route to east coast


“Every day I’m going home.”

That’s the outlook of 41-year-old Dana Jeffrey who, since mid-April, has been en route to Prince Edward Island from Edmonton, Alta. by canoe with fellow paddler Doug Finch.

Jeffrey and Finch, a native of London, Ont., stopped over in Fort Frances on Monday night before heading out across Rainy Lake yesterday morning on the next leg of their journey.

The two friends decided to take the canoe trip together for the adventure and aren’t part of a fundraising campaign.

“It’s just for ourselves but if you want to give us money, we’ll accept it,” joked Finch, 40.

“For me, it’s a physical thing,” noted Jeffrey. “Ten, 15, or 20 years from now, I won’t be able to do this sort of thing.”

Jeffrey, who is married with two children, is the stronger of the two, Finch admitted, and carries their 268-kg (80-pound) canoe on his own when the duo has to portage.

Jeffrey is also the steersman of the five-metre (17-foot) vessel.

They’ve had to portage around 11 dams since putting their canoe in the North Saskatchewan River—with a nine-mile hike still to come at the Grand Portage on Lake Superior.

“I think we’re a bit ahead of schedule,” said Jeffrey, noting the number of miles covered each day varies a lot depending on weather conditions.

He noted they usually average about 19 km (12 miles) a day but added they did 96 km (60 miles) on the North Saskatchewan River.

Food stuffs for the journey include canned meats, powdered milk, porridge, Cheez Whiz, macaroni, and the occasional pizza—made from scratch and fried over the fire.

The men hope to reach P.E.I. by mid-September.

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