Canadian walkabout heads up the Alaska Highway - and to the oblivion beyond

Melanie Vogel started her walk across Canada on June 2, 2017.

Beginning in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, she arrived in Mile Zero on November 28. She has been walking for two years crossing all provinces and will continue her trek following the legendary Great Trail (formally Trans Canada Trail) North up through the Yukon Territory to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, and down to Victoria ending her journey.

“There were several reasons why I started my journey and I wanted to go back to the road. I spent time in Asia, New Zealand, and Australia backpacking. There is no cause attached, I wanted to have an adventure and have my freedom back from being on the road and seeing Canada,” Vogel says.

Originally from Kamenz, Germany, Vogel arrived in Canada living in Toronto for a time, and in Vancouver since 2008. Blogging her trek along the way, Vogel departed Mile Zero on December first.

Her dog Malo joined her solo trip in Manitoba just south of Winnipeg in March 2019, and has been traveling with her for the last eight months.

“We were almost like two free spirits unknowingly looking for company,” Vogel says.    

“To a certain extent the physical is very demanding, but also on such a long journey the mental challenge that you have to cope with has been constant. Before I met Malo there was this question that kept rising, why am I doing this? It has shifted since the start of my journey. Keeping the spark and paying attention, finding the joy of the everyday walk is what keeps me going,” Vogel says.  

The furthest walk Vogel has completed in one day is 50 kms, and the least has been five kms.

“Mishaps happen which delay me, I’ve broken a wheel, got a cold, or I end up in conversation with people and get invited to stay. I also play it by the weather as mother nature rules. I have a new responsibility having Malo, I don’t want to jeopardize his life or mine,” Vogel says.

“The kindness has been a huge theme, people are so excited about what I’m doing so many want to become a part of it. The openness from people along the way has been unexpected to such a degree, meeting strangers and leaving as friends. Many people stop on the road and ask if everything is ok, if I need anything which is amazing. They offer me food or hot chocolate sometimes,” Vogel says.

“After I complete my journey I will be going back to germany to see my parents, siblings and family. I have new family members I haven’t met yet. It will be 5 years since I’ve seen them,” Vogel says.
“Reaching Mile Zero it’s very cool to start to hike the legendary highway, I will be going very remote now. I have been through two winters where I have improved my skills, gear and knowledge. I also have a emergency break on that I can activate for help,” Vogel says.

Vogel plans on writing a book of her journey and going on more adventures. She is supported by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society having been awarded the Womens Expedition Grant for 2019.

For updates on her trek, please follow Facebook and Instagram: Between Sunsets: A Trail Story.

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