What’s the first thing you do after canoeing across the country? Eat cabbage rolls. After finishing a 7,500-kilometer canoe trip across Canada–his second—Mike Ranta strolled up a hill to the Royal Canadian Legion in Dominion Beach, Cape Breton. “I would canoe across the country again just for those cabbage rolls,” says Ranta.
A week after completing his expedition that included meeting people across the nation and gathering signatures on his Souris canoe in support of veterans, Ranta spoke to Canoeroots from the road, accompanied by his canoe partner, a Finnish Spitz named Spitzii.
The thought of paddling through Canada’s seemingly endless waterways between B.C. and Nova Scotia for seven months may strike some as crazy, but for Ranta the journey has a mentally calming effect on him. “It helps me keep my sanity,” he says, explaining that he has a unique neurological condition that gives him a great deal of of energy. He feels amazing outside and loves to get up before the sun and always keep moving forward.
Ranta believes that on this kind of expedition mental fitness is more important than physical fitness. “Physical fitness will come in time,” he says, but keeping your mind focused and controlling emotions is where the real power can come from. He says his positivity is one of the elements of his personality that was helpful on the trip, from handling his cart breaking to dealing with difficult weather conditions.
Of all the days that Ranta had on the water, the best experience was saving a moose calf drowning in logs on Saskatchewan’s Qu’Appelle River. Ranta grabbed the gangly-limbed moose by the ear and carried him into his canoe as Spitzii barked in the bow. The calf fell out and eventually made his way to shore. “It was nuts,” says Ranta. Watch the video here.
After all excitement and new experiences, what is Ranta doing next? Planning another cross-country canoe trip, of course.