How did Mike Ranta plan to follow up a speedy record-breaking solo trip across Canada in 2015? By doing it again—but faster.
Unofficially already holding the title for longest solo canoe trip, Ranta departed the West Coast on April 1, 2016, from Fisherman’s Memorial in Steveston, British Columbia. He’s aiming to break his own seven-month record over 7,500 kilometers and arrive in distant Cape Breton, Nova Scotia before his 45th birthday at the end of September. Along the way, he’s raising funds for Canada’s war heroes and invited veterans to meet him en route and sign his canoe so he and four-legged tripmate, Spitzii, can show their appreciation. These are the six essentials fueling his ride.
Spitzii, Purebred Finnish Spitz
“Spitzii turned eight on April 3 and we celebrated on the Fraser River. He’s my best friend, my bear scarer, and my campsite soldier,” says Ranta. “He and I have such a great bond and this is our third big trip we’ve done together. I wouldn’t leave without him.” As fearless as he is handsome, Spitzii hangs out on the bow deck and watches for rocks, logs and beavers, barking to alert Ranta when he sees something.
Atta the Coconut
“I found a coconut when I was paddling near Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. On my next trip, it disappeared on me,” says Ranta. “I did the whole trip and the coconut was gone about two years. When I was reconing for this trip I decided to camp where I stayed last time, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t find it. Spitz found it in amongst the grass. I call it Atta The Coconut. I’m from Atikokan, Ontario. Our mayor’s not impressed because he doesn’t like when people call us Atikoconuts, he prefers we call ourselves Atikokanites.”