Dianne Whelan had a choice to sleep under a railway bridge amongst a clan of heavy drug users, or at my place on the shores of Chemong Lake.
Both options were dicey, but she chose to pitch her tent with The Happy Camper. I’m so glad she did.
Dianne’s a writer and independent filmmaker, known for 40 Days at Base Camp. A year ago, she set out on her next project—to travel the entire length of the Trans Canada Trail. The TCT measures 24,000 kilometres, is the longest trail in the world and is set to be fully connected in 2017. So far, she’s made it from Newfoundland to Peterborough, Ontario, backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking along the way since July 1, 2015. And so far, she hasn’t lost her passion to go on. In fact, she doesn’t want the adventure to end.
This is one enthusiastic, charismatic, educated, spiritual, free-spirited, talented, charming and atypical adventure junky. Kind of like a mix between Janice Joplin, Joni Mitchell, John Denver and Gord Downie. She’s taking on the trail like a tortoise, not a hare. Her adventure stories shared over whisky and wine mostly had to do with the fantastic Canadians she’s met along the way. Yes, she’s in the wild most of the time; but the narratives about people she met between the wooded areas fuelled her passion each day. In Nova Scotia, two hunters helped her find her way; in Quebec, a Cree grandmother showed her how to cook a goose over a stick; in Newfoundland, a stranger handed over camp gear she desperately needed; and in Peterborough, a “happy” outdoor writer saved her from the sinister settings of the train bridge.
Check out my full interview with Dianne Whelan, below. Also, make sure to check out her journey on social media and online, at 500daysinthewild.com. Even better, try to find her along the trail and have a chat. Tell her I sent you. She’ll get a giggle out of that. She will giggle. She has a terrific giggle.