Yorkton, Sask. man walks across Canada
A Yorkton, Sask., man decided one day to walk across Canada and did so over a 288-day journey.
Zayell Johnston, 27, doesn’t exactly know how he got the whole notion, but was partially inspired by European hikers.
“When I was out in Vancouver (for college), I’d always go on hikes and always run into a lot of Europeans that would come over and they would always come here for the wide open space,” Johnston said Friday via Skype in Yorkton, Sask.
“And it’s like ‘I don’t even know my own country’ and Europeans see more of it than I do so I was like ‘well, that’s got to change’ … so I wanted to see Canada.”
So he took off Feb. 10, 2018, from Victoria, B.C., on a gruelling eastward journey.
“What surprised me the most is – you put yourself in a situation and you just adapt to it and it doesn’t happen overnight but if you just work at something, it just comes second-nature,” Johnston said.
“And just the vastness of Canada. Northern Ontario, it stretched on forever. When I got to Niagara Falls and seeing the falls that was absolutely breathtaking. Just outside of Fredericton, a moose stumbled upon me and we kind of had a staredown but no one’s going to believe me cause my camera was off.”
He finally reached his destination at Cape Spear, N.L., on Nov. 25, 2018, and said the final stretch was surreal.
“I had to get up at 3 a.m. because it was about 15 kilometres from St. John’s to get to the end point, and I was walking in the middle of the night. It was quiet and nothing but me and the stars,” Johnston said.
“Just before the sunrise you could see the stars coming, starting to peel back, and the sun coming up and that cold wind. It was so cold but I remember just standing there waiting for the sunrise and I knew that moment wasn’t going to come again and I’m glad I got that moment.”
These days, he’s focusing on his student loans and has applied to be a firefighter.
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