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Mike Ranta & Spitzii along with David Jackson

Mike Ranta & Spitzii along with David Jackson

Lake Winnipeg, Gimli Manitoba

Let me introduce you to by buddy, Mike Ranta & his faithful companion Spitzii. These two characters are today’s modern day voyageurs. Along for the adventure is the expedition’s photojournalist, David Jackson, who in his own right is definitely an adventurer.

So here’s what’s happened, Mike has not only canoed Canada from coast to coast, he’s done it twice! As a result of these great paddles, he’s the world record holder of having done it solo and having completing the trip in a single season.

Photojournalist & Adventurer – David Jackson

So what’s he doing in Lake Winnipeg near Gimli? He’s in the middle of canoeing Canada for a Third time! Along for the adventure is David, who has joined Mike & Spitzii from the beginning of this adventure.

Back on April 1st 2017, they began their journey in Bella Bella BC and headed east through the rockies. I can’t give away any of their stories, because let’s face it, its theirs to tell at the end of the adventure. I will say, they had to endure solitude, relentless elements, nature, wildlife, food & water shortage, and other adventures within their adventure.

Live location updates – Mike is carrying a beacon which tracks his every movement. Go to his website and locate this whereabouts on his map and if you get an opportunity….go meet the the three companions while they paddle Canada! I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t pass up on a good cold beer either.

You can read about Mike’s & Spitzii’s previous journey through his website and be sure to check out his book. Oh, and check out the baby moose he saved in during his last adventure – video here: Baby Moose Rescue

Mike Ranta & Spitzii – 
David Jackson – 

ps. Once this paddle adventure is done, he is far from done. Follow him on the social medias and be the first to see what he does next!

Mike and I exchanging gifts.






Paddle to the Sea & the Smallest Canadian Tire Store

Paddle to the Sea & the Smallest Canadian Tire Store

As you drive through Nipigon Ontario, one of their claims to fame is having the Smallest Canadian Tire Store in Canada. This photo actually makes it look bigger than what it is, but nope, its definitely a small store!

Then I came across the Paddle to the Sea park…

This is where a carved toy starts its journey…

Paddle to the Sea, a 1941 story written by Holling C. Holling. A story about a young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside and names him Paddle-to-the-Sea.  Paddle’s journey takes him through the Great Lakes and into the Atlantic Ocean. 



Swimming in the Rain – Riding Mountain National Park MB

Swimming in the Rain – Riding Mountain National Park MB

Moon Lake – Riding Mountain National Park located in Manitoba

When I first arrived, it was beautiful outside and the lake was as calm as can be…

I met a few interesting people, including…

A family from Minot USA had been coming to Riding Mountain for approx 30+ years and its been family tradition that’s being passed onto the grandkids. 

Then there was a traveler from Quebec who was definitely living in the moments. A free-spirited, dread-locks and all, young lady who had worked on a Manitoba ranch for a couple months but was now making her way back to home to Quebec.

As the clouds rolled it and it started to rain, it was time to take shelter.  However, not for this young lady….

…she decided it was time to go swimming. Although it was raining, it was still quite warm out.

As for me and a couple others, keeping dry and out the rain was preferred and we were sharing the shelter with seven nests filled with baby barn swallows and their parents.


Visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

Visiting the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

Location: Errington BC – Vancouver Island

I can’t rave enough about this place!  The enthusiasm of the volunteers, staff, the facility and the grounds layout was awesome.

Let me back up…

I had just finished checking out the Goats on Roof and the Marble Statues, and now it was time to continue on my way, but which way? That’s when I discovered there was a Wildlife Recovery Centre nearby.

Heading that way and having no idea what to expect or if visitors were even allowed to observe, I still had to check it out.

The parking entrance was being overlooked by volunteers, which could only mean one thing… this place was about to get busy and was preparing to welcome visitors!

Unknown to me at the time, it was actually Family Day at the NIWR and it was FREE! Even though today was free admission, it should be noted that what they normally charge is well worth checking this facility out! – NIWR website

What to expect ….

Obviously their primary focus is on the recovery & release of wild animals which include… well… almost everything from Black Bears, Cougars, Turtles, Ducks, Golden & Bald Eagles, other animals including Wild Turkeys. They also have a pond with frogs, newts, and other water critters.

This rooster was so interested in my camera that he kept following me and photobombing my shots,  but his attitude sure chanced when I brought out the frying pan.

I’m not sure about his story, other then he likes hanging out with the Wild Turkeys. I was told that “He thinks he’s a wild turkey” and tries to mimic them.  

The NIWR centre was more than just showing people recovering animals, it also had various buildings along with outdoor displays that provided tons of information. Some were interactive, including displays the volunteers were enthusiastically wanting to show off.

One volunteer had a long rope with key tags attached at various points. With my arms reaching outwards to the side, the rope was stretched over my the length of my arms, where a key tag hang. The key tag read, “If you were a bird, your arm span suggests you are a Turkey Vulture”. .. I want a second opinion….sigh, I’ve been called worse. 

I know you want to see more photos of the animals, but the cage wiring prevented me from capturing any good photos of the animals. Besides, the animals were best viewed in person, so I just enjoyed it without worrying about taking any more photos.

I highly recommend going to the NIWR, there’s lots to see & experience.
At the very least, check out their website – NIWR  

Note: Although my photos mostly show birds, that’s only because they were the easiest to photograph today.  All the other wildlife was a little more difficult to capture on camera.  So check out their website to see the other wildlife they care for. 

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