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Op-ed: Y2Y Traverse

Following in the footsteps of noted wildlife advocate Karsten Heuer, two young Canadian women are about to embark on an ambitious trek from Yellowstone to the Yukon, by foot, bike and canoe, a distance of over 4950 kilometres. Heather Waterous, 26, currently of Invermere, BC, and Amaya Cherian-Hall, 25, from Whitehorse, YT, expect to embark on the first leg of the trip along the continent’s major wildlife corridor on May 12 from the Targhee Pass trailhead on the Montana-Idaho border.

The adventurers are planning to hike the Great Divide as far as Grande Cache, AB; there they will switch to bicycles to ride to Dawson Creek and from there take the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse, YT. The final leg of the trip will be via canoe to Dawson City. They estimate arriving at their destination on October 10th.

Waterous and Cherian-Hall have been friends since they met at Quest University in Squamish, BC, where they nurtured their love for the outdoors. This Y2Y expedition has been on their wish list for some time.

“The dream began a few years ago but has been put off due to school or work responsibilities and of course the Covid-19 Pandemic” Cherian-Hall said. They applied for a grant from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and when it came through, the dream turned into reality.

“The adventure really started to feel real with the news of the grant,” Waterous stated. “Just planning the trip has been a huge challenge that has taken over a year of work and hundreds of emails and phone calls.”

Waterous is carrying on a family tradition of wilderness connection that began with her great-grandmother who owned a home in Banff and was an early member of the Alpine Club of Canada. Lissa Sissons (nee Hargrave) made several climbs, including the summit of Mt. Resplendent in 1913.

“I grew up seeing old photos of Lissa and hearing stories of her tenacity. That, coupled with growing up on a farm and some wonderful experiences as a student at the Educo Adventure School while in my teens, created a solid foundation of love for the outdoors and thirst for adventure,” said Waterous.

Amaya was also introduced to outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship through her family. Both her parents are outdoor enthusiasts. Her father spent his youth exploring the rockies and her mother is an avid paddler, trail runner and environmental scientist.

“My parents nurtured my love for romping around outdoors and my mom ensured that we did at least one multi-day backcountry trip a summer. I feel very lucky to have grown up comfortable in the wilderness and am so excited to get to spend the next 5 months outside experiencing some of this continent’s most incredible landscapes,” states Cherian-Hall.

For more information, please refer to the website and blog: Y2Y Traverse https://y2ytraverse.weebly.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/y2y_traverse/ 

Submitted by Y2Y Traverse

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