Question: Have you ever, in your whole life, been free? I mean, free of barriers? Of deadlines? Of expectations? Have you ever been free to just put one foot in front of the other and set out for the far horizon, for days and weeks, just to see what's there? That's the feeling of trekking the Canol – the feeling of shackles falling away, of the sky opening up, of time expanding. Of, for once, being free.
The Canol may be the strangest war-story ever told. Back in World War II, America needed oil to fuel the battle for the Pacific. So, in the course of a few short and brutal years, U.S. troops and Canadian contractors laid a pipeline through impossibly rough country clear from Norman Wells to Whitehorse. Excruciatingly hard to maintain, the line moved little oil and was abadoned after just 13 months. Eventually, the pipe was hauled out, but military barracks, telephone poles and rusting army jeeps remain, giving mute testimony to one of the most heroic and absurd of wartime endeavours.
The Canol is pretty country. I mean, real pretty. Along the trail are famous landmarks like Dodo Canyon, the Twitya River, the Intga Valley, Devil's Pass and Carcajou Falls. You'll have them all to yourself.
This meal is waiting for you at the end of the trail in Norman Wells – along with a cold beer, a hot shower and clean sheets. So when you're out on the trail, wet and footsore and sick to death of dehydrated meals, let this be the beacon that draws you on.