15-Year-Old Paddles Halfway Across Canada to Summer Job at Canoe Outfitter

By Jeff Moag for adventure-journal.com

When Zev Heuer’s high school went online in mid-March due to COVID-19, the 15-year-old from Canmore, Alberta, realized that if he finished his coursework quickly enough he could pull off his dream trip—a 1,300-mile canoe journey to his summer job at Churchill River Canoe Outfitters in northern Saskatchewan.

Zev spent the next few weeks churning through his school assignments, planning his route and dehydrating meals at a furious pace. On May 1 he started down the Bow River in Canmore, a half-day’s paddle downstream from Banff. He arrived in tiny Missinipe, Saskatchewan on July 2, after a river journey of two months. For about half the trip he was alone, apart from his dog Blaze.

The beginning of May is early spring in the Canadian Rockies, and the banks were piled high with ice when Zev, his father Karsten and two friends shoved off for Calgary. The 80-mile stretch includes whitewater up to Class IV. Zev and the others ran some rapids and lined others. Then, after one last set of rapids below Calgary, Zev transitioned to a solo tripping canoe. Blaze settled in behind him and they started the next phase of their journey alone.

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