Trans-Canada Trail Duo Packs It in For Winter

Although Sonya Richmond and her partner Sean Morton no longer have a home to go home to — they sold their house to finance their three-year, 24,000km trek along the new Trans-Canada Trail — the 40-something couple has decided to find a warm hearth somewhere and resume hiking again in the spring.

In just over five months, Richmond, 42 and Morton, 45, covered almost 3,000km from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec. They have eked by on 20 dollars a day, thanks to a basic diet of oatmeal, peanut butter and rice and beans. But now, as winter sets into eastern Canada, the budget-conscious hikers have found that their equipment is not up to the increasingly harsh conditions. Instead, they will hunker down, try to find paying work and resume their quest for sponsors.

Winter bush in Quebec. Photo: Sonya Richmond


“The challenges of keeping our food and water unfrozen, being unable to stop for breaks during the day without immediately freezing, making camp and cleaning up in the snow and subzero temperatures, and both beginning and ending each day in darkness are too much,” Richmond wrote in their blog.

They have still managed to average approximately 40km a day, despite just seven hours of ever-diminishing daylight, compounded with blizzards and high winds.

For most of their trip, they tried to avoid busy highways in favour of trails and back roads. But winter conditions have caused authorities to close some of those paths to cyclists and hikers. The rural cafes and depanneurs (French for convenience stores) on which they depend for resupplies are also closed or close early in the winter months.

Their projected route. Photo: Sonya Richmond


They resume their adventure in spring, 2020. Next year, they hope to walk from Rivière-du-Loup all the way west to milder British Columbia, which they might be able to endure in late fall, and so finish the east-west portion of their trip. Then in summer 2021, they will cover the final, northern section of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Their progress can be found at

Kristine De Abreu is a writer (and occasional photographer) based in sunny Trinidad and Tobago. Since graduating from the University of Leicester with a BA in English and History, she has pursued a full-time writing career, exploring multiple niches before settling on travel and exploration. While studying for an additional diploma in travel journalism with the British College of Journalism, she began writing for ExWeb. Currently, she works at a travel magazine in Trinidad as an editorial assistant and is also ExWeb's Weird Wonder Woman, reporting on the world's natural oddities as well as general stories from the world of exploration. Although she isn't a climber (yet!), she hikes in the bush, has been known to make friends with iguanas and quote the Lord of the Rings trilogy from start to finish.

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Randy Hamilton
Randy Hamilton
2 years ago

Wow! That is about the worse planning I have ever heard of! How do you not know that stores and trails will get closed in the winter?!? I do more planning for a 2 day trip to the rockies than these guys did. These are not explorers and they are lucky they survived. This sounds more like a reality TV show bid, than a true expedition. I am only commenting on this because I feel this story does not belong on this site that reports on so many great and legit expeditions.

1 year ago
Reply to  Randy Hamilton

If you followed them you would discover that you are mistaken. You seem a little quick to attack and bolster yourself. Since you are such a great explorer I am curious to know what your wonderous expeditions have done to get kids out into the wild and exploring? Could you share your blogs and CV to show us please?

Althea Talbot-Howard
Althea Talbot-Howard
2 years ago

Interesting long-distance hiking article about an inspiring and amazing trail. Thank you.

All the very best with your winter employment. It’s not too long until Spring!