When I first met Mike Ranta at the 2017 Toronto outdoor show I didn’t really know that much about him. All I knew was that I had just heard him present and I had never heard someone speak so passionately about something.   Mike Ranta speaks from his heart and he is so passionate about what he does that it gave me chills.   I was inspired instantly.

This year him and his amazing canine Spitzii set out  to cross Canada by canoe for the third time.  Part of his  journeys’ purpose is to raise awareness for our  first responders and to bring attention to PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. In Canada, it is estimated that up to 10% of war zone veterans—including war service veterans and peacekeeping forces—will go on to experience post-traumatic stress disorder.*   He is also celebrating Canada’s 150th on this years journey.

On Sunday, October 1,  Mike and Spitzii spent the day at the Sportsman Inn in Killarney Ontario, collecting signatures on his beautiful Canada canoe,  his vessel for the epic journey he was on.

I had planned to spend the day preparing some of my winter gear for the upcoming season, but as soon as Mike contacted me to confirm he would be in Killarney for the entire day, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to get in my car and drive the three hours to see him and finally meet Spitzii, Mikes very best friend.
Once I signed a panel of the canoe, which was something I’d wanted to do for quite some time, Mike presented me with a gift.  A little canoe he’d carved himself using different types of wood from his journey, the paddles being added in Killarney just that day.  What a beautiful gift. I was honored to receive it and would cherish it always.  I was looking forward to seeing some of Mike’s other creations after his trip!
After visiting with some of the people Mike had met earlier in the day, and taking some photos with/for them and a few of us, we sat down for a short interview so I could ask him some questions about his current trip, his travelling companions this year, and his future plans.
The interview recorded on video of my visit with Mike will be posted on my youtube channel on Thursday.  Hopefully, you take a moment to check it out as it is so inspiring to hear Mike speak.  He truly is an inspiration to so many people and every time I talk to him, I understand why.
The biggest announcement Mike made is that he has decided to put roots down in Killarney, Ontario!  The town and the people there have given him so much support and such a warm welcome over the years he’s been visiting there on his trips, that it was a very easy and obvious choice for him.  He totally loves it there, so why not? The other news, he has decided to spend the last 26 days of his trip paddling through Killarney Provincial Park, learning all about the area him and Spitzii plan to call home.

Mike’s handmade paddle. It weighs 8lbs! That’s almost 1/3 of the weight of my current canoe! WOW!

I am excited to be in the planning stages of a few trips with Mike, where we will be building a quinzhee together, doing some snowshoeing and a few other winter activities, as well as some other cool adventures  that are in he works!  Sooo very awesome!
 After our interview, some VIP’s came to visit Mike and he shared a few more stories with them, including one about rescuing a baby moose, which can be found seen on Mike’s page here. I also recorded the telling of the tale and it will be included in my video being published Thursday.
People like Mike Ranta are very rare in this world.  They give of themselves selflessly and do what needs to be done to help others. The size of his heart is immeasurable and I was truly honored to be able to spend the afternoon with him and watch him interacting with people who showed up to meet him and offer best wishes for the remainder of his time paddling.
In February 2017,  I barely knew who Mike Ranta was,  now, I will never forget him.
Huge thanks to the Sportsmans Inn for their hospitality and to Mike and Spitzii for being so generous with their time and for the lovely gift.
Looking forward to following along on the rest of your epic journey through Killarney Provincial Park Mike,  and I can not wait for our adventures!
You can follow Mike on his website at www.MikeRanta.ca or on his facebook page, twitter or instagram. 
Happy Paddling!
Camper Christina
Can’t wait to see the video? Click here for a special viewing.
* Provided by Canadian Mental Health Association