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Retracing the Steps of Alexander MacKenzie


In 1998 I went on a marvelous adventure in which I retraced the route of explorer Alexander MacKenzie to the Arctic Ocean in 1789. MacKenzie was the first person to "discover" a water route across North America. He was working as the chief trader for the Northwest Fur Trading Company of Canada when he and a small group left a lonely outpost on Lake Athabasca hoping to find the Pacific Ocean. Instead, they found the Arctic Ocean, much to his disappointment.

This voyage occurred 11 years before the Lewis and Clark expedition. MacKenzie, who was only 25 at the time, was knighted for his endeavors.

I retraced his route as a solo explorer in a canoe, which took me almost seven weeks, and covered 2000 miles. I used Mackenzie's journal as a guide and saw many of the same sites he visited along the way. But the trip was really more significant for the inner journey it entailed. It was an amazing journey.




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