5000 Kilometres Through the Snow

Sam Richards — 9 May 2019

Dylan Auguste is walking 5,000km from Montreal to Vancouver. Starting in January, the 26 year old from Bordeaux, France, has been braving temperatures as cold as minus 50°C, making his way steadily along the highways. As of early April, he had covered over 2,000km and was in the state of Manitoba, a little way out of Winnipeg. Outdoor recently caught up with Dylan to find out more about his journey. 

Outdoor: What experiences have been the best so far?

DA: The best experiences so far have been meeting so many kind people with so many stories to share. I’ve met so many different people, with their own stories of life. I’ve laughed so many times with them, played guitar with some, walked the dog with another around icy lakes. And when temperatures can be as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius outside, it’s so heartwarming to feel this kindness and to feel welcome. I’m also really happy and proud to have completed the first part of my adventure, the “polar” one. I’ve survived sleeping in my tent at minus 50; even the elastics in the poles froze that night. Yet I still have all my fingers and both my feet, so I’m happy!

Outdoor: What motivated this journey?

DA: I’m doing this journey on one hand for myself, because I like big challenges, and on the other hand to raise awareness for kids with cancer, as I’m the godfather of a charity in France (Vivelespoir).

Outdoor: What are the biggest challenges?

DA: One of the big challenges is obviously dealing with the cold. But when you have the right gear, it’s easier than you might think. Another big challenge is to be really organised when it comes to food, because sometimes you can go hundreds of kilometres without anywhere to buy food. Finding information is also a challenge, because the country is so different during summer and winter, and I didn’t find anyone that has done this during winter time. So most of the time, I have to adapt. My girlfriend helps me a lot by looking at the map, doing research, reading all the advice I receive online. But the biggest challenge, and the one I didn’t expect, is dealing with all the huge trucks on the highway. You have to be focused all the time, and be prepared to jump in a snow bank or even outside the road. Because the shoulders of the highway can be pretty narrow, even non-existent sometimes because of the snow. I had to jump a few times to avoid being hit because drivers didn’t see me.

Outdoor: Where are you sleeping most nights?

DA: At the beginning I slept in my tent way more often. Now that the Facebook page is bigger, a lot of people here have heard of my story and, as Canadians, are really generous and kind. They offer me a warm place to stay most of the time. But when there is nothing around I have to sleep in the tent.

Outdoor: How supportive have strangers been?

DA: Lots of people send me messages, they encourage me, support me. Some people also stop on the shoulders of the highway and give me a warm coffee, a bottle of water, or something to eat. Some people offer me a warm place to sleep, and a warm meal. The biggest gifts so far that people have offered me have been my two carts, in which I put all my stuff. When I first began, I was carrying a backpack, which was really heavy – 40 kilos – because of all the winter gear. After a month with this beast on my back, I got bursitis in my left shoulder. So some people that follow me on the Facebook page offered me a cart, one for a bicycle in which you put your kids, and made some adjustments, adding a harness and a ski. When this cart broke, someone bought me a new one. Those are still my best memories. I’m still so moved just by thinking of it.

Outdoor: What’s next?

DA: I hope to finish around July or August. I have lots of plans for the future. I want to go to the North Pole, the South Pole, climb Everest, cross the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat. I’m a dreamer, and I still believe that nothing is impossible, as long as you’re prepared and ready to adapt. 


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Instagram: dylan_trekking


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