This September, three local adventurers will attempt a never-been-done-before 150+ kilometer trek across the Capital Region River Valley. Local residents Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson and his dear friends Hank Van Weelden and Marianne Shalewa will hike, kayak, bike, swim and ride by horseback, continuously, across the Capital Region River Valley from Devon, through Parkland County, Leduc County, the City of Edmonton, Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and their trek in Fort Saskatchewan.
The idea for the trek started with Jeffery, a senior manager at Ellis Don construction and a champion of Edmonton. He is an experienced adventurer who participates in extreme athletic challenges that often last for days at a time. He has sailed where few have sailed, paddled where few have paddled, hiked where few have hiked and ridden his bike where most would rather not go. From the Great Divide to African countries, Jeffrey likes to be ‘out there’ exploring. “I’ve been on many adventures in many places. I was the first adventure cyclist to trek across southern Ethiopia solo and self-supported. I guess I just like to explore! I never really thought about exploring in an extreme way here at home – until now.” While Jeffrey had originally planned to attempt the trek alone, he got too excited and could not help but want to share the experience with Hank and Marianne.
Hank has spent his whole life exploring the river valley. Since strapping on skis at age 5 near Riverside Golf Course, Hank has never stopped exploring the world. By age 11, Hank was participating in overnight ski tours across the province. Hank’s international experiences are truly remarkable and include an expedition to Nanga Purbat (the world’s 9th highest and largest mountain), climbing Everest, and attempting a solo cycling trip from the South Pole to the coast of Antarctica last year. Besides his experience in extreme trekking around the world, Hank has a long history of involvement in the community.
Marianne’s adventuring began with family camping trips and international dance tours. Through these formative experiences, Marianne caught the travel bug and has not stopped exploring since. Last year, Marianne completed a 7700 kilometer cycling tour from Tofino, B.C. to St. John’s Newfoundland. This tour took her and a partner 70 days to complete as they crossed every Canadian province. After the End2End Trek, Marianne will head to Ethiopia in February to cycle across the country and raise money for fresh water sources in Ethoipian villages.
The River Valley Trek will begin Friday September 15th at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden. The start will coincide with the first day of EPCOR Riverfest and it will follow the event downstream, as the event moves to Edmonton on Saturday and Fort Saskatchewan on Sunday. As they wind their way through the river valley, Jeffrey, Hank and Marianne will be on hand to participate in a number of Riverfest events.
To view a map of their planned trek, click here