Benjamin Pinch passed through Penticton, on his west-east walk across Canada. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Benjamin Pinch passed through Penticton, on his west-east walk across Canada. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

700km in on a walk across Canada, B.C. man passes through Penticton

Benjamin Pinch talks dropping everything to fulfill his lifelong dream of walking across the country

Benjamin Pinch is not the same man he was 44 days ago. The woods, he says, have a habit of changing you.

It’s dusk, and his silhouette bobs as he ascends the Kettle Valley Rail Trail towards the Little Tunnel, overlooking the South Okanagan town of Naramata. Weaving around him is his canine partner, Jade, carrying her own food in a makeshift saddlebag.

The arid, rocky landscape is covered with desert grasses, bushes and cacti. Turkey vultures fly overhead, some landing to take shelter from the impending rain in the distance.

Clad in a wool poncho and jeans, it’s the twinkle in his eyes that catches your attention.

With over 700 kilometers now behind him, every day Pinch comes one step closer to his final destination: Newfoundland. His reason for walking across Canada? To fulfill a lifelong dream.

READ MORE: ‘It’s going to be a test by fire’: Northern B.C. men build homemade catamaran

Now through Penticton, Pinch has but 23,221 km to go on his eastbound adventure.

“It’s my second dream, I already accomplished my first dream: I got my self-sustaining cabin out in the woods,” he says. “When I was younger, probably elementary school, Terry Fox was going across Canada, ever since then, it stuck in my head.”

It’s at this cabin in Winnipegosis, MB, that the Campbell River native plans to hunker down for the winter, before completing his walk by the end of summer 2021.

Campbell River native Benjamin Pinch has been hiking since May, his final destination, Newfoundland. To stay safe amid COVID-19, he has been keeping his distance, only been stopping when essential, washing his hands and also carries sanitizer. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)


The 32-year-old has been walking his entire life. In fact, he didn’t feel the need to get his driver’s licence until he was 25. In Campbell River, he ran a cleaning business, Static Cleaning, off of his bike.

At the beginning of May, Pinch sold some of his possessions, and with the support of his kids, left home.

“It’s kind of like a big spiritual journey too. Something just told me at the same sense, this is the time to do it, it’s the time to go now. Just go,” he says.

Sticking to the Great Trail (also known as the Trans Canada Trail), Pinch covers about 30 kilometers a day. Coming out the other side, he hopes to gain a deeper understanding of himself.

It wasn’t until he starting walking, and had time to think, that Pinch realized he had already accomplished his first dream. Time on the trail has allowed him to slow down and examine himself.

“I had a tough time to slow down and process, and go through the things in my life, because I was always a super, super busy person,” he says. “I worked days; I worked nights.”

So far he’s been blessed with good weather, good people, and just a few wild animals. One section, however, caught him off guard.

“Coming over Paleface Mountain [East of Chilliwack Lake] I wasn’t expecting there to be a whole bunch of snow. There was snow probably up to my neck. I had no snowshoes or nothing, it was nice and hard at least, but in the sun it was soft, and I dropped into a couple of wells and stuff like that,” he says.

“I had the trekking poles that are on the side of my bag and I bent one of them trying to catch myself, so I didn’t break my leg on the ice on the inside.”

At this point he knew he had to slow down if he was going to get through the section safely.

“I was in a rush to get down the mountain because it had taken me too long, and I didn’t want to be stuck on the top.”

READ MORE: Snow delays summer opening of Big White Ski Resort

It was on this mountain that Pinch also encountered two black bears. He saw two more once he entered into the Okanagan region.

He also came across another predator that wasn’t as skittish as the bears.

Pinch rounded a corner and saw a cougar stopped on the trail in front of him. After discharging a bear-banger, the cougar weaved from side to side, and disappeared.

“It’s been pretty epic,” says Pinch.

The view from Little Tunnel, down to Okanagan Lake, looking North. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)


Along the journey so far, Pinch has met some interesting people. Those that take the time to stop and say hello will hear his story; others who walk or ride past will never know.

“A lot of people, they think it’s an impossible journey, but realistically when you actually think about it, you’re just walking. And how much walking do you do every single day,” he says.

“Just go and do it. Because if it’s one of your dreams, you’re going to be working towards somebody else’s dream the rest of your life, so you might as well stop what you’re doing and do what you need to do, to get your dreams out of the way.”

Pinch has no plans of stopping once he completes the Great Trail. Next he hopes to take on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 4,270 kilometer trail winding down from the Canadian border, through Washington, south to the U.S./Mexico border.

“After all this is done, I think I’m just going to keep on walking.”

Throughout his journey, when he has service, Pinch updates his Facebook page, Stacking The Steps. Follow him on his adventures by clicking here.

READ MORE: Camps once housed workers along Kettle Valley Railway

READ MORE: Peace Arch Park to close amid dozens using it as loophole in COVID-19 border restrictions

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Outdoors

Just Posted

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

An e-scooter and a car bumper make for a narrow passthrough on a sidewalk out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on Wednesday, April 28. (Michael Rodriguez/Black Press)
E-scooters ready to roll in Vernon

Final bylaw changes in place to allow personal use and for companies to operate a rental program

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)
3 kayakers rescued near Lumby

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

The City of Vernon has submitted an application to the Transportation Ministry to install floats attached to a rope and buoys around a public beach and swim area. (City of Vernon)
Vernon applies to rope off designated swimming area at Hurlburt Park

Beach and buoys up for Transportation Ministry consideration

A kite surfer gets some help out of the water from his wife and dog after the wind left his sails on Swan Lake Monday morning. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Downed parachuter on Swan Lake just a novice kite surfer

Emergency calls were downgraded after reports of a downed parachute changed

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Most Read