Xena Szkotak passed through Revelstoke on March 19. She spent the next day resting, but left the day after. “Walking is addicting,” she said. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

Xena Szkotak passed through Revelstoke on March 19. She spent the next day resting, but left the day after. “Walking is addicting,” she said. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)

Edmonton woman walking 8,000 km across Canada

Xena Szkotak is hiking Highway 1 to raise awareness for MMIW

A woman from Edmonton hiking across Canada to raise awareness for missing and murdered Indigenous women recently marched through Revelstoke, B.C.

Originally, Xena Szkotak was planning to walk the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, but the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“My friend joked I should walk to Newfoundland instead,” said Szkotak, 24.

READ MORE: Where is the best pizza? Best coffee? Best bike trail in Revelstoke? Vote!

But the seed was planted and she left Victoria, B.C. on Feb. 24 aiming for St. John’s Newfoundland by the end of the year. She walked through Revelstoke on March 19. Her entire journey is approximately 8,000 km on the Trans-Canada Highway.

While the majority of the walk is funded through personal savings, Szkotak said she wants to take the opportunity to raise money for the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) through a gofundme.

The number of missing and murdered Indigenous woman in Canada is disproportionately high. According to the Assembly of First Nations, Indigenous women make up 16 per cent of all female homicide victims and 11 per cent of missing women, even though Indigenous people account for just 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population.

As an Indigenous woman, Szkotak said it’s important Canadians understand the extent of the crisis.

“There are humans our society is neglecting,” she said.

READ MORE: Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Not only is the walk to raise awareness, but Szkotak said it’s an opportunity to get to know herself. Previously, Szkotak had spent little time alone. Every longer hike she did was with someone else.

“I’ve realized I can depend on myself,” she said.

“I’ve become my own friend.”

Each day is spent waking up at 5 a.m., walking 40 km and when it gets dark, camping beside the road.

“My life is very simple.”

Since Szkotak has spent several weeks on Highway 1, she said semi trucks have began to recognize her on their frequent trips along the road. Some trucks honk, wave and even pull over to ask why she is walking.

“My only community the past while have been semi trucks.”

So far, Szkotak has walked through intense rain and snow. One night on Vancouver Island, she camped too close to the road and a passing vehicle splashed wet snow onto her tent, collapsing it and she had to dig herself out.

“It was a different kind of morning alarm than I was expecting,” she said.

Szkotak said she is really looking forward to the big sky of the prairies and warmer weather.

Due to large snow levels on Roger’s Pass, Szkotak got a ride to the other side of Golden, where the highway shoulder is wider and not rimmed with giant walls of snow.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Charity and DonationsSports

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those aged 40 or older

There are more than 70 pharmacies offering AstraZeneca, including 26 offering walk-in appointments

A child writes in their school notebook during a home schooling session in Cremona, Alta., Monday, March 23, 2020, amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students in Calgary will shift to online learning as of today in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Online classes begin for some Alberta students amid rising COVID-19 cases

Alberta currently has the highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in the country

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read