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Hiking and paddling six days a week for five months to get from British Columbia to Newfoundland might not be how everyone wants to spend their summer vacation, but it’s “totally” up Karen Simpson and Jeff Bauer’s alley.
That’s why the Beach-area couple has applied for Woods Canada’s Dream Job competition. If they’re hired as the contest-winning brand ambassadors in early May, Simpson and Bauer will immediately be whisked off to British Columbia to hike, paddle, climb and camp their way across the 17,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail.
“We are a little bit crazy and we like to show it,” Bauer told the Star Thursday, nearly a week after the outdoor equipment company stopped accepting applications.
The couple, who “are not as married as you can get,” but have been together 14 years and raised a blended family of four kids, do “show it” in their one-minute application video. Simpson sings a self-written ditty and they both perform a series of wacky dance moves on a portion of trail by their house.
The Dream Job contest pays $20,000; Woods Canada will cover the cost of all related travel, accommodations and apparel, and will give winners a stipend of $300 a week per person to cover food, beverages and miscellaneous items.
If Simpson and Bauer win the contest, which would see them travelling until the end of September, it will be the couple’s first extended trip on home soil.
“I’ve always looked at going outside of Canada to find adventure — never really considered inside Canada,” Bauer said. “But as we are getting educated about this trail, I’ve become very excited to see some of the beauty.”
The Trans Canada Trail was launched in 1992. Since then, volunteers have developed more than 17,000 kilometres of multi-purpose recreational trail from Clover Point on Vancouver Island to St. John’s, Nfld., according to its website. It’s only 75 per cent connected at the moment, but the non-profit registered charity behind the trail is hoping to get it fully linked in time to participate in Canada’s 150th birthday festivities.
The winning pair will not travel all 17,000 kilometres in five months, said James Prescott, the associate vice-president at Woods Canada, but will cover about 14 segments.
An outdoorsy and outgoing pair willing to share their journey with other Canadians through social media is what the company is looking for, Prescott said. It’s going to be tough to whittle the list down to two, he admitted; the company received more than 3,800 applications from across the country.
The main objective isn’t merely to test the company’s gear, but to give two Canadians a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with their country’s natural side, Prescott said.
“There’s no question this is a serious test, but this is about the journey.”
The couple thinks they’re the “perfect” choice. One thing they believe sets them apart from other teams is an unlikely characteristic: their age. The couple says they have yet to see any other video applications from others in their early 50s.
“We know what it’s like to take kids on hiking adventures and expose them to things and take them camping,” Simpson said. “Now we’re at the other end of life, where we want to stay fit and we want to take travelling to a different level.”