Sunday at the Forks!

Only a couple of days now before the Byway Babes reach Winnipeg. They are expecting to meet up with some paddlers at Beaudry park on Sunday morning June 17 between 830am and 9am and then head on down to the Forks where they expect to arrive about 2pm. If anyone wishes to come down and greet or meet with them feel free to do so! I hope to get in the water with them before they reach the forks and paddle as well. They will be spending a couple of days in Winnipeg to do some organization before heading on back out on their quest to reach St. John NB.

They spent a couple of days in Brandon last weekend and Michael Lee of the Brandon Sun did an article on them while they were there. I have included a copy of it here.

Kendra Hurley, left, Rylea McEvoy and Claire Davis stopped at the Brandon Riverbank Discovery Centre on Saturday, two months into their cross-country canoe trip to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

In true Canadian fashion, three women from Winnipeg are paddling their way across the country to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis.

On Saturday, Kendra Hurley, Rylea McEvoy and Claire Davis — otherwise known as The Byway Babes — stopped in Brandon after spending the past two months on Canada’s waterways, travelling east from Vancouver in a three-person canoe to gather donations for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

McEvoy came up with the idea for a cross-country canoe trip as something she could do after high school with her grandmother.

She eventually pitched the idea to her friends Hurley and Davis two years ago, kicking off months of planning and training for the long road ahead.

"We originally thought it would take less time and then quickly, when we started doing research, we realized, oh, this is going to take a whole season," Hurley said.

Besides summer camps and the odd family outing at the lake, neither one had a great deal of experience canoeing, let along done a months-long tour across Canada.

To prepare, they spent months taking canoe lessons, bushcraft and wilderness first-aid classes, and working with a physical trainer.

They finally set out from Vancouver on April 7, spending a difficult first few weeks travelling upstream on the Fraser River, before hopping over to Okanagan Lake, paddling to Salmon Arm and then driving to Calgary with Davis’s family.

The three left Calgary on April 25 and have been on the water ever since.

"B.C. was more ceremonial," Hurley said jokingly about their first run.

Along the way, they’ve slept along riverbanks, in backyards and provincial campsites, stopping at times to knock on doors and ask for water, which people have been more than willing to hand out.

"Even just being from civilization," McEvoy said about the trip itself. "We’ve just been in the middle of nowhere, no service, no anything. Just on the river with the beavers," she said with a laugh.

They decided to use the trip as a way to support ongoing research for cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease with no cure whose symptoms include persistent coughing due to the buildup of thick mucus in the lungs.

Davis, who has cystic fibrosis herself, said she loved the idea of canoeing across Canada, but knew it would take a great deal of planning.

Despite being without her electric-powered compressor, which diffuses medication into her lungs, Davis said given the amount of physical exercise she would be doing, her doctor figured she wouldn’t even need it.

Davis brought oral antibiotics just in case, but so far, she has only had to use them on a couple of occasions. "All of the activity is really good for my health," she said.

Her fellow canoe-mates were also supportive of her decision to travel with them. "Her doing this kind of trip is amazing in itself," McEvoy said.

The whole trip is expected to take at least six months, ending in Saint John, N.B., and so far, their online campaign has raised nearly $3,000.

A helpful donation came in recently from UFCW Local 832, which McEvoy’s grandmother used to be a member of as a union representative.

Secretary-treasurer Beatrice Bruske said what Hurley, McEvoy and Davis were doing was an awesome adventure and something they would remember for the rest of their lives.

"I thought wow, that is incredibly inspiring for these three young women to do this," she said.

After spending the weekend in Brandon, the three hope to make it to Winnipeg the following Sunday, where they will rest and restock before deciding what route to take next.

People can track their progress at and the three say anyone is invited to paddle with them along the way.

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