Exactly what it means to be the country’s greatest explorer in the eyes of the outdoor equipment company is still something of a mystery. What’s important to know right now is that if either of the locals is going to make to the next stage where they actually get to compete, they’re going to need your vote.
Both Deon Dicks and Justin Barbour of Newfoundland have been chosen as possible contestants and each has a video on the woodsexplorer.ca website highlighting who they are and why they are a candidate for the explorer championship. Their videos are up there along with others that showcase people from all over Canada.
Dicks is from Middle Arm and has been a guide in both this province and Yukon for years. His name may be familiar to some people as the host of hunting videos “Huntin’ on the Rock” and “Newfies in the Yukon.” He guides people on moose, black bear and grizzly bear hunts.
One of his greatest memories of exploring the outdoors was on a moose hunt in the Yukon when a client had shot a moose.
“We didn’t know it but he fell down there and a grizzly was just wandering through the woods,” says Dicks.
“As soon as we walked up beside this moose, these trees started to shake.”
A grizzly stood up alarmingly nearby and was puffing at the hunters. He eventually stood down and left the area.
“It was a bad scare,” says Dicks.
Barbour is a little newer to the outdoor life although he’s certainly pushed himself in the five years or so he’s really been at it.
“I just love the outdoors,” he says.
One of his larger trips so far was from Trepassey to the Salmonier Line, covering about 120 kilometres in two weeks. He’s currently a teacher in Cartwright, Labrador.
The 12 people whose videos get the most votes will start to get into the actual competitive outdoor activities. One set of activities will take place in Ontario, then Quebec and finally Alberta. They’ll take place throughout May and June.
Neither Dicks nor Barbour are sure what the competitive challenges will involve, but both think the challenges might be a little different than what the two consider to be outdoor exploration.
“You never know. These guys are from Toronto. So I don’t know what kind of challenges they’re gonna be,” says Dicks.
Barbour has similar feelings.
“I’m more of a bushwhacker. I like doing the rough stuff. I don’t really know if that’s the direction they’re going in.”
Right now the challenge is to get people to vote, which people can do at woodsexplorer.ca until May 11. Whoever wins the final challenge gets the title of Canada’s Greatest Explorer. Perhaps more appealing is the $25,000 that comes with it.