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Backpacker Radio

Dec 12, 2022

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Niki Choo. Niki, alongside her partner, recently completed an expedition across Canada from ocean to ocean (Pacific Ocean in Alaska to the Arctic circle) via canoe. We learn quite a bit about what goes into this style of adventure, as this is our first interview foray into extended paddle adventures, including the challenges of canoeing upstream, through waterways with limited and sometimes inaccurate intel, doing so in such remote country, and much more. Whether you're interested in paddle adventure sports or not, we think you'll get a kick out of Niki's insane stories from this adventure.

We wrap the show with a preview of the 2023 Badger Sponsorship, a triple crown of hikes not on our bucket list, we have a couple of listener voicemails, including a Chaunce pat on the back for her improved comfort with poop talk, and more!

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Good To-Go: Use code “BF30” for 30% off at

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Interview with Niki Choo

Time stamps & Questions

00:04:45 - QOTD: Do you feel like you’re doing something incredibly naughty when you venture into the bakery section of the grocery store?

00:10:01 - Reminders: Badger Sponsorship launches on January 30, 2023 - subscribe to our newsletter!

00:11:12 - Introducing Niki

00:11:49 - How does someone get into whitewater kayaking at 14 years old?

00:13:38 - Tell us more about your background growing up.

00:15:50 - What makes Whistler such a special destination?

00:17:50 - Give us the basic plan of your trip and discussion about leaving Niki’s dog behind.

00:22:17 - How did you move if you didn’t ski?

00:23:42 - What were the weather windows and the mileage you did? 

00:25:20 - Were you the first ones to do this trip?

00:27:48 - What was the inspiration for the trip?

00:30:25 - Did you have experience doing pioneering trips like this before?

00:31:42 - Discussion about the length of days in the Arctic and sleeping in the light

00:33:30 - Discussion about wildlife

00:36:00 - Tell us about your gear and canoe modifications.

00:39:38 - What would you do if your canoe breaks?

00:42:53 - How did you go about finding emergency contacts in small towns?

00:45:35 - What is the culture like where you were?

00:51:37 - Tell us about the upstream section and returning to Dawson.

00:56:16 - What were some of the high consequence moves you had to make?

01:05:46 - How do you portage a 1,000 pound boat?

01:07:45 - Discussion about muskeg

01:10:24 - How did you ultimately get out of that situation?

01:11:22 - What did the route look like from there forward?

01:12:40 - Discussion about upstream paddling

01:17:50 - What did your diet look like on this adventure?

01:20:37 - What were some of your treat-yourself meals?

01:22:30 - Did you send a lump of coal to the person who gave you bad beta?

01:23:56 - Tell us about the scariest night of the trip.

01:33:04 - How well did you sleep that night?

01:35:17 - What were the redeeming qualities of the trip?

01:38:54 - How did your relationship fare during the stressful parts of the trip?

01:41:40 - The proposal story!

01:44:55 - Tell us about your startup.

01:47:48 - Do you have any ambitions to bring it back sometime in the future?

01:49:28 - Tell us about pingos and the effects of climate change you saw on your trip.

01:51:07 - Discussion about human behavior and helping the environment

01:54:17 - Any parting words?


MG Check-In

Stupid Thing of the Week

Trek Propaganda

Triple Crown of hikes NOT on our bucket list

Listener Voicemails (and leave us your own!)

Mail Bag

5 Star Reviews


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A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Jason Lawrence, Christopher Marshburn, Sawyer Products, Brad and Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Patrick Cianciolo, Paul Packman Sealy, Matt Soukup, Jason Snailer, Greg Mac,  Tracy “Trigger” Fawns, Mike Poisel, and Kristina Diaz.

A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Liz Seger, Cynthia Voth, Emily Brown, Dcnerdlet, Jeff LaFranier, Peter Ellenberg, Jacob Northrup, Peter Leven.