Manitoba man begins Red River Trail trek to the US in an ox cart


While it may not be the fastest way to travel, for Terry Doerksen a trek across the border by ox cart is the way to go.

Doerksen and his wife Patty are heading down the Red River Trail in an authentic ox cart pulled by their shorthorn ox named Zeke.

As for why Doerksen is making the unique journey?

“The easy answer is I like history,” he said. “I like touching history and feeling it and seeing what they saw and experiencing what they experienced back in the day.”

Doerksen said his former boss made the cart with help from Armand Jerome, a Métis Red River cart builder. With the cart complete, Doerksen said he started training with Zeke for the adventure last year, beginning with the ox pulling a sleigh in the winter and the cart through the summer.

Terry Doerksen and his wife Patty are heading down the Red River Trail in an authentic ox cart pulled by their shorthorn ox named Zeke. (Source: CTV News)

The training has paid off, as Doerksen, Patty and Zeke headed out on their historical trip south. The trio plans to travel about 15 miles (about 24 kilometres) a day, following the Red River Trail, which dates back to Fort Garry and the Red River Colony.

“The Red River Trail was basically what enabled Winnipeg to become a city and, actually, at the other end St. Paul, Minnesota, to become a city,” he said.

It’s that connection to Manitoba and Métis history which drove Doerksen, who is not Métis himself, to set out on the journey.

“I love Manitoba history. I think we have one of the most amazing histories,” he said. “I don’t know if the other provinces compare or not, but to me, it just seems like there’s so much interesting stuff that has happened in Manitoba.”

He expects to reach St. Paul, Minnesota, by mid-July.


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