Shipwreck to Triple Crown: Charting an Unlikely Journey

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would embark on the incredible adventure of the Calendar Year Triple Crown, I would have probably laughed!

Yet, here I am, with my life and adventure partner, Marie-Soleil, ready to traverse the most iconic trails in the United States, with our van serving as our base camp. This crazy idea didn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of a growing passion for thru-hiking, an encounter with my own limits, and above all, inspiration drawn from the feats of other adventurers who have gone before me.

The Birth of an Adventurer

My previous life, marked by a successful career in the video game industry, now seems to belong to another era.

At 45, I sold everything, leaving behind a comfortable but unfulfilling life, in search of deeper meaning for my existence. My journey began with an ambitious project to sail across the Atlantic, which turned into a nightmare when my boat sank, taking with it all my possessions. This was a decisive turning point, leaving me with nothing but my thirst for adventure. South America, where I ended up thanks to the cargo ship that rescued me, became my playground and rediscovery, where hiking became my new passion.

James' shipwreck

A Determining Encounter

Back in Montreal, I crossed paths with Marie-Soleil, a soul as adventurous as mine, sharing an unconditional love for hiking and the great outdoors. Together, with her children, we explored the Canadian Rockies, an experience that strengthened our common passion for hiking. It was in Alberta that I discovered the true call of thru-hiking by completing the Great Divide, then the Te Araroa in New Zealand, and finally the Pacific Crest Trail. Each of these experiences was a step further towards the realization that I could aim even higher.

The Role of Marie-Soleil

Marie-Soleil, passionate about hiking and vast landscapes, found in this project a way to fully embrace her passion. After three years of adventure in Western Canada, the decision of her children to return to live in Quebec with their father marked a new chapter for us. Taking a sabbatical year, she threw herself wholeheartedly into this adventure, becoming the cornerstone of our logistics.

Her role goes far beyond material support; she is my partner in every aspect of this journey, managing logistics, resupply, and our communications, while finding time for her own explorations through day hikes and backpacking sections with me. Her presence transforms every step of this challenge into a shared adventure, strengthening our bond and determination to succeed together.

The Ultimate Challenge

When I learned about the existence of the Calendar Year Triple Crown, the idea seemed unreal, and I could never have imagined accomplishing what Heather Anderson had achieved. Her feat seemed out of reach. However, after finishing the PCT in 107 days, facing a historic snowfall in the Sierra that made the hike particularly challenging and tested my limits like never before, I understood something important about myself. I realized I was ready. The CYTC, more than just a personal challenge, has become for me a quest for meaning, a way to push my limits further and fully live my passion for thru-hiking.

PCT Northern terminus

Why Now?

The timing couldn’t be better. With Marie-Soleil fully available, after her children moved to Quebec with their father, and strong from my experience on the PCT, I felt ready for this adventure.

Moreover, since I converted our van in 2020, Marie-Soleil and I had dreamed of living in it full-time.

Our van

Thus, we embark on this journey together, not only to achieve a physical feat but to forge stronger bonds, live our dreams, and discover every day what nature has to offer at its best.

Follow Our Adventure

Join us in this ambitious quest, where every day is an adventure, every trail a discovery, and every challenge an opportunity for growth. Stay tuned for stories of our adventures, lessons learned along the way, and of course, breathtaking panoramas that nourish the soul.

We are James and Marie-Soleil, two adventurous souls united by a common dream. Welcome to our adventure, the Calendar Year Triple Crown.

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Comments 4

  • Chris : Feb 8th

    I always enjoy reading about folks attempting a CYTC, it’s an amazing accomplishment. Best of luck to you both, I’ll be following along.

    • James and Marie-Soleil : Feb 11th

      Thank you so much for your kind words and support! We’re thrilled to share our journey and experiences as we tackle the CYTC. Knowing we have friends following along makes the adventure even more special. Stay tuned for updates, and we hope to keep inspiring and entertaining you with our stories from the trail. Best wishes on your own adventures as well!

      James and Marie-Soleil

  • David Odell : Feb 8th

    Good luck on your CYTC attempt. Will be looking forward journal. David Odell AT71 PCT72 CDT77

    • James and Marie-Soleil : Feb 11th

      Thank you, David! Your encouragement means a lot to us, especially coming from someone with such an impressive thru-hiking resume. We’re honored to have you following our journey and will do our best to make our journal as engaging and informative as possible. We hope to cross paths one day and share stories from the trail.

      Safe travels and happy trails,
      James and Marie-Soleil


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