The two athletes that set off from Revelstoke last month arrived in Nelson after nine days of paddling and biking—a day faster then planned.
“The serenity of being that far in nature with nothing to focus on other than the task at hand for the day is something that most people do not get to experience. The mental break that this allowed me is invaluable,” said Tanelle Bolt, one of the athletes who lives in Invermere.
Both Bolt and Ethan Krueger left Revelstoke on July 2. The trip was 250 kilometres. Both athletes have severe spinal cord injuries and cannot walk.
The aim was to raise awareness and create a documentary exploring the idea of “what if.”
“People usually just see the chair and not the person that was before,” said Mike Riediger, executive director of West Kootenay Adaptive. He accompanied the two along the journey.
”As someone who has no physical disabilities, beyond being out of shape, pushing that distance in that short of time was tough,” said Riediger.
”Watching two friends who do have limited use of their bodies make the same trip under the same circumstances was really all it took to keep me going through the worst of it.”
Riediger continued that the film should break barriers, inspire those dreaming of connecting or reconnecting with the outdoors and show that people in wheelchairs can do “cool things.”
Prior to their accidents, the outdoors was a huge part of both Bolt’s and Krueger’s lives.
This trip, said Bolt, allowed them to make deep connections with each other.
Another aspect that stood out was the excitement shown by strangers and how their perspectives of people with disabilities shifted. “Right in front of us,” Bolt said.
Bolt said learning she was able to go above and beyond what she thought were her physical limits gave her hope for the future.
Having “half a body that you cannot feel or control” makes trips like this challenging, she said. Regardless, she would like to “absolutely” do something like this in the future again.
“Hopefully this becomes an annual trek.”
The Kootenay Adaptive Sport Association plans to go to Sweden this fall to attend a conference on physical activity, raising money to help cover the cost.
Donations are still being accepted to reach the goal of $15,000 to help pay for the documentary and the recent adventure by contacting email@example.com.