To Nelson from Revelstoke: by water and land

Both Bolt and Ethan Krueger left Revelstoke on July 2. The trip from Revelstoke to Nelson is 250 kilometres. Both athletes have severe spinal cord injuries and cannot walk. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Tanelle Bolt said she had never done anything like this before. Bolt learned that she was able to exceed what she thought her physical limits were. It gave her hope for the future. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Paddling across Upper Arrow Lake. (Photo - Jesse Schpakowski)
Ethan Krueger gets ready to bike. (Photo - Jesse Schpakowski)
The two paddled Upper Arrow Lake to Nakusp and attended a spinal cord injury retreat in New Denver, then continued along the Slocan Valley Rail Trail towards Nelson. It was 90 per cent off-road. (Jesse Schpakowski photo)
Participants in spinal cord injury retreat in New Denver. (Photo - Jesse Schpakowski)
Nine days later, they arrived in Nelson happy. They went from Slocan to Nelson in one day. (Photo - Jesse Schpakowski)
Bolt said hopefully this trek will become an annual event. (Photo - Jesse Schpakowski)

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.

READ MORE: Disabled athletes paddle and bike from Revelstoke to Nelson

”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 at GoFundMe or by contacting mike@kootenayadaptive.com.


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

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