Two athletes are currently paddling and biking from Revelstoke to Nelson, B.C. The catch – they have severe spinal cord injuries and cannot walk.
“I can’t make it through one Netflix show. I’d rather be outside,” said Ethan Krueger, one of the athletes participating. Krueger lives in the Lower Mainland.
Ethan Krueger along with Tanelle Bolt left Revelstoke on July 2, aiming to get to Nelson in 10 days.
The aim of the trip is 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.
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”.
For Bolt and Krueger, the outdoors was a huge part of their lives before their accidents.
“So, it makes sense that they keep at it,” said Riediger.
|Ethan Krueger along with Tanelle Bolt left Revelstoke on July 2, aiming to get to Nelson in 10 days. Bolt is in the front and Krueger is in the back, wearing a green life jacket. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
Neither Bolt nor Krueger have done a trip like this before. Although Bolt spends a lot of time on the water surfing, she said she has never used a sit-on kayak. But Bolt assured she will figure it out along the trip.
Bolt injured her spine five years ago, jumping 60 feet from a bridge into a river on Vancouver Island. When she landed, Bolt said she must have hit debris.
“Could have been something as small as a pine cone or plastic bag.”
As Bolt talks, the clouds begin to part and retreat into the mountains. Regardless, the forecast still calls for rain.
“It’ll be fine. We’ll just get wet. We’re not made of sugar,” Bolt said with a laugh.
Although this trip turned out to be a larger undertaking than Krueger anticipated he was “stoked from day one”.
However, there are a lot of unknowns on the trip, such as weather, overgrown infrastructure and trail washouts along the way. The trip will roughly be 90 per cent off road.
“We’ve shot a target on the wall and hope we hit it,” Krueger said.
|There are a lot of unknowns on the trip, such as weather and overgrown infrastructure along the way. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
The two will paddle Upper Arrow Lake to Nakusp and attend a spinal cord injury retreat in New Denver, then will continue along Slocan Valley Rail Trail towards Nelson. They aim to travel roughly 45 km per day and the trip will in total be 250 km.
“At times trips like this are hard. Maybe you’ll have a five minute tantrum, but then you carry on,” said Krueger.
“Life is for living.”
A zodiac is accompanying for support and to film. Riediger and another are also joining the two athletes.
Donations can be made to support the trip and filming by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.