Sapito had fought too hard to get us this far for me to quit now. Picasso and I would ride the final stretch of this journey for him!
As fate would have it, the final 100 km of the Americas held the biggest test of the journey – Paso Garibaldi. The final time we would cross the Andes cordillera took us up to 450 meters above sea level. Riding up a narrow road, with a frozen rock cliff to our left and a precipice to our right, switch backs making it impossible for cars to see us, a police truck followed close behind for our safety. To add to the difficulty and danger of the crossing, a torrential rain, completely unheard of in winter, fell over us the entire day.
With Sapo’s halter tied to a mesh on Picasso’s mane, hanging on the saddle horn, I asked for his protection during the entire ride. I know he was there with us. I could feel his warrior spirit.
By the time we finished the gruelling ride I was drenched and close to hypothermia, but we did.
On a gloomy Saturday, July 8, exactly 5 years after leaving the Calgary Stampede, with family and friends from Brazil, Canada, the United States, and Argentina waving me in, I arrived in Ushuaia – the end of my journey and the literal end of the world.
With the Beagle Canal behind me, I stepped off Picasso’s back and holding Sapo’s halter with my right hand, I thanked my horses. Heavy tears ran down my face while I looked up at my beautiful pony.
Feeling like I had removed a piano off of my back I stood and embraced my new brother Toti, gave Clara a warm kiss and then hugged my family. After everything we faced these past 16 months, after losing my son Sapo, after so many days suffering, their love is all I wanted.