Everything came down to this final day, a last big push to the finish in Fort McMurray. After two slow days on the trails around Stoney Mountain - the weather finally improved dropping well below zero overnight and was forecasted to stay that way throughout the day.
Time to make up for the last two slow painful days. Time to bring it home.
I'm so glad we decided to leave ahead of Jessica instead of the usual camp tear-down in the morning after she was gone. We caught the most beautiful light coming through the last bit of the Stoney Mountain Trails before she crossed back into the Anzac Trail System.
Then we went back to camp to pack everything up and have our breakfast before setting back out to catch up with her near Anzac. It was still a 5 am wake-up for all of us and much colder than the last few mornings. Yet none of us seemed to mind so much with the prospect of getting home so close at hand.
Jessica made great time throughout the morning after we left her and made a pit stop for gas in Anzac. We caught up to her near the same point we found her on the first day - one of the long powerline corridors. She was making great time thus far! We pulled ahead to meet her for a pitstop at the next firepit. It was about this time that I started to get a few messages from people looking to be at the finish line to cheer Jessica in!
One of the biggest challenges of the entire weekend was Jessica's feet. With how soft everything was, the trails were unusually wet! Wet shoes, wet socks mean wet feet. We became pretty accustomed to seeing her feet at each pitstop so they could be dried off! Shoes and socks hung by the fire to dry every night. I also got my fair share of foot powder thanks to the wind. After a quick stop for her, it was off again, we were only a few hours from home at this point!
The trails near Saprae Creek and Draper signalled the end of the adventure was near. Jessica mentioned that it was all starting to feel a bit more real at this point as what she was about to accomplish started to set in! We didnt stop much through here as the trail is quite tight with few areas to safely park the sled and cargo trailer out of the way. We also didnt want to slow Jessica anymore from her big finish!
So, we went ahead to the finish line to let her run out the last few kilometers in total solitude and allow all of those emotions to come to light. We were greeted there by her cheering crew - a group from the local running community who had come out to show their support as Jessica brought it home to the finish line.
I was happy to see that it seemed like Jessica was realizing what she had just accomplished all on her own two feet. And how this adventure had inspired others within the Fort McMurray community through her actions. Emotions were high! Some tears were shed.
Hugs were had! She made it home - through some unexpected challenges!
200km, over 4 days, pulling a sled.
All on her own.
Congratulations Jessica - You did it!
Here is the long last day: