Canadian cowboy's 7,000-kilometre trek through South America comes to an end

USHUAIA, ARGENTINA—Prior to starting this Long Ride, I had a deep premonition I would die in the saddle. Nightmares in which I was catapulted off a bridge, hit by speeding cars or lost on the frozen Patagonian highlands, starved and dehydrated, kept me awake for months before my journey began. I never shared these thoughts before because I feared that admission would make them true. I had already successfully made a much longer journey — 16,000 kilometres from Calgary to Brazil in 2012-14 — but a shadow of fear seemed to loom over me as I planned for this ride through South America.Then I signed on to support the Barretos Children’s Cancer Hospital and I was able to push off these shadows. The faces of the children I met were beams of light. There was no way I could not go. So last year, on a sunny and hot April 10, I saddled up my Brazilian mounts, Life and Doll, and, with my childhood friend Mark Maw from Canada driving the support vehicle, we set out from Barretos, Sao Paulo, with more than 7,000 kilometres ahead of us. Article Continued BelowOur ride south through Brazil was one huge party. Every day a different rancher welcomed us with meat, beer, whisky and unbelievable gifts: two colts, six knives, 10 cowboy hats, four pairs of boots, too many plaques to count and even a rooster! But the wonderful welcomes I received also made my ride a draining experience. Nearly every night I was in paradise drinking cervejas and telling stories until 2 a.m. Every morning was hell. In the beginning: Filipe Masetti Leite starts his epic Long Ride in Brazil in April, 2016.   (Photos by Filipe Masetti Leite)  In the northern part of Parana state, a family stopped me at the side of the road and asked to take some photos. They had been following me on social media.