Blog posts in Kayaking

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Lonnie Bedwell

Lonnie Bedwell, a former Navy Petty Officer and submariner, was injured in a hunting accident that took his sight instantly. After raising his family, 13 years later, he was introduced to adaptive sports, learning to kayak by doing hundreds of rolls in the pond on his Indiana farm. Lonnie enjoys the wilderness to its fullest, fishing and hunting with his daughters on a regular basis. He joined the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition to emphasize the importance of supporting our veterans on their journey home.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Harlan Taney

Harlan Taney has made a life of adventuring around the globe. He has kayaked exotic rivers from China to Norway, South America to New Zealand. For the last 18 years, Harlan has spent his summers as a Grand Canyon river guide amassing somewhere in the ballpark of 160 trips down the “Big Ditch.” He has joined Erik for adventures from Mexico and Peru to the Salmon River in Idaho. Harlan served as Erik’s primary guide on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition. When he is not guiding, Harlan runs his own production management company, 4 Corner Film Logistics.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Timmy O'Neill

Although best known for his climbing exploits and comedic personality, Timmy O’Neill cut his adventure teeth paddling in Pennsylvania with his father. He is a founder of Paradox Sports, which improves people’s lives through adaptive sports communities. When he is not slack-lining or hanging off the edge of the Earth, he volunteers as an ophthalmic surgical assistant for communities in need in Asia and Africa. Timmy served as a guide and safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Chris Drew

Chris Drew started his passion for rivers at an early age on the rivers of North Carolina. He resettled out west and now works as a river guide in Colorado. He served as one of Lonnie’s guides on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Steve Mace

Climber, Skier, kayaker and adventure aficionado, Steve Mace, has been around the world with Erik, from guiding blind Tibetan teens on the North Face of Mt. Everest to rivers in Peru and the Western US. Steve served as one of Erik’s training partners, guides and a safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Seth Dahl

Seth Dahl is an Iraq War veteran, having served 7 years in the Montana 163rd Infantry. He spends his summers guiding river trips on Idaho’s Salmon River and winters shooting and editing positive and encouraging outdoor stories that highlight the complexity of the human condition. Seth was one of Lonnie’s guides on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Rob Raker

Rob Raker, affectionately called “Papa Duck,” met Erik on a chance encounter in one of the world’s most remote places, Antarctica. After meeting again while filming an adventure race, Rob and Erik became good friends and have rock climbed, ice climbed, skied, ice-skated, paddle-boarded, bicycled, kayaked and traveled to over a dozen countries together. When kayaking was only a flicker of an idea, Rob taught Erik to “Eskimo roll,” and was instrumental in developing the guiding system that Erik uses. Rob served as a guide and safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Reflection

Some of you know I celebrated my birthday in the Grand Canyon during our No Barriers expedition. What an amazing place to have a birthday party. That night, the team gave me some very meaningful gifts. Rob Raker laid out an exhibit with crazily-shaped pieces of drift wood he’d been carefully collecting throughout the journey; one piece felt like an old man’s staff , another like a bent arm and another like a cello. After that we sat in a circle singing and playing the drums, guitars, and shakers brought by our band leader, Timmy O'Neill.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Celebration

My recent No Barriers Grand Canyon expedition was my most physically and mentally challenging experience yet. It was a big stretch for me and my team. Throughout, there was plenty of fear, intensity, even some panic. However, there were also moments of joy and celebration. Now with the expedition behind us, it’s time to celebrate the journey and all the barriers shattered along the way. Many of you joined us by following along through our dispatches from the river, and some of you supported us by taking the No Barriers Pledge yourself, committing to your own No Barriers Life.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Expedition Recap Video

Our expedition partner, Nature Valley just put together an incredible short video clip as a summary of the expedition. Of course there is lots more to share but this encompasses a little bit of everything from the adventure. It even has the surprise finish that Ellen wrote about yesterday. Enjoy!  

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