September 22, 2014
Day #16: Monday, September 22, 2014-Post Lava Falls We heard from the team this morning via text. They camped out below Lava Falls, relieved to have this section of the river behind them. The resting spot is called Tequila Beach. Go figure. Lava presented the team with some unexpected drama that can only be described as chaotic success. Michael Brown, our film director, has assured us of some good entertainment as he works to tell this story on film. Meanwhile, Skyler reports, “The last week or so has been very walled in, so dispatches have been guerrilla operations. Additionally as with any expedition, we are getting some weather and with production taking a lot of our efforts we have little time when it is safe to pull computers out.” Stay tuned for more updates. Lava Falls is one of the biggest rapids on the Colorado River. The team certainly took on all that No Barriers USA defines as the No Barriers Mindset. Since the start of the expedition, 52 people have pledged to live a No Barriers Life. Lets double that to 104 people this week. His own employee and teammate, Skyler Williams took his own No Barriers Pledge: to run thirty miles on his 30th birthday. We hope this blog written by Erik inspires you to take your own No Barriers Pledge. Take your No Barriers Pledge at: http://kayakingblind.nobarriersnetwork.org/take-the-pledge/ Look forward to more pledge stories like Skyler’s throughout the week. Skyler’s No Barriers Pledge: One of the crazy things about life is the number of barriers that are placed in front of us as we live out our lives each day. They could be uninvited barriers, or barriers that we choose to put in front of ourselves. Losing my eyesight was an uninvited barrier. Climbing big mountains, and kayaking fierce rapids is a chosen barrier. I like to think that I am living a No Barriers Life by not letting my blindness stop me from experiencing big adventures in the outdoors. If you choose to conquer that monstrous barrier that has taken up residence in your mind – that thing that seems incredibly daunting, that you fantasize about, that makes you feel wonderful when you finally overcome it- you, too, are living a No Barriers Life. It could be anything: quitting smoking, running a marathon, paying off your debts, writing a book, climbing your first mountain, traveling the world, or even taking that dreaded trip to visit your in-laws – the sky is the limit… and it may change the trajectory of your life. Nothing inspires or motivates me more than hearing about others choosing to live a No Barriers Life. That is why the primary goal of my upcoming kayaking expedition in the Grand Canyon is to motivate 1 million people to take a Pledge to live a No Barriers Life – to reach out a little more, take a risk, and challenge yourself to do something that would help you live a more purposeful life. One of the first to take the Pledge was one of my own teammates, Skyler Williams, who pledged to run 30 miles on his 30th birthday. This run took him on trails in the high Rocky Mountains, from Aspen to the iconic Maroon Bells to the picturesque ski town of Crested Butte. He was inspired to tackle this challenge after his friend did a similar 30-mile run for his 30th birthday. The run was very rewarding for Skyler, as he had a chance to connect with friends who ran with him. Of course, the rewards did not come without a fair share of challenges – aches and pains on the body, and mental and physical fatigue that inevitably occurs with running a long distance. Not only did Skyler finish this run, but when asked if he plans to raise the bar on what he just accomplished, he admitted that he would not mind taking on a “decade run” for as long as he can continue running – 40 miles at the age of 40, 50 miles at the age of 50, etc. When asked why he thinks others should follow his lead and take the Pledge to live a No Barriers Life, he reminded me that we do not need to have forced barriers in our lives to take on a challenge, and the challenges we choose to take on do not have to be physical in nature. Skyler says it best: “Do something you can do and choose to do it. The No Barriers Mindset is not about saying that anything is possible, rather that despite each of our unique challenges, if we engage the inner strength that has always been there, the courage to take action, then amazing transformation can and will happen. I want everyone to know that “what’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way!” Again, what’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way. That’s the No Barriers motto, and I want you all to remember that, whether you choose to take the Pledge or not. If you want to join Skyler, Lonnie Bedwell and myself in pledging to live a No Barriers Life, please visit our website www.kayakingblind.org. After you accomplish your Pledge, come back and tell us about your journey toward living a No Barriers Life. We would love to hear from you.