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.

Children of the Revolution

I’m now back from our memorable trip to Kazakhstan hosted by Eurasian Bank. When I fly halfway around the world for a speaking engagement, especially to a place with some of the most dramatic mountains in the world, I can’t help but get out and climb.

Kentucky School for the Blind & Kindred Healthcare Visit

Last Thursday,  I spoke at Kindred Healthcare’s Clinical Impact Symposium in Louisville, KY. After the conference, I was able to head over to the Kentucky School for the Blind to share and interact with some of the students. It was really fun getting to spend some time with the kids, and talk about my recent adventures but more importantly the No Barriers Mindset message. As a young person, really for us all,  life can be tough to navigate,  but especially being blind. I’ve taken my knocks over the years, bled along the way and had to learn to always keep reaching.

Veterans Day 2014

On Tuesday, I spoke at the MillerCoors Veterans Day remembrance in my hometown of Golden. Local WWII historian Greg Kyle, let me check out some equipment from the famous 10th Mountain Division, an elite winter and mountain warfare unit that trained  in Colorado during WWII.

Aloha!

On October 18th, I spoke in Oahu at  a leadership conference for Hawaii Pacific Healthcare, a group of hospitals in the Hawaiian Islands. I love their theme, “unprecedented collaboration” as they work to change the healthcare industry through the way they deliver care to patients. The next day, HPH sponsored a talk to the community at University of Hawaii, and despite an approaching tropical storm, almost 4,000 folks showed up. I was signing books and shaking hands for hours and loved hearing so many No Barriers stories from people of all ages and backgrounds.

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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