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!  

Family Surprise at the Takeout

Written by Ellen Weihenmayer: It’s fun and rather easy to surprise a blind guy. The kids and I hopped on a plane and flew to Flagstaff, Arizona. From there, we got on the raft guides’ bus and drove 6 hours to the take-out at Pearce Ferry. My friend, Kim, came along. Kim is our family’s cheerleader, starting with her film work at base camp while Erik was on Everest. Also, Erik’s lead climbing Sherpa and friend, Kami, met us in Flagstaff. Kami is “Uncle Kami” to our family. He helped us in the arduous adoption process for our son, Arjun. He’s always up for an adventure.

Kayaking Blind

Now that I’m home, I’ve had a little time to reflect on our No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition. Lonnie and I embarked on this journey as part of our No Barriers Pledge, our commitment to live a No Barriers Life. As two blind people, we understood that choosing to kayak 277 miles through the Grand Canyon and through some massive white water, wouldn’t be easy. Choosing this kind of path is never easy!

Side Hikes in the Grand Canyon

Side hikes in the canyon are one of the highlights of any trip. Check out this gallery of some of the favorites from the expedition.

No Barriers Kayaking Blind Expedition White Water Highlights

We have a new action-packed kayaking video to share with you! The team arrived home late Monday night, and they have been working hard on creating some new videos to share with the community. We hope you enjoy learning about how the team experienced white water on the Grand Canyon in the excerpt below. From Erik:  "For a sighted adventurer, the Grand Canyon is a visual masterpiece with huge chaotic rapids surrounded by steep rock walls tiering upward for thousands of feet.

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