Echo Location Part 1: Batman in Training

I love creating systems which break new ground. Lucky for me, an amazing sensory system for navigating as a blind person already exists. It's essentially what bats do, a kind of echo location, mastered by the guru, Daniel Kish. Flash Sonar is the name Daniel coined, in which you make sharp clicks with your tongue and listen to how the sound echoes off objects to figure out their size, shape, and distance. Most blind people have learned to do this to some degree, but it’s passive and not developed with a conscious process.

Diamond Down

Three weeks ago, I was in Phoenix giving a presentation and planned a kayak adventure on the side. Diamond Down is a 53-mile section of the Colorado River about 4 hours from Phoenix. It travels through the last stretch of the Grand Canyon and makes for a perfect day trip. It’s also perfect training for the longer 277-mile run of the GC that I have my sites set on for next fall. We actually had to cancel our first trip scheduled for mid-September.

They are back! REACH Pendants

Touch the Top announces we are selling our REACH Pendants again this year. Last year we took a big reach ourselves by embarking on this new venture, and it was so wildly popular, we’ve decided to bring it back for the holidays. All proceeds will go towards a scholarship for a deserving teenager to participate in a No Barriers - Leading the Way experience. These trips take teams of kids: blind and sighted, deaf and hearing:  on multi-day journeys down the Grand Canyon. The mission is to help youth learn to tap into the human spirit, push through adversity, and embrace a No Barriers Mindset.

No Barriers South Pole Allied Challenge Meets the Queen

It is utterly amazing to witness individuals who push themselves to show the world what determination, teamwork, and a common vision can accomplish. Imagine cross-country skiing nine miles a day with a total of 208 miles over the course of 16 days in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit and winds blasting against you at 50mph. To add icing on the cake, put yourself in the shoes of someone pulling 154 pounds on an arctic sledge with your eyes and hearts set on the vision of reaching the South Pole.

Third S2S Expedition Returns – Two Steps Upward, One Slide Back

A couple weeks ago, I returned from our third Soldiers to Summits expedition high in the Peruvian Andes, with 15 veterans, all with either physical injuries or mental and psychological trauma. I met the team back in August at the No Barriers Summit during their first training session. I got acquainted with Aaron Hale, blind for less than two years. Aaron was leading an Army bomb squad when an IED exploded in his face. It took out his eyes, blew out his eardrums, took away his sense of smell and fractured his cranium and face bones.

Now Two Blind Kayakers

Some of you have already heard that an amazing blind guy, Lonnie Bedwell, a Navy Veteran, just kayaked the Grand Canyon. He was part of a descent of the Colorado River with an organization serving veterans, Team River Runner. I’d heard of Lonnie and even met him once at an event for disabled skiers, and he’s humble, and down-to-Earth, as well as courageous.

Big October Ahead!

Today I am embarking on a month-long adventure in Peru. First, I’ll be joining a team of injured veterans as part of our third Soldiers to Summits expedition, set high in the Peruvian Andes. S2S is part of my No Barriers organization in which we use mountain journeys as both a metaphor and training ground for setting goals, building world-class teams, innovating through adversity and stepping up to lead and serve others again.

Breaking Barriers at the No Barriers Summit

I come away from every No Barriers Summit energized and inspired to double my efforts to build a community that has the tools and the mindset to break through barriers and make contributions to the world. The recent 4-day event at Telluride was no exception.  Here are my highlights:

Oregon Museum Exhibit

If you happen to be in the Portland Oregon area, check out the new Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It features the BrainPort device that I have been testing to let me "see" using a sophisticated camera and tongue display. Here are some photos of the display.

Are you coming to Telluride?!

The No Barriers Summit is just weeks away and I'm getting excited! The line up of speakers, scientists, and entertainers is incredible. This is an event for the whole family, with lots of adventurous activities in beautiful Telluride, Colorado. As a bonus, you'll save $25 per person if you register before August 1st. You really need to be here August 8th through the 11th! Here are some of the highlights:

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