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Blind Athlete Achieves Dream: Hiking Grand Canyon

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Blind Athlete Achieves Dream: Hiking Grand Canyon


Blind Paralympic bicycle owner Shawn Cheshire, 43, lately confronted her largest problem — a rim-to-rim hike throughout the Grand Canyon.

Cheshire crossed 68 kilometers of steep and asymmetric terrain, mountaineering throughout the night time and finishing in 24 hours and 15 mins — believed to be a report through a blind hiker.

“The last couple of years, I’ve been on this desperate purpose of grasping as much independence as possible,” Cheshire said. “And so for me, being able to walk in the Grand Canyon like that, that’s freedom.”

Cheshire lost her sight after an twist of fate 9 years in the past and grew to become to athletics.

“I was in a really dark place and hated being blind.” But she mentioned sports activities and bodily demanding situations gave her “another opportunity at living.” She competed within the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and hopes to compete in Tokyo in 2020.

In the interim, Cheshire was once made up our minds to finish this difficult hike.

“I had a huge ball of emotion welled up in my chest — like I cannot believe we just did that — and just (felt) gratitude,” she mentioned.

FILE – In this Oct. 5, 2013, report picture, the Grand Canyon National Park is roofed within the morning daylight as noticed from a helicopter close to Tusayan, Arizona, Jan. 19, 2018.

​She completed the difficult hike on Oct. 8. Three buddies helped her whole the trek, serving as guides and caution of hindrances as they labored to set a report.

“We literally smashed it,” recalled information Sara Schulting-Kranz, “including going up the north rim and down the north rim, the entire thing. Every trail that we were on, I’ve never actually gone that fast on,” she mentioned.

It is assumed that the former report through a blind hiker was once set in 2014 at 28 hours. Cheshire beat that mark through just about 4 hours.

It was once an workout in teamwork. Cheshire and her guides walked a number of paces aside. She listened for warnings of hindrances from her teammates and monitored the bell that the lead hiker wore, which sounded as they walked. She used mountaineering poles for stability.

It was once a adventure of discovery for the four-person group.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” mentioned Scott Drum, a pal of Cheshire’s and a information at the trek. “I learned a lot more about the canyon,” he added.

For Cheshire, it was once a big accomplishment at the highway to others. In addition to biking and mountaineering, she runs, skis and rock climbs.

“I’d like to figure out everything a blind woman has never done, and I would like to do that.”



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