Monday, July 22, 2013

Too Tame for Eric

Eric Weihenmayer (left; back to camera) with uncles and nephews
Kali and I had the privilege of walking three miles in my preserve with blind adventurer Eric Weihenmayer yesterday.  Eric is the nephew of one of my board members; he was in town with his wife, daughter, and adopted son for a family reunion.  We were joined on our walk by several uncles, nephews, and nieces.

Eric, who has been blind since his early teens, has climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents, including Mt. Everest.  He is planning to kayak through the Grand Canyon when he can find a radio communication system reliable enough to allow him to negotiate the rapids with the guidance of coaches traveling with him.

Eric is a motivational speaker and a mentor to other people with handicaps.  This is the second opportunity I've had to walk with him; he's very knowledgeable about the natural world (but not terribly familiar with the flora and fauna of the mid-Atlantic since he has relocated to Colorado) and - as you might imagine - extraordinarily self-reliant.

We had a good walk, but the biggest challenges I could offer Eric were a few muddy spots in an otherwise mostly smooth trail.

Eric (left), holding his daughter's shoulders, and flanked by his wife and adopted son (in a brown t-shirt)


packrat said...

Eric must be one inspirational guy, Scott; that's quite a resume he's got. By the way, I absolutely love your second photo here.

Scott said...

The kids were mugging for the camera wielded by one of their uncles; I just took advantage of the fact that they stopped moving for a second to snag an image, too!

Mark P said...

Eric makes me feel inadequate.

robin andrea said...

That is so incredibly cool. I can't imagine climbing the highest peaks even with perfectly good eyes. What an amazingly adventurous and powerful person. Such fortitude.

Scott said...

Mark: Eric would make almost anyone feel inadequate. He's a wonderful person with whom to share a walk because he's so grounded and self-effacing. I appreciate the time that I can spend with him.

Kali believes that Eric's exploits may put others at risk because he needs to rely on the help of other people so completely. I wonder, though, if it's just "sour grapes" on her part.

Scott said...

Robin Andrea: I'm told that Eric's plans for the Grand Canyon transit are profiled in the latest issue of "Outside" magazine; I haven't seen the issue yet. He truly is an amazing--and amazingly approachable--person.