5 blind veterans kayak the Grand Canyon, documented in Street View

5 blind veterans kayak the Grand Canyon, documented in Street View


LONNIE BEDWELL: Kayaking a river
like this, as a blind person, is a really
different experience. You’re running down
through the canyons, and you hear the roar and
the rage of the rapids, as you’re getting close to them. It’s like, well, I can’t see it. But OK, that one’s
going to be big. Yeah, that one’s
going to be real big. [SOUND OF RUSHING WATER] [MUSIC PLAYING] The Grand Canyon is the
ultimate kayaking expedition. It’s 12 days, 226 miles,
tons of light water. BRIAN HARRIS: This is the first
time five blinded vets are kayaking down the Grand Canyon. STEVE BASKIS: I stare
into a still, dark world. And that can make you
want to be stagnant. And it’s not what I want to be. I want to move. SPEAKER: Come on,
team, let’s go! STEVE BASKIS: We developed
this simple system for kayaking blind. My primary guide leading me is
creating this verbal reference point. RACHAEL WARD: Whatever noise I
make, they tried to follow me. Essentially, I am
a homing beacon. ERIC GUZMAN: The guides
are veterans as well. So you have that camaraderie. I’m helping other veterans
achieve something, and that’s like therapy for me. RUSSELL DAVIES: Nobody comes
home from war the same. We have physical
wounds in this group, but mental wounds, as well. We’re all healing together. Compassion is there. People are here for you. KATHY CHAMPION: Being
in the Grand Canyon is just a moment to absorb
and feel where you are. Feels like the river. TRAVIS FUGATE: We have
friends telling us about the geology and
the various colors. RACHAEL WARD: Reach up
and touch the canyon wall. KATHY CHAMPION: There it is. TRAVIS FUGATE: I told him
to tell me not what he sees, but what he feels. He told me he felt
insignificant. I knew immediately
what he was saying. LONNIE BEDWELL: As you
journey down the river, the rapids in the Grand Canyon
just get more and more intense. It can be absolutely terrifying. BRIAN HARRIS: You have to work
through this thing in your head where you’re going
to submit yourself to going through this rapid. [SOUND OF RUSHING WATER] In the military, your life
depended on those people around you. And that extends out here. RACHAEL WARD: A
little bit more left. BRIAN HARRIS: You’re putting
your life in their hands once again. And they got you. ERIC GUZMAN: There you go. Little bit, little bit. Right here, right here. Yeah, buddy. [SOUND OF RUSHING WATER] Yeah, buddy. Yeah, buddy. [CHEERING] STEVE BASKIS: Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Yeah, baby. When I lost my
vision, I had no idea what a blind person could do. I was the first
blind person I met. Being able to find
not just a sport, but a community, other
veterans, was life-changing. KATHY CHAMPION: I am
hoping that others realize that what’s
within them is bigger than their limitation. STEVE BASKIS: When
you come out here and you kayak the river like
this and work as a team, you tap into that resilience
and that courage that exists within you. LONNIE BEDWELL: It just gives
you the sense of belonging. Makes you believe that
you can do anything. [MUSIC PLAYING]