DENVER— This month blind hiker Trevor Thomas and his black lab Tenille will take on the Colorado Trail, a 500-mile adventure stretching from Denver to Durango. Thomas says he plans to accomplish this trek in about 38 days, something that would have been hard to do without the help of his beloved black Lab.
Thomas says that Tenille is the only guide dog who has been dually trained for these long hard treks. She performs all her regular duties as a guide dog for the blind and has a special set of skills to navigate the back country.
“Getting Tennille was probably the best decision I’ve made since going blind. She has changed blindness from a negative to a positive, especially in my interaction with people. Tennille’s not only a guide, she’s a friend.”
Thomas has always been an adrenaline junkie, pursuing high-risk sports such as skydiving, back-country skiing, distance running, extreme mountain biking, and even racing Porches. He lived his life to the fullest every single day until one day in 2005 when he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable eye disease called Atypical Central Serous Chorioretinopathy. Over a period of 8 months, he lost his sight completely.
The world as he knew it would no longer be his playground. He had to relearn all the basic skills adults need to take care of themselves while also figuring out how to make a living and be independent. Feeling an immense loss of self-worth and spending many months battling depression, Thomas decided that he had had enough of it. Not knowing exactly how to move forward, he pushed aside the limitations society had placed on him and decided to start living his life again.
When a friend recommended hiking as a way to regain his independence, he decided to immerse himself in it. After many visits to his local outfitter and a year of prep, he decided to hike the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail and in 2008, he became the first blind man ever do to so on a solo trip.
“My thru-hike started as a way for me to regain my independence after losing it to blindness, but along the way I found that people considered what I was doing to be inspirational. It gave me a chance to educate those that I met both about blindness and about being blind.”
Since 2008, Thomas has hiked more than 18,000 miles on many of the most rugged, remote trails in North America. Difficult Trails such as the 2,654 mile Pacific Crest Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and Mountains To Sea Trail proved no match for him. He even scaled the summit of Mt. Whitney.
This inspiring pair plans to update their progress on Social Media during the hike so you can follow along with them. Be sure to visit Trevor’s Facebook Page or visit Trevor’s Website to read his bio and learn more about this daring duo and their fantastic adventures in the wild.