Extreme sports enthusiast Trevor Thomas lost his eyesight nine years ago due to an autoimmune disease. At first he was understandably depressed, but he decided that he wouldn’t let his blindness interfere with his love of the great outdoors.
With the help of his guide dog Tennille, a black Lab, Thomas has hiked nearly 18,000 miles since 2006. His trail name is Zero/Zero, in reference to his vision.
“I do hiking to see what’s humanly possible for a blind person,” Thomas told 7 News Denver.
What’s even cooler is that his hikes raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Thomas has already hiked the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. On June 19, Thomas and Tennille embarked on a 500-mile, 38-day hike along the rugged Colorado Trail.
“I use every resource available and all my senses to navigate,” Thomas told the Denver Post. “Everything in the world has a particular sound, and from those sounds I can get a primitive idea of what an environment is like.”
He said his current hike is the most challenging yet, particularly because of the potential for thunder and snow storms.
“I can get struck by lightning just like any other hiker,” he told the Denver Post. “I don’t have any storm super-sense. Snow is a blind person’s navigational nightmare. You can’t feel the trail.”
Tennille helps by guiding Thomas along the trail, around boulders and away from the edges of cliffs.
“She points out the things that can hurt me,” Thomas told the Denver Post. “She knows how tall I am and warns me about low hanging tree limbs. No other dog has been trained to do this before. She’s one of a kind.”
Thomas’ vision may be zero/zero, but he is still a visionary. Along with helping Guide Dogs for the Blind, he has launched the nonprofit Team Farsight Foundation. Its purpose is to “empower blind and visually impaired young adults while challenging the misconceptions the sighted community has toward the blind,” according to the website.
Photos via Facebook