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Original Issue

Blind Rapids

Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer (SI, April 23, 2001) first heard of Lonnie Bedwell, a blind Navy veteran, after Bedwell kayaked a 225-mile stretch of the Colorado River last year. Weihenmayer, 46, who is also blind, immediately invited Bedwell, 49, to join him on a journey navigating an even longer stretch of the Colorado, through the Grand Canyon, including Lava Falls Rapid, considered the most difficult section. On Sept. 27 the duo—and a team of guides—completed their 21-day, 277-mile descent, part of their shared commitment to transcend limitations and lead what they call a No Barriers life. "We want people to understand that this is as much about them as it is about a couple of blind guys," says Weihenmayer (above, right), who hopes their journey inspires everyone to take their own pledge to pursue challenges of all kinds. Sign up at