This Colorado pair brings new meaning to the word “determination”. When one couldn’t walk and the other couldn’t see, they teamed up to share their love of the great outdoors.
Melanie Knecht was born with spina bifida, so she uses a wheelchair to get around. Trevor Hahn only recently became blind after he contracted glaucoma five years ago. Both living in Fort Collins, Colorado, the two met at an adaptive boxing class—and they soon ran into each other again at an adaptive rock-climbing class.
They immediately bonded over Knecht’s lifelong hobby of camping and Hahn’s passion for outdoor sports. When she told him about her recent trip to Easter Island, where she got the opportunity to be carried on another person’s back, it was a “eureka” moment.
Even though his sight was gone, he’d been able to scale a Himalayan peak, using poles and spoken directions from his companions.
They started small, but next month—with her vision and his strength—they will trek to the top of a 14,000-foot mountain.
“It just seemed like common sense,” Knecht told Good Morning America. “He’s the legs, I’m the eyes — boom! Together, we’re the dream team.”
At the start of each hike, a friend lifts Knecht into a carrier on Hahn’s back. From that point on, she gives him verbal directions to navigate the trail. Since February, they have been sharing their hiking adventures on Instagram.
“It made me so happy to help someone experience what I’ve been able to experience my whole life,” Hahn told GMA. “The best part is being able to make her smile—that gives me purpose.”
In addition to this sense of purpose, the two share an understanding of how difficult it can be asking able-bodied or sighted people for assistance in everyday life. They get immeasurable satisfaction from being able to do this on their own.
“That’s the human spirit,” Hahn told Outside magazine. “If you want something bad enough, and you find the right people—who also want what you want—you can do anything.”
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Hello, friends! We are Trevor and Melanie AKA Hiking with Sight, and together we are going to hike a 14,000 foot mountain in our beautiful home state of Colorado. In 2013, Trevor lost his vision to glaucoma, but has since been guided up mountains all over the world using a bell/voice system. Melanie, born with spina bifida, uses a wheelchair to get around. Trevor and Melanie became friends through their love of adaptive sports, which gave them the idea of utilizing both of their strengths to get outside! Melanie is the eyes of the operation, guiding Trevor as he hikes with Melanie on his back! Stay tuned to see how we creatively overcome challenges and summit mountains! #hikingwithsight #noeyesnolegsnoproblem
While the two accept that others appreciate what they’ve been able to do, they’re not looking for accolades—they just want others to encourage inclusive and adaptive solutions for their friends with disabilities.
“Don’t not include them because you think they won’t be able to do something.”
(WATCH a video from Good Morning America) – Photos from Hiking_with_Sight on Instagram
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