How Disability Advocates Are Pushing to Make Hiking More Accessible

“I wanted that self-reliance back, I wanted the safety nets removed,” he explained.

While Mr. Thomas believes the backcountry isn’t suitable for everyone, he thinks the outdoors should be. In 2013, he started the Team FarSight Foundation to help empower other visually impaired individuals to hike, climb and get outdoors.

Ambika Rajyagor, 26, of Chino Hills, Calif., loves hiking with her sister, Devika, 23. The pair have traveled to the Yosemite, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Parks, but sometimes struggle to find accessible trails.

Devika has cerebral palsy, experiences seizures and does not speak. She was able to walk until about five years ago, but now she is only able to control her facial muscles. She cannot control a motorized wheelchair and her family is unable to buy a wheelchair for different terrains.

If the sisters want to go on a hike, Ambika must push Devika, which is challenging because Ambika too has a disability, an autoimmune condition that affects her joints and energy levels.

On a recent hike in Carbon Canyon Regional Park in California, Ambika and Devika were testing out a new bright purple wheelchair, with thin rubber wheels that offered some traction. Even with better tires, the pair struggled to make it out of the parking lot, covered with chunky rock gravel, before reaching the hard-packed dirt trail.

“We’re not going to let the trail stop us,” said Ambika.

After encountering unexpected inclines on a short loop labeled “easy” by online reviews, Ambika had to rest. She took off her sister’s headphones, which had been blasting Devika’s favorite music from Taylor Swift, so that they could both enjoy listening to birds flitting around in a small redwood grove. Devika gave her a smile as they rested.

To Ambika, this moment of joy symbolizes the perspective that disabled hikers can bring to outdoor culture. While many outdoor enthusiasts have a mind-set of conquering the outdoors by doing increasingly challenging hikes on ever higher peaks, some disabled hikers often take time to just appreciate the outdoors.

Astronomy for Teenagers: Galactic Odyssey – Inspiring Tales of Celestial Trailblazers

This book, stemming from Prof. Robert Stewart’s profound engagement with Astronomy at U.C. Berkeley, culminated in the attainment of an Sc.D. in the field. Throughout his academic journey, a predominant focus on the historical discoveries of astronomers was noted, with a notable absence of insights into their personal lives. In response, the book aims to […]

Know More

Capturing Stories, Connecting Worlds: The Journey of Cade Chudy and 4th Shore Productions

In an era defined by fleeting digital interactions and ephemeral content, the enduring power of storytelling has emerged as a beacon of authenticity and connection. At the heart of this narrative tapestry stands Cade Chudy, the visionary founder of 4th Shore Productions, whose journey from humble beginnings to global storyteller is a testament to the […]

Know More

The Multidimensional Universe: A New Theory Unfolds

Scientists have long grappled with the mysteries of the cosmos, but a new theory might turn our understanding on its head. This bold concept suggests that the universe we know is just a fraction of a much larger, multidimensional construct where the fundamental particles of nature navigate through additional spatial dimensions beyond our perception. Enter […]

Know More