REI presents Feel of Vision which shares Lonnie Bedwell’s story – the first blind person to kayak the Grand Canyon. He now works with disabled veterans to help them regain self confidence and self worth working through their injuries.
Lonnie Bedwell was raised in the small town of Dugger Indiana, and 1997 he was shot in a brutal hunting accident and was left blind. After losing his sight, Lonnie’s faith in his most basic abilities was shaken and depression started to weigh heavy on his life. One day at his home in Indiana his daughter offered to help him mow the lawn. They worked together to help him find his way and Lonnie started to see a future where he could take his life back. Eventually, Lonnie came across a kayak and fell in love with the challenge of white water. The rest is history as Lonnie set off for the west and became the first blind man to conquer the 226 miles of the Colorado River.
Lonnie has described his blindness as a wall that prevented him from moving forward, from living a full life. As he tells it, kayaking was the door in the wall that opened up to the whole world.