From the Grand Canyon to Mt. Everest, blind adventurer talks new book on Radio Times

 Erik Weihenmayer, author of 'No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon,' visits WHYY studios Tuesday. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Erik Weihenmayer, author of 'No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon,' visits WHYY studios Tuesday. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Erik Weihenmayer has mental visions of riding his bike when he was young; he watches himself chase neighborhood kids in the woods and swing out of trees.

He said he also distinctly remembers seeing the white board in middle school—but only it’s moving further and further away from him.

By the time he was about to enter high school, a disease called retinoschisis had taken Weihenmayer’s vision entirely.

“I remember waking up,” he said. “It was so weird to not to be able to see to take a step. And I just thought, ‘Wow, what comes next?’”

Despite his blindness, in 2001 Weihenmayer climbed Mt. Everest, and has since kayaked through the Grand Canyon and climbed the Seven Summits, the highest points on every continent.

Weihenmayer recently came out with a new book, “No Borders: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak The Grand Canyon.” His adventures for the last 30 years are the centerpiece for the new book, featuring his experience kayaking the entire 277 miles of the Colorado River.

Weihenmayer co-founded No Barriers, a nonprofit that provides programs for children and adult with disabilities, like a youth retreat in the Peruvian Amazon and white-water rafting, rock climbing and hiking expeditions in the U.S. for adults.

Click through to listen to Weihenmayer’s full interview with Radio Times host Marty Moss-Coane.

Weihenmayer will be speaking at the Free Library, Tues. February 7, at 7:30 p.m.

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