Although there is a general increased awareness of disabilities in our society, in fact, many of us have disabilities that are not immediately obvious. I don’t generally think of myself as disabled, but I do live with TBI, from brain surgery, which has left me with many residual effects that affect my day to day life. The paralysis and fatigue I live with affect where, and how I choose to get outdoors.
As I read Marcy Marcello’s post (link below), I felt like I was reading about the hikes I’ve been taking the past 2-3 years to create the Easy Walks book series, as well as the hikes I’ve taken with my husband the past twelve years. All my walks follow the pattern described in Marcy’s post, (minus the hammocks–great idea!) describing her pilot project with Massachusetts Division of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to help people with disabilities get outdoors.
Marcy noted, “When I invited people who were ambulatory, interested in hiking and clamoring for more opportunities outdoors, I discovered that they all had a common disability – TBI! And it is interesting how they acquired their TBI – stroke, heart attack, fall in bathroom, hitting head while swimming underwater, and being bitten by a mosquito with EEE. Yikes! A good reminder that we are all vulnerable to TBI!”
What I’ve learned in sharing Easy Walks is that many people can enjoy these outings, regardless of ability. Rather than my disability creating a barrier, I’ve found that working with, in spite of, and because of my disability has enriched my life, and the lives of many others. It’s taken a lot of support from family and friends, especially my husband, who taught me to use hiking poles to gain so much independence on the trail. These days I’m even more determined to search out and point others to places they can enjoy together.
To read more: http://tinyurl.com/nr8bzqk
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.