Team River Runner holds an annual July "Outtasight" kayaking clinic in Paradise Valley, Montana for blind and visually impaired veterans. Blind kayaker, Lonnie Bedwell, helps recruit veterans for the program and encourages them with tricks and tips he's learned along the way. Many of the 2016 participants haven't even touched a kayak before, let alone run whitewater. By the end of the week they are charging through the rapids of Yankee Jim Canyon on the Yellowstone River.
One of these participants is Mike Malarsie, a former Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) in the U.S. Air Force. In 2010 he was injured during a foot patrol in Afghanistan and now is completely blind. He heard about Lonnie's first blind descent of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in 2013 and was thrown back by the feat. As an adventurer, Mike wanted to learn how to kayak and finally found time to make the "Outtasight" clinic in 2016. He speaks of the trials and struggles of learning a new sport and brings to surface, a beginner's emotion towards the thrill and pleasure of kayaking blind.
You can learn more about Mike's story from his website here malarsie.com/ where he runs a podcast with his wife. They cover inspirational and uplifting stories.
I'd like to personally thank all the people of Emigrant, Montana and Paradise Valley that support TRR's Outtasight Clinic. You've opened your arms to this program and these veterans and it makes me proud to call myself a Montanan. Thank You!