PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -
Twelve teens were doing a practice hike Saturday on North Mountain to prepare for a more challenging hike at the Grand Canyon, but what makes this hike more challenging for them is that they're all legally blind.
Alex Pushman with the Foundation for Blind Children, who is getting these kids ready for five days of whitewater rafting along the Colorado River and an intense hike out of the Grand Canyon, said, “Some of those hikers are totally blind which means they don't have any vision, but some of the other kids, they have some partial vision, so might have some peripheral vision or tunnel vision.
"So, based on the kids' needs, we have a guide set up where they hold the back of the pack ... and they're kind of the eyes for them on the trail. We're actually going to be doing the Bright Angel Trail, which the leg of it we're doing is a 7.7-mile hike straight up.”
Pushman said trips like these have been instrumental in encouraging legally blind kids to recognize they're capable of much more than they and others may believe.
“Seventy percent of adults are actually unemployed who are blind," he said. "So we thought, hey, if we start from a young age, show these kids that they're capable of anything someone with sight is capable of, it's a great way to build confidence and encourage them to let them know they're capable of more."
These 12 teens, along with their guides, start their journey June 4.