Eight minutes may sound like a long time but Wild Places takes four so I really had to focus on the balance. I focussed on my six favourite TrailRider pictures and wove a web around them.
This is what I said - unusually for me it is all written out. It was handed in early for translation..
Few walking tracks are too difficult for the TrailRider as we just saw. Provided you have the right Sherpa team.
Here we see a team of five – the rider/pilot/passenger is part of the team. Together they work their way over boulders, logs and steps. There is a lot of talking, a lot of trust, a lot of shared exhilaration when the top is reached.
Academic studies in Canada have explored the mutual benefit but clearly I am the winner. How else could I be here?
The real meaning to each individual rider will be as varied as the riders themselves but a recent outing for me in the Grampians National Park brought me face-to-face with this creature.
Strangely this Shingleback Lizard crossed the track just as I was telling the tale of a previous encounter.
I have read of a blind rider whose delight was the smell of the forest.
Which brings me to one of my all time favourite TrailRider pictures that doesn’t even have a TrailRider in it!
Canadian Pippa Blake and her fit and willing family made it to the Everest Base Camp in 2007.
Of course she needed her normal wheelchair in camp at night and of course it was carried by a Sherpa.
Parks Victoria have been amazing. As I act out my role of TrailRider Advocate I have interacted with parks organisations in other States. Parks Victoria are way ahead with their “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” focus, making disabled access a high and visible priority.
Behind this picture of Ros and me on the Great Ocean Walk, was Parks Victoria making sure that recent trail upgrades worked for the TrailRider
Which really brings us back to Canada and the beginning of the love affair. Ros’ picture of me, my son and his friend is the one we first showed to Parks Victoria
Having a TrailRider chair is just the beginning of the story. Sherpas, volunteers who are themselves bush enthusiasts, are an essential part of making it possible for the isolated disabled person to get out there.
This picture says it all. Pippa Blake again. Looking at this I feel a fraud on the Adventurers Panel. This is a real adventure - to be high amongst the glittering peaks. To breath the thin air. To be disabled yet enabled. That is the power of he TrailRider idea and the genius of making them freely available in Parks