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She has spina bifida and can’t walk, and he’s blind, but together they conquer the world

She has spina bifida and can’t walk, and he’s blind, but together they conquer the world

Melanie Knecht was born with spina bifida and Trevor Hahn lost his sight to glaucoma five years ago, but that doesn't stop them from climbing mountains together.
Melanie Knecht was born with spina bifida and Trevor Hahn lost his sight to glaucoma five years ago, but that doesn’t stop them from climbing mountains together. Source: @hiking_with_sight – Instagram/GMA

It’s a dynamic duo for the ages. This couple uses true teamwork to not only navigate life, but mountains as well. Melanie Knecht was born with spina bifida, and Trevor Hahn lost his sight because of glaucoma five years ago. But together, they’re climbing to the mountain tops.

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Every single hike is a training experience, regardless of difficulty level, length of the hike, or familiarity! We celebrated the Summer Solstice on Friday with a local hike up Horsetooth Rock. We didn’t make it all the way to the top, due to lots of rain and muddy/slippery trail conditions. Although we didn’t necessarily enjoy being soggy and cold, working through as many weather conditions as possible will give us more confidence next time, so we still count that a “win”! It was also a good reminder that you can never be too prepared!! Anyone else do some hiking this first weekend of summer?🌞 Happy Trails!⛰🥾👀 ••• Photo by: @dannywarley ••• (Image description: Trevor and Melanie in My Freeloader standing in front of a massive boulder surrounded by greenery, with ominous skies overhead, and Horsetooth Reservoir in the background)

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“It just seemed like common sense,” Knecht told “Good Morning America.” “He’s the legs, I’m the eyes — boom! Together, we’re the dream team.”

The two live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and met at an adaptive boxing class. They ran into each other again a few weeks later at an adaptive rock climbing class and soon learned of each other’s love of nature.

Knecht spent her childhood camping and exploring the outdoors, and recently went to Easter Island, where she was able to ascend steep cliffs in a carrier on someone’s back.

Hahn always loved outdoor sports and continued doing them even after he lost his sight.

The pair decided to get creative to get out into the Colorado wilderness. So Knecht, secure in a carrier, is hoisted by a friend or hiking partner onto Hahn’s back. He hikes along the trail while she gives him verbal directions along the way.

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Hiking at The Grand Teton National Park was both challenging and rewarding, and definitely our biggest feat yet.💪🏼 Honestly though, the hike wasn’t as difficult as the hoards of people we had to navigate around. We go a lot slower than most, and have to tread very carefully around obstacles on the trail, so we will pull off the trail to let other people pass us, which makes us go even slower. Since so many folks that visit our national parks aren’t “experienced” hikers, there seems to be an absence of hiking etiquette on the trail. Share your top hiking dos and don’ts with us!⛰🥾👀 ••• (image description: Trevor and Melanie smiling in front of Jenny Lake, surrounded by pine trees, with the snow capped Tetons in the background)

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“I describe everything I see and exactly how Trevor needs to move,” Knecht said of their hiking method.

The best part about hiking together, they said, is giving each other the opportunity to do what some would say is impossible.

“It made me so happy to help someone experience what I’ve been able to experience my whole life,” Hahn said. “Just getting on top of a mountain, a car can’t get to it, you just feel that sense of accomplishment. The best part is being able to make her smile. That gives me purpose.”

And Knecht is able to feel free.

“I’ve been in a wheelchair my whole life, and it’s an amazing feeling to leave it literally miles behind on the trail. I even couldn’t get in it if I wanted to, and that’s a great feeling,” she said.

Another thing they said they love about hiking together is that they say they don’t feel like a burden on one another.

Knecht said that there is guilt involved in asking able-bodied or sighted people for help and not being able to give the same back to them. With each other, they understand what it’s like to live with a disability and assist each other on the journey.

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✨GIVEAWAY✨ In ONLY 10 DAYS we are joining @arcteryxdenver and @theladyalliance at the Women's Empowerment Tour – Denver Edition for an evening of inspiration! We are one of 5 incredible speakers sharing stories of grit, determination, overcoming obstacles, facing fears, and self-love. We have a couple extra tickets, so we are hosting a giveaway! WIN A FREE TICKET by ✅liking this post, and ✅tagging someone local who would love this event! Tag as many people as you would like for more entries! Winner will be notified by Instagram message at 2 pm June 25! Happy Trails!🏔🥾👀 (Image description: Trevor and Melanie with Melanie’s black lab service dog, smiling on a winding trail surrounded by pine trees)

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“We go a little slower and need to take lots of breaks, but that’s what we both need,” Hahn said.

Because of their open-mindedness and creativity, they’ve been able to push past barriers. And they’re encouraging able-bodied people to think more about how they can find adaptive solutions for their friends with disabilities.

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Hello, friends! We are Trevor and Melanie AKA Hiking with Sight, and together we are going to hike a 14,000 foot mountain in our beautiful home state of Colorado. In 2013, Trevor lost his vision to glaucoma, but has since been guided up mountains all over the world using a bell/voice system. Melanie, born with spina bifida, uses a wheelchair to get around. Trevor and Melanie became friends through their love of adaptive sports, which gave them the idea of utilizing both of their strengths to get outside! Melanie is the eyes of the operation, guiding Trevor as he hikes with Melanie on his back! Stay tuned to see how we creatively overcome challenges and summit mountains! #hikingwithsight #noeyesnolegsnoproblem

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“Ask questions of people with disabilities, to see what they like and what they want to do. Don’t not include them because you think they won’t be able to do something,” Knecht told “GMA.”

Knecht and Hahn plan to take things to the next level and climb what’s know as a fourteener, a mountain that’s above 14,000 feet tall. They’ve been training and plan to ascend in August.

They’re proving to all of us that the sky’s the limit.

Source GMA


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