Imagine waking up on the shores of Lake Powell with several ski boats, a quiver
of water skis, fishing gear, a canoe and a stack of kayaks at your disposal. Imagine shoreline feasts and music-filled nights by a campfire under desert stars. And imagine 10-15 like-minded individuals with which to share the good times. That pretty much sums up the Adaptive Adventures Lake Powell experience - a bi-annual journey integrating able and disabled individuals in all of nature's glory.
Our last journey included participants from Colorado and the Midwest joining together in southern Utah's spectacular Lake Powell for a week of skiing, boating, swimming, jet skiing, fishing, hiking, sight seeing and experiencing life. No phones, no TV, no computers, only a break from the daily routine. Adaptive Adventures utilizes of one of the premier adaptive boats in the region -- the now legendary MT Pockets. The 68' houseboat originally provided by volunteer George Coburn, sports two levels and room for up to 20 people to sleep comfortably. From its conception, MT Pockets was designed to be wheelchair friendly. With an extra-wide entry/exit ramp, a spacious main area, wide hallways, and a large, wheel-in bathroom, the boat is near ideal. The group of 13 included four paraplegics, two amputees, a disabled veteran, a CTRS, four adaptive program directors, and two boat drivers.
"We had four wheelchairs and no problems," said AA co-founder and program director Matt Feeney. The smaller boats are used for ski outings, sight seeing, and joyrides but offered a few challenges to the wheelchair participants. "Whenever there were issues, that's when able-bodied boaters would do lifts, help balance, or just do what is necessary," Feeney said. One of the volunteers was an accredited therapist from Chicago named Shelly Williams. Adaptive Adventures originally met Williams at a water-ski clinic in Twin Lakes, WI. "It was nice having someone with additional expertise there," Feeney said. All of the trips include certified and experienced personnel in first aid, CPR, and disabled recreation.
On this trip the disabled participants were all experienced athletes, although not necessarily on the water. Sarah Will lives near Vail and is an eight-time Olympic gold medallist in disabled alpine skiing. Before the Powell trip, she hadn't water-skied in years. Steen Seestedt also has experience on snow skis as a member of the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte. Tim Reetz is a disabled war veteran who years ago founded the Rocky Mountain Handicap Sportsman's Association - a precursor to Adaptive Adventures. Reetz still runs raft trips with Disabled Sports Rocky Mountain and has combined forces with Adaptive Adventures to recruit more people for whitewater trips in the future. After a day on the water and a homemade dinner (chef's responsibility rotated among the group), Will and Seestedt provided the soundtrack with a guitar and fiddle while others carried the rhythm section with makeshift percussion instruments. "The time of your life," Seestedt would proclaim when asked what time it was. Feeney said that the midweek timing prevented a lot of people who wanted to come from making the trip. "The goal was to just cover costs, and allow disabled individuals to share the experience," Feeney said. "A lot of people that wanted to go just couldn't make it." There will be a next year, though with plans for two trips annually.
The entire experience proved exceptional. Near perfect weather during the week offered numerous opportunities in water skiing, kayaking, fishing, camping, swimming, and an overall great time. From social to solitude, sports to sunning, Lake Powell held something for everyone. The highlight of every day may have been the evening campfire, which offered hours of musical pleasure under the stars.
This year through the thoughtfulness of our supporters, Adaptive Adventures has been able to purchase a share of "MT Pockets." We look forward to providing the Lake Powell Experience to individuals of all abilities, groups, and other programs for years to come. For information contact Adaptive Adventures at: 303.679.27770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.