In summer of 2016 my friend and I decided to take a road trip for 2 weeks traveling across the country. We started in Michigan and made our way out to California all while living out of our car for the whole time. The trip was adventure and a challenge not only to live out of the car the whole time, but to do it all while while being paralyzed from the chest down and using a wheelchair as a mean to get around.
We began the trip by first stopping in Denver followed by Vail before making it to Utah. There we visited 4 of the big 5 national parks. First stop was Arches National Park followed by Capital Reef, Bryce’s and then to end Utah in Zion. Zion was definitely one of the highlights of the trip and also one of the greatest hikes I had ever done. My friend helped to make it possible for me to experience Angel’s Landing. We spent the morning hiking up the many switchbacks. With his help I made it up to the chains which was upwards of a 700 foot elevation change. From there he continued on to the peak where I embraced the morning sunrise over the valley. All the while people looked at me in amazement as to how I had made it so far up the trail. From this point in the trip we continued back down the trail and made our way to Las Vegas for our next location and stayed there a few nights to finally get some showers and other much needed essentials.
Following Vegas we made our way to Sequoia National Park. Hiking throughout those giant trees was one of the coolest places I have ever been and it was unbelievable to hear they were 3000 years old surviving all the forest fires that had passed through. Next stop was Kings Canyon and then onto Yosemite national park. In Yosemite we checked out glacier point and swam at the base of El Capitan. All of this time along the way we were finding random Walmart parking lots or vacant camp ground sites to sleep at in the car to save money. Following those we went to Lake Tahoe where we did some cliff jumping at angora lakes for the afternoon. Our last couple stops landed us in the salt flats for one afternoon where we could see the endless white desert. Then we headed back to Colorado and stayed at winter park for an evening and finally hiked to the top of some trails in Rocky Mountain National Park before going back to Michigan.
The trip as a whole was one I will never forget. It was something I never imagined being able to do with a disability but in the end we found a way to make it work. There were a few challenges along the way and sleeping two people in a mini van with all of our stuff definitely wasn't the easiest task but the trip was once in a lifetime. I finally had a chance to experience out west and see the beauty of our country and I in the best way possible as a road trip. This is a trip I would do again in a heart beat and I recommend to anyone else to go experience western United States.