Blind Paralympian Shawn Cheshire hikes Grand Canyon rim-to-rim

Posted at 10:51 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 09:45:11-04

If you're a thrill seeker, like Shawn Cheshire, taking on the 42-mile trek that is a rim-to-rim (and back) at the Grand Canyon is the ultimate journey. 

But she does things a little differently. Instead of her eyes, her ears guide her up and down the canyon. 

"I listen to the bells, I listen to what they're telling me, I listen to where their feet are stepping," said Cheshire, who has been blind since a 2009 incident while she worked as a paramedic. 

She set out on the journey Sunday at midnight, along with 3 friends, acting as guides. 

"I know if she's determined to do it, she'll do it," said Jesse Crandall, who helped guide her up and down the canyon, using verbal cues, and wearing bells along his back, so she could follow the sound.

"Something happened to me that was very tragic, and it stole a lot of things from me that I'll never get back, but I had the ability to figure out a way to turn it and make it into something to help somebody, and that right there makes it worth something," Cheshire said.

The hike, dubbed one of America's most dangerous, took 24 hours and 15 minutes for Cheshire and her team to complete. When she did, she set the world record for the first blind woman to ever finish the hike.

She wanted her journey to be not only challenging, and historic, but inspiring to others who face similar limitations in life. 

"It's that self-confidence, self-belief, self-love, just getting rid of all the negative stuff and just really learning who you are and believing in yourself. Take life by the reigns and just drive it," she said.