So I took a ton of photos at Zion National Park. Here are a few of my favorites:
First of all, I just think that these are really neat, and that Zion has some really interesting geography!
But I also wanted to show these photos to remind you that just because you’re physically disabled in some way, there are still ways to have adventures and fun. I do realize that there are people that cannot actually do anything at all, just stay at home and in their bed, in which case I hope that these photos might give them a little adventure. However, for those of you that can still leave the house, there are mini-adventures that can be had without much physical exertion.
Sitting in a car is difficult, especially for an entire day. When I have to do long car rides, I need pillows and jackets and blankets so I can adjust everything about the car ride (all can be shoved under my butt and behind my back so that I can adjust support, and they can all help regulate my temperature). For me, walking/hiking around a lot is very difficult now. Being able to just drive through this beautiful park, and not have to do more than stand for a few minutes (not even necessary, just allowed for better photos), was the perfect adventure. I had a lot of fun. I know Dan would have loved to go hike, but I think he was also content just seeing the park from the car. Please don’t let your physical disability make you give up on life: you can still have fun! You may not be able to do what you used to (I used to be an avid backpacker, hiker, rock climber, and casual biker), but with some experimentation you can figure out something.
Love getting outside but can’t walk much? Then take a drive along some side roads, that don’t have a lot of people, with the windows down and stop often! Even if you live in the densely populated LA area, there are places you can do that. Or go find a picnic spot you don’t need to walk far to reach, then go eat lunch and listen to nature!
Did you love going to zoos and museums (and do you have an able bodied buddy)? Call ahead and get a wheelchair reserved for your visit, then get your buddy to give you a ride!
Love backpacking but can no longer hike for very long and/or can’t carry a pack? Go car camping! Pack your car full of camping gear, then head off to a nearby campground where you can park right next to the tent pad.
Can you handle long car rides and love seeing extraordinary natural landmarks? You can drive through many national and state parks! Yellowstone has a huge figure 8 loop (and many super short trails off of it, several of which are flat and highly accessible), so big it really takes more than a day if you go slowly, that you can see many landmarks and hundreds of wild animals from. Zion has a short drive that goes through the south end, but still has some great things to see. I haven’t been through many, but I know there are tons. Also, tons of national parks are made to be handicap accessible!
There are always options. The key, I have discovered, is asking WHY you love the activity. Pick maybe the top 3-5 reasons why you love it, and see what you are physically capable of doing that fulfills those three things. If you can’t figure out an alternative, see if you can get someone to help you brainstorm! I promise, adventure is all around you and you can find it!