Russia is making way for disabled=

Russia is making way for disabled travelers in 2014!
Photo by: Gordana Mirkovic (Stock Exchange)

Hello and welcome one and all to the Disabled Travelers blog.

Our friends out there on the internet know the drill: once a month, we celebrate another set of blog adventures by providing you, the home viewer, with the latest news in accessible travel.

It’s a tradition we’ve had for a while and there’s always something new to report, whether it’s brand new disabled hotels or tips to help you and your travel companions on the next journey.

This month brings us from the desert to the tundra, so let’s get started!

This one is really amazing … quadriplegic farmer on 4wd wheelchair desert trek. Rob Cook is a farmer from Australia who was left paralyzed in a helicopter accident. He was a rodeo champion and still is a highly active guy … and he just proved nothing will stand in the way of his adventuring spirit. Equipped with a custom, all-terrain wheelchair (where Mother Nature “hammered” him for three weeks!) he traveled over 450 miles through the heart of the Australian desert in 24 days. Kudos, Rob!

We’ve talked about Israel in a bunch of posts, and by now you probably know that the modern country with ancient landmarks provides a few challenges for disabled travelers. But that’s okay, as retired U.S. Air Force Reservist Rick Huntress and his group of 17 — five in wheelchairs – will tell you. Israel Proves Accessible for Tourists in Wheelchairs, says the encouraging headline, and you can visit Continental News for the full story on that trip. Very inspirational, and the result of two years of planning, no less!

Did you know there’s a Winter Paralympics? We’re all probably familiar with the Summer Paralympic Games, but there’s a winter competition, too. It’s coming up in 2014, in Sochi. A Russian city on the shores of the Black Sea is the latest international locale to receive that great accessibility boost that comes from hosting an athletic event like this one. Hopes are high among locals, too, as The Telegraph reports: Russia’s Disabled Hope the Sochi Paralympics Will Bring Down Barriers. As we’ve seen in Beijing and a bunch of other places, they have good reason to be hopeful!

That’s it for today’s Disabled Travelers News Round-Up! Next week we’ll be back on the road as we start to wind down our Best Places to Retire access guide series. But don’t be shy; remember that if you have a news item related to disabled travel, I want to hear about it! You can always catch me by replying to a recent post or even send me an email at Please remember to send twice if you don’t hear back … we get a lot of comments, but a lot of spam! Thanks for reading, and adventure on!


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Comment by Michael Redmond

Posted on July 15th, 2011

Crotched Mountain Foundation and Rehabilitation Center, located in Greenfield NH, recently dedicated the longest fully-accessible trail system in a mountainside environment in America. The culmination of a three-year project, over two miles of trails were designed by renowned trail builder Peter Jensen with a goal of providing universal access to people of all ages and abilities. The new trails are fully compliant with the outdoor trail accessibility standards adopted by the U.S. Forest Service.

Two distinct trails provide diverse outdoor experiences. One rises 200 feet in elevation to a highland knoll that provides panoramic views of the Monadnocks, the Contoocook River valley, Western Massachusetts and the Uncanoonuc Mountains in Goffstown. The second trail meanders through a variety of forested and wetland areas, where viewing platforms allow observation of wildlife including beaver, deer, moose, bears, porcupines and many other upland species.

“Experiences like this are usually unavailable to people who rely on wheelchairs and other aids for mobility or who have other physical impairments,” said Don Shumway, president of Crotched Mountain. Shumway sees another important aspect to the new trail system. “As our population ages, more and more seniors will want access to outdoor recreation activities at a level that’s appropriate for them,” he said. “This new trail system provides that.”

USA Today named the opening of these trails one of the top ten travel news stories for July.

More information about the trail can be found on Crotched Mountain’s website.