Jeff Carlson wanted to see the view from the top of a mountain, and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him.
Carlson was born with spina bifida, which is an incomplete closing of the of the backbone and spinal cord membranes, and has been in a wheelchair his entire life. He’s never let that stop him from living life to the fullest, though.
When Carlson said he wanted to climb a mountain, his friend Damien Gilbert knew he had to make it happen somehow. Gilbert quickly organized a hike with 12 friends.
“Jeff and I talked about doing the adventure after a picture he’d seen of me on the edge of a cliff,” Gilbert said. “I told him ‘I’m going to carry you up there,’ so I did the next month.”
He said it was difficult to organize, but it was more than worth it.
Carlson was able to make it up the first part of Mount McKay near Thunder Bay, Canada in his wheelchair. He powered up the walking path with impressive agility until the path became too steep. At that point, Carlson got onto a wood board that his friends carried up the mountain. Eventually, the team made it to the top of the mountain where Carlson soaked in the amazing view.
“I am an adventurous guy,” Carlson said. “I have seen pictures of friends climbing the mountain and I thought it needed to be done.”
He also joked that he would like to get to the top of a taller mountain sometime. He’s a true testament to the human spirit.
“I figure just because you have a disability, it doesn’t limit what you can achieve,” he said. “I have always felt that my disability doesn’t limit me to what I can do, so this just kind of reaffirmed that.”