Participants, wearing life vests and safety helmets, hold kayak paddles up in a celebratory salute

Mission Accomplished: Wounded Warriors Beat the Heat in Colorado

LivAbility Magazine

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Mission Accomplished: Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Rise to the Challenge

By Sarah Olson, Military & Membership Coordinator, Ability360

Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center’s Beat the Heat program challenged Wounded Warrior Project Alumni to put their best foot forward. Alumni were challenged to scale the 35-foot rock wall, kayak with Daring Adventures, spend time in the pool, participate in a wellness class and volunteer 40 hours with an organization that assists veterans. Beat the Heat challenge winners’ payoff was a week in Telluride, Colorado, with Telluride Adaptive Sports Program to enjoy outdoor activities in the cooler temperature.

Alumni arrived in Telluride on Saturday with enough time to unpack and unwind before the week of activities began. Sunday, Alumni enjoyed an hour of Mindful Meditation followed by a beautiful 2.5 mile hike up the Bear Creek Trail, which led to a refreshing waterfall. Alumni were challenged both mentally and physically on Monday with outdoor rock climbing. Several warriors took the challenge and ran with it, climbing several of the stations. The ladies appreciated the physical challenge of pushing past their own limits while also being presented with the mental challenge of how to scale the rock and reach the top. After down time, the ladies headed down the mountain for a relaxing evening of art therapy. Painting allowed the ladies to channel their inner Picasso with landscapes and nature designs.

Tuesday was a morning of fun on the water. They chose to forgo kayaking and stand up paddle boarding for white water rafting. Luckily, the area had received enough rain the previous couple of nights to provide a level 2 experience on the water. Warrior Alumni enjoyed the laughter and the teamwork it took to get them down the river, oftentimes stranding themselves on the boulders. A few splashes and nature hugs with rocks and trees later, the ladies, with the help of their guide Skip, made it down the eight-mile stretch of the river. White water rafting proved to be a morning workout; however, those up for the challenge joined Adrienne from TASP for another eight-mile jaunt on a mountain bike. Weaving in and out of the tree line, they came to an open field that seemed to be a resting spot for a herd of elk. There were about 30 head of elk soaking up the sun, definitely not a sight that we are used to seeing in Phoenix.

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On Wednesday, the ladies ascended the side of the mountain to Ajax Peak, which stands about 12,785 ft. The trail, filled with many switchbacks and beautiful waterfalls, could not deter their determination to conquer such a mountain. A view from the top offered a 360-degree view of Bridal Veil Basin, Silver Lake Basin and much, much more. A great view to end a great week of adventure!

Learn more about Ability360’s Beat the Heat Program at www.Ability360.org or call (602) 386-4566