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Daily Logs/Photos

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March 2003:

9 15 - 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 | April
Mar. 28

Trekking the Himalaya    Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsGreetings to all our friends and supporters!

We are so appreciative of all the emails and support that we are receiving as we continue our trek. The feedback from children, folks with disabilities and folks without, is encouraging us to continue on our mission to make it to the Base Camp of Mount Everest and raise awareness about the potential of people with disabilities.

Namche Bazaar was great fun and good acclimatization, and we were ready for the expedition to continue on. On the early morning of our departure from Namche, the Indian-Nepali joint Everest expedition team paid a visit to introduce themselves. We made the short ascent out of Namche together as an enormous team - the Indians, the Nepali and Team Everest '03!

The lovely ridge line trail was accessible enough for our members who use wheelchairs to stroll/push/trek for the entire day. It was history in the making at 3,400 meters (12,500ft)! We - the entire expedition team - were moving under our own human power and human spirit, the mighty Himalayan Mountains surrounding us as we made our way toward our next measure of success. It was an extraordinary experience to witness firsthand: our team physically accomplishing our goal of raising disability awareness to the highest level! As expedition leader, I can honestly say that this was one of the happiest moments in all of my life. Vince receives kata from Lama      Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning News

After trekking the long hill up to Tengboche, we visited the monastery and presented the Lama with silk scarves called katas and made an offering of a small donation. Presented in turn, the Lamas blessed the katas and returned them to us to carry on our journey.

By nightfall, the sky had cleared and shone with millions of inspirational twinkles that I felt came from all of you out there.

In the morning we awoke to the most beautiful vista view of Mount Everest. Many of us shared in the sense of the sacredness of this place and our journey. It was simply amazing to be camping on the grounds of Tengboche Monastery, the spiritual center of the Khumbu and the Sherpa people.

Tengboche Monastery at night    Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsDespite some local skepticism, we have made it now to Pengboche. Tonight, as every evening, we had a team meeting to recap the day and discuss the challenges that lie ahead in the mountains.

Here we are in Nepal, smack in the middle of the highest mountains in the world, imbued with the Sherpa culture. A team of individuals who have come together to achieve an important goal on both an individual level, and more importantly, on a grander scale. Though occasionally sore, we know that every step we make is an achievement! Some of you may have experienced that life in the mountains is not easy. We are trekking at altitude, living and eating in tents, eating outside, and going to the bathroom in holes (even digging accessible holes!). We regularly dodge yak jams, cross rickety suspension bridges, and trek trails that are difficult for even the most avid of hikers. And it's cold! We continue to move ahead with our group of Sherpas, our yaks, our baskets, wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, canes and crutches! And an overwhelming desire to succeed in the enjoyment of life.

We would not be able to succeed without working as a team. To me, this expedition shows that in the majority of cases, it only takes a little extra time and goodwill to allow everyone to have equal opportunity.

Snowball fight at Tengboche Monastery      Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsI hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful photographs by Erich Schlegel, who is truly capturing the important aspects of this expedition. Tomorrow, we trek to Pheriche (13,900ft) and spend a few nights there for acclimatization. We've earned some rest!

I ask you as the expedition leader for your continued support, your continued emails and your continued good wishes. This is a win-win deal for everyone involved - our sponsors, our personal donators and our members. We need your support to enable us to reach deeper within ourselves to continue with this expedition of such exceptional magnitude. Please take a moment and try to picture for yourself our team, in all its glory, through hard work and determination, have made it this far and we are still moving ahead with our fantastic team of Sherpas, our yaks, our baskets, wheelchairs, prosthetics, hearing aids, canes, crutches and the desire to succeed in the enjoyment of life.

I ask you for your continued support, emails and good wishes. We need your financial support to continue with our expedition and to allow us to do the much needed work in the boardrooms, the capitols and the government. This is a win-win deal for everyone involved - our company sponsors, personal sponsors and our members. Everyone we encounter on the trail will return to their various states and countries with a heightened awareness of the potential of ALL PEOPLE. Team Everest '03 is taking disability awareness to the top of the world!
- Gary Guller

Slide show by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning News

Questions / comments for the team

Mark E., Riley and Barry enter Tengboche Monastery   Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsCTD's current legislative work: Architectural Barriers

Due to architectural barriers, many people with disabilities are prevented from entering and using areas intended for public use. Less than 50% of new commercial construction projects meet legal accessibility standards, effectively and unnecessarily excluding people with disabilities. Architects have far more training in accessibility and are more likely to register their projects for independent review for compliance to standards than non architects. CTD is promoting a change in Texas law to lower the square footage of a commercial project that would require the services of an architect from 20,000 to 5,000 sq. ft. This should improve accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities.

CTD is dedicated to ensuring that people with disabilities enjoy equal opportunities to live, work, play, and participate fully in the community of their choice. CTD has consistently delivered important results for persons with disabilities for the past 24 years, and needs your support to fight the discrimination that faces individuals with disabilities in almost every aspect of their lives. Contact Dennis at dborel@cotwd.org to learn more about CTD's advocacy work.

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