SOUTHERN COLORADO — A local organization is making outdoor adventures possible for people with limited mobility or those who are unable to walk on their own. Since 2018, The Lockwood Foundation has been taking riders on trails and up mountains, with help from volunteers in the community.
"Our riders are experiencing adventure that was either impossible for them their entire life, or it was taken away from them," said Jeffrey Lockwood, the organization's founder.
More than four years ago, Lockwood asked himself what a 14-er would look like for someone in a wheel chair. He noticed there were no programs like it in place, and he wanted to create his own.
"The idea that the outdoors are inaccessible to some, that those moments that I have are impossible, just didn't seem appropriate," said Lockwood. "Then we realized through technology and community, it's a very open world."
Those barriers for people with limited mobility disappeared with a growing help from volunteers since the organization began.
"We went from having one adaptive chair to four, and going from 50 volunteers to almost 350 volunteers within a year's span from last year to this year."
When the organization first started, about ten riders were able to accomplish a feat they never thought they'd be able to do. This year, the organization has already helped more than 40 riders hit the trails in Colorado.
"Mt. Elbert was the perfect paradigm of what we can do together as a community, something so big and so impossible," said Lockwood.
Spirits were also high when volunteers helped Zara Vargues tackle Mt. Elbert, the highest point in Colorado. The trip took a total of three days.
"The volunteers realized they were part of history that day, and they were part of changing the narrative on what people with disabilities can do in the outdoors," said Lockwood. "With the right amount of community, these things go from being impossible, to effortless, and that is something that there is a lot of power in."
As the warmer months are approaching, more riders will be taken up trails locally and across the state. The next adventure is taking place on May 22 at Pedro's Point Trail in Pueblo.
Lockwood said he wants to begin working with other communities across the state and across the country to help make adventures like this possible for people everywhere.
In Colorado, the organization hopes to take 10 new riders on trails this year, and give other riders another opportunity to explore the outdoors.
Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the organization, can click here.