Blind Charlotte man hiking across state - WNCN: News, Weather

Blind Charlotte man hiking across state

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Trevor Thomas and his dog Tenille are nearing the end of their 950-mile journey across North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast. Trevor Thomas and his dog Tenille are nearing the end of their 950-mile journey across North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast.
NEW BERN, N.C. -

Trevor Thomas and his dog Tenille are nearing the end of their 950-mile journey across North Carolina -- from the mountains to the coast.

"I wanted to be able to sample and entire cross section of the state that I live in and it and its been just utterly amazing," Thomas said.

They started their hike at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains back in April under 24 inches of snow. Now, nearly 800 miles later, he's trekking through 95-degree heat in the Croatan National Forest.

This journey would be a challenge for anybody, but Thomas has an even harder battle. He is doing this hike completely in the dark.

"One day my auto immune system woke up, decided that the macula, which is irreplaceable in your eye, decided it was a foreign body, attacked it, and over a period of eight months I went from thinking I needed glasses to losing my sight," he explained.

Eight years after he went blind, with his companion by his side, he's accomplishing the unbelievable.
 
"Everybody said it couldn't be done," Thomas said. "They say it's never been tried, 'We don't think you can do it,' 'We don't think a dog can go that far.'

"There were a lot of naysayers, but we're sitting here right now in the Croatan, and we're at 782.1 miles exactly. We've got 160-some-odd numbers to go, so I think so far we're proving them wrong."

And with a dog almost as inspirational as Thomas himself, they've got the will to make it happen.

Thomas got Tenille 10 months ago from Guide Dogs For The Blind. Since then, he conditioned her to go from three miles a day to the 18 miles a day he usually hikes.  

In 2008, his website says Thomas became the first blind person to complete, unassisted a hike of the Appalachian Trail, which is a 2,175-mile journey.

This journey will end in Jockey's Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks.

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