A couple weeks ago, FCRC President Dan Berlin hopped on a plane and headed to Peru to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru. While this is journey undertaken by thousands of people every year, Dan’s trip is particularly noteworthy because 1) he and his crew dubbed Team Possibilities were trying to traverse the >50 mile length in one day instead of the more typical four, and 2) Dan is legally blind.
On October 14, 2015, Dan and Team Possibilities did it! This Yahoo! news report explains,
Blind athlete Dan Berlin just took on and conquered the seemingly impossible—hiking the Inca Trail nonstop in less than a day.
The trail hike, which crosses through three mountain passes on the way to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu typically takes most people about four days. The majority of groups will even do it in more.
But “Team See Possibilities,” a group of four adventure athletes including Dan, did it in one fourth of the time.
In the team’s planning meeting before the run, one of the Peruvian guides who has completed the trek 215 times told the group: “What you are planning to do is not impossible, but the local authorities think it’s crazy for anyone to try, let alone with a blind person.”
Charles Scott, one of the crew members, also posted on October 18,
WE DID IT!! Daniel Berlin just made history!
Alongside my fellow guides Brad Graff and Alison Qualter Berna, and with help from our fabulous sponsor Intrepid Travel and their remarkable embedded videographer Lucy Piper, Dan became the first blind runner to complete the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru – Wonder Of The World in a single day – it’s typically a 4-day hike passing over 3 mountain passes, the highest of which reaches nearly 14,000 feet. We Team See Possibilities started at 4:30 a.m. thanks to special permission arranged by Intrepid Travel.
The mountain ascents and high altitude oxygen deprivation sapped our strength, and much of the trail was treacherous. The steep descents were particularly challenging for Dan. But he persevered, and we arrived at the stunning historic site of Machu Picchu 13 hours after starting, exhausted but elated.
The sun was disappearing behind towering mountains off to our left. Pink glowing clouds obscured the sunset and gave the ruins, which were laid out below us, an eerie feel. Machu Picchu at dusk was majestic – and devoid of human brings because the last tourists had already left. It was a rare privilege to see the site without any other people there.
Dan instantly became a celebrity in Peru, and he even received a prestigious sports accomplishment medal from the government. Our feat has received a lot of press coverage from local TV, radio, magazines and newspapers. UNICEF – Peru organized a visit to a school for blind children, where Dan encouraged the students to consider their blindness as an inconvenience to overcome rather than a disability that keeps them from setting ambitious goals. Watching Dan astound and inspire others was the highlight of this trip for me.
Thanks for additional love and support from Lisa Graff, Sheila Berlin, Altra Running, and everyone who contributed to our fund raiser for the Blind Institute of Technology.
Intrepid Travel’s amazing Lucy Piper is putting together a video about the experience that we’ll post soon!
Congratulations to Dan and crew members Alison Qualter Berna, Brad Graff, and Charles Scott on this epic adventure!