Travis Fugate

Grand Canyon Outtasight Blind Paddler

About Travis

After losing my vision I thought that extreme sports were over for me. In 2008, When the VA mentioned a kayaking opportunity to kayak through a partnership with TRR I jumped right in.  As I moved around the country chasing educational and personal development goals the TRR national program always seemed to be near. 

Every year I had an opportunity to break away and team up with other vets for some paddling.  Finally, I have a chance to commit to some serious training and taste extreme sports again! Every time I spend a week kayaking my confidence grows.  It isn’t just
my confidence in kayaking but my confidence in myself to face the
challenges of everyday life as a person with a disability. 

The turbulent waters of the river can not be controlled yet I engage them with my boat and paddle.  At the rivers end I take out and carry a new confidence with me back to work, back to school, back to my relationships, back to my life.

Travis' thoughts on the trip!

The canyon is the ultimate challenge for a blind kayaker.  Some days it seems that every step that I take is slowed by a hesitation. For two weeks in 2018 my hesitation will have to be removed. For a lifetime after the canyon and for the rest of my life I will reflect on the benefit
of the commitment, the fight and the celebration of success!

Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports