People with ALS (pALS) don’t have to accept their assumed limitations. Steve didn’t miss a beat after his diagnosis; ever the adventurer, he was determined to continue his pursuit of epic life adventures. Inspired by our adventure warrior Steve, we sought out other pALS looking for life-enriching and challenging experiences. We are producing and documenting their adventures, so we can raise awareness about the disease globally, impact the lives of patients’ families and ultimately help find a cure.
Team Gleason has successfully planned adventures for pALS to white water raft in Italy, cruise the Panama Canal, canoe the Missouri River, attend sporting events including the Superbowl, travel to music festivals, and a trip to Machu Picchu.
To read about the different adventures click here
Team Gleason Experiment: Peru 2013
Team Gleason completed an epic adventure to Peru. pALS Steve Gleason and Kevin Swan along with Michel, Rivers, Scott Fujita, a crew from NFL Films and Team Gleason members endured a 7 day trek starting in Lima. The group took countless buses, 2 trains, 7 planes and hiked 10 miles through the Incan trail.
They spent 2 nights in Cusco getting acclimated to the high elevation and visiting the Cathedral, Qoricancha Temple, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cusco, Qenko and Puka Pukara. One of their favorite view was overlooking the Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, situated between Pisac and Ollantaytambo (photo on right). Team Gleason visited the village of Pisac, founded during colonial times, and set at the foot of a hill crowned by the remains of an ancient Inca city. They continued their trip through the countryside town of Urubamba to the ruins of Ollantaytambo.
On Day 4, they woke up early to catch the Vistadome train headed toward Machu Picchu, taking in stunning views of the mountains and heading into the high altitude cloud forest. They jumped off the train at km 104 and started what they were told would be a pretty flat 5 – 6 hour walk on the Inca Trail to Machu Pichhu. The 21 member group, which included Steve and Kevin in wheelchairs and 18-month old Rivers, joined a group of porters before crossing a hanging bridge over the Urubamba River. At this time none of them had any idea what they were about to endure.
The Incan trail is a combination of landscapes of high altitude mountain ranges (the Andes) and dense subtropical forest. It was extremely challenging to carry the 2 wheelchairs up and down the rocky narrow paths. The fearless leaders, Scott, Blair and Marc, were not going to let the lack of water and sunlight stop them from getting to their final destination. After 10 hours they finally reached the Sun Gate or the entrance and first view of Machu Picchu. Although the sun had been down for a few hours and the ruins could barely be seen through the moonlight, the group was excited to know it was the final leg and hour or their journey. Traversing downhill and along more steps in the dimly lit site, the group finally made it the Sanctuary Lodge for some much needed food, water and celebration. The following day they were elated with a huge sense of accomplishment to finally see the magnificent landscape of the ruins and mountains.