PATTEN, Maine — For so long as he can keep in mind, Enock Glidden has been drawn to one among Maine’s best property — its rugged open air.
Glidden was like most children rising up within the small neighborhood of Patten. He liked being exterior and would spend hours exploring the huge wooded space of his household’s 11-acre homestead.
It mattered little that Glidden was doing so from the confines of a wheelchair.
As a baby born with spina bifida, Glidden shortly discovered that he needed to do issues just a little bit in another way than his buddies. Because of using adaptive gear and encouragement from buddies, household and lecturers, he overcame these challenges shortly.
“My dad was at all times taking me searching or fishing, or we’d be exploring Baxter State Park,” Glidden mentioned. “It actually simply developed naturally.”
Now a resident of Bethel, Glidden, 44, is returning to his hometown at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to talk to the Patten Space Lady’s Membership on the Lumberman’s Museum. His presentation will give attention to how individuals with disabilities can nonetheless get pleasure from Maine’s nice open air, whereas additionally making an attempt to drum up monetary help for a deliberate tour to Mt. Rainier in Washington.
“All through my life I’ve been lucky to have many adventures,” Glidden mentioned throughout a cellphone interview. “These adventures have been impressed by individuals I grew up with in Patten.”
Glidden attended Katahdin Excessive College, graduating in 1996. It was two individuals particularly who set him on his life’s path, he mentioned. His bodily schooling teacher Bob Dyer was an enormous inspiration for Glidden, opening the door to issues like wheelchair basketball and mountain climbing. One among his good buddies, Nick Corridor, went on to turn out to be a rescue ranger, shedding his life whereas making an attempt to rescue an individual on Mt. Rainier.
“His demise actually spearheaded this entire factor,” he mentioned. “Hopefully by subsequent June, I can climb Mt. Rainier.”
By way of an internship associated to his research in pc science, he traveled throughout the USA and visited a number of nationwide parks. He culminated his internship expertise in California with a five-day ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite Nationwide Park in 2016.
Glidden has partnered with Maine Path Finder to offer his experience on trails across the state which can be suited to individuals who have disabilities. His journey with Maine Path Finder started in the summertime of 2021 and he has spent the previous yr and a half serving because the group’s “accessibility ambassador,” the place he assesses trails in Maine for his or her accessibility to individuals with disabilities.
His findings are sometimes featured as a part of a weblog for Maine Path Finder named “Enock’s Adventures.”
Maine has an enormous community of trails and so far, Glidden has explored greater than 90 of them. Transportation to these trails is commonly the highest hurdle for these with disabilities expertise, he mentioned.
A number of the issues he appears for when assessing a path are parking, handicapped accessible loos and the way simple the path itself is for individuals who could also be in a wheelchair or want to make use of a walker.
Glidden, who can be an avid lover of tennis, basketball, paragliding and skydiving, mentioned he just lately had a chance to do the Riverfront Park path in Houlton and was pleasantly shocked at how accessible it was. He was additionally impressed with the Presque Isle bicycle path path.
“There are undoubtedly plenty of choices across the state (for these with disabilities),” he mentioned. “Sadly, these choices get much less and fewer the farther north you go.”