It's a GRIT Life: Chapter 3 - Camping with GRIT

by: Nerissa Cannon

Version 2

One of the original Freedom Chair Trailblazers, Nerissa, now works full time with GRIT! Her own journey with chronic illness has made her very passionate about helping other people get the most out of life in spite of a disabling condition. In her new series, IT'S A GRIT LIFE, she shares how the GRIT Freedom Chair helps her engage in her favorite activities and live a life of adventure.


Last Summer in Colorado I would often hang and sleep in my Hennessy Hammock in my backyard.

Last Summer in Colorado I would often hang and sleep in my Hennessy Hammock in my backyard.

In late September, my boyfriend and I went to Three Peaks Recreation Area near Cedar City, UT. It's a beautiful area about a half an hour away from where we live. This was actually the first time I went tent camping with my GRIT Freedom Chair. I have hammock-camped in my backyard when I lived in Colorado, but this was my first time really going to a developed campsite with my Freedom Chair.

Instead of just waiting for camp to get set, I was able to be an active participant in setting up the camp thanks to my Freedom Chair. We truly did it together!

Instead of just waiting for camp to get set, I was able to be an active participant in setting up the camp thanks to my Freedom Chair. We truly did it together!

I was really interested to see how that would work setting up the tent and getting around the campsite. Thanks to my Freedom Chair I don't have to really consider, too terribly, ahead of time what's going to be accessible. We didn't look up any accessibility of the camp areas before heading out.The camping is "First Come-First Served," you get to choose your own campsite, and the one that we chose had this hill that went up to where we wanted to set up the tent. It was rutted and rocky and sandy and wet. I was really, really glad that I had my Freedom Chair to get up and down to the tent because I honestly don't know if I could have done it on my own without it.

Bringing up our large, canvas sleeping bag balanced on the front wheel arm of my Freedom Chair!

Bringing up our large, canvas sleeping bag balanced on the front wheel arm of my Freedom Chair!

One of the most interesting features that I found of the Freedom Chair that was helpful was bring the bedding up for the tent. We have a big canvas-flannel sleeping bag that we share and I was able to balance the one end of it on the front arm that is the third wheel of the Freedom Chair. I just sat it on there and wheeled up the hill with my levers, and even though I couldn't see the rocks and the obstacles and the ruts that I had to avoid, I just went right through them. Thanks to the design of the Freedom Chair I didn't have a problem at all.

Sitting around a large community bonfire at the Campsite, my Service Dog and I struggled to keep warm as the snow rolled in.

Sitting around a large community bonfire at the Campsite, my Service Dog and I struggled to keep warm as the snow rolled in.

The next day was wet, and cloudy, and windy, and in the afternoon we had a little surprise that I wasn't expecting for a high mountain desert in late September . . . SNOW!

Because we lived only half an hour from the campsite we decided to go home that night instead of shivering together and waking up in an igloo. We were very glad that we did! We still needed to go back the next day and take down the tent, and of course, the way things work, it was a BEAUTIFUL day. It was sunny and warm while we were taking down the tent and it couldn't have been more beautiful weather. 

I'm really looking forward to doing more camping trips. We haven't been able to much this season, we've been pretty busy, but I'll be sure to share them with you when we do!


To see more of IT'S A GRIT LIFE, checkout our YouTube Channel!