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Blind hiker and his guide dog trek across the state of North Carolina

4:40 PM, Jun 14, 2013   |    comments
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CRAVEN COUNTY, North Carolina (WITN) -- Trevor Thomas and his dog Tenille are nearing the end of their 950 mile journey across North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast.

"I wanted to be able to sample and entire cross section of the state that I live in and it and its been just utterly amazing," Thomas says.

They started their hike at Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains back in April under 24 inches of snow. Now nearly 800 miles later, he's trekking through 95 degree heat in the Croatan National Forest.

This journey would be a challenge for anybody, but Thomas has an even harder battle. He is doing this hike completely in the dark.

"One day my auto immune system woke up, decided that the macula, which is irreplaceable in your eye, decided it was a foreign body, attacked it, and over a period of eight months I went from thinking I need glasses to losing my sight," he explains.

Eight years after he went blind, with his companion by his side, he's accomplishing the unbelievable.

"Everybody said it couldn't be done," Thomas says. "They say its never been tried, we don't think you can do it, we don't think a dog can go that far. There were a lot of naysayers, but we're sitting here right now in the Croatan, and we're at 782.1 miles exactly. We've got 160 some odd numbers to go, so I think so far we're proving them wrong."

And with a dog almost as inspirational as Thomas himself, they've got the will to make it happen.

Thomas got Tenille ten months ago from guide dogs for the blind.

Since then he conditioned her to go from three miles a day to the 18 miles a day he usually hikes.

Thomas hiked the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail by himself without a dog back in 2008.

This journey will end in Jockey's Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks.

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