It wasn’t long ago that the small Colorado town of Fruita was solely a hub of agriculture and oil and gas development. But singletrack shredders and pizza chefs Jen Zeuner and her partner Anne Keller have helped to transform the high-desert town into a mountain biking hotspot with their Hot Tomato Café. It wasn’t always easy — some residents of conservative Fruita weren’t quite ready for their “lifestyle” at first. But the women’s delicious East Coast-style pizza — and the love they put into making it — have made them indispensable members of the community and turned the Hot Tomato into the living room of the Grand Valley’s outdoor recreation industry.
After becoming the first blind climber to summit Mt. Everest, Erik Weihenmayer turned his focus to an entirely different kind of challenge: He learned to kayak, and decided to attempt to paddle the length of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. It was the next chapter in Weihenmayer’s quest for presence, independence and self-agency — things hard to achieve without sight. As The Weight of Water chronicles, the trip was much more than an adventure athlete notching another accomplishment in his belt. Weihenmayer joins a team of guides and new friends — including fellow blind kayaker Lonnie Bedwell, an absolute inspiration in his own right — on an emotionally weighted journey down one of America’s most iconic canyons. As they paddle, they confront loss, fear and anxiety. They exemplify what people can achieve — and overcome — through selflessness, teamwork and courage. And they let the river unlock its priceless lessons. The result is a triumph.