Man's quest to become 1st to 'hike' Sierra Nevada in wheelchair chronicled in film

- Bob Coomber of Livermore has inspired a documentary about his quest to become the first man to "hike" the Sierra Nevada in his wheelchair.

He is climbing mountains both figuratively and literally. He is affectionately known as '4-Wheel Bob' and the film is titled "4 Wheel Bob." 
    
"I take such a joy being outside," says Bob as he met with KTVU at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, a favorite hiking spot. "I like to get out and get dirty as they say."

He is in a wheelchair but he is in no way sedentary. Hiking is a daily regiment.

With a strong and steady grip, his life is in constant motion. His physical limitations doesn't limit his zest for life,

In 1990,  Bob became reliant on a wheelchair when diabetes eventually led to osteoporosis, shattering his bones. It made it impossible for him to walk.

Despite dealing with depression and frustration, he found a way to live life fully.

"No matter how bad things get, there's some way to continue to do what you want.  It may not be fast. It may not be easy and a lot of things may have to change in your life. 

Bob's courage attracted  the attention of Tal Skloot of El Sobrante, a documentary film maker.

He says Bob's love of nature is infectious.

"Nature really can heal you in many ways.  So the takeaway is whatever issues you may have, get out there and experience our great outdoors," says Skloot. 

The film follows Bob during his attempts to make the 22-mile trek  across the Sierra Nevada.

"Bob is fearless.  He goes out and does just about anything.  And for him, it wasn't just about going out and climbing a mountain," says Skloot.

It's about overcoming challenges he faced from his insulin pump malfunctioning, to blisters in his hands becoming infected and more.

"When you have to push over these rocks, sometimes they're over a foot and a half tall, lifting the chair over your wheelchair, still keeping enough energy by the end of the day to recharge over night and do it all again," says Bob. "Just keep focused.  As long as you contribute to your success, your success is really dependent on how much you're willing to put into it."

Bob says life is about  never giving up on your dreams.  He and Skloot hope that the film will inspire people to push the envelope and try new things and that the only limits are the ones you put on yourself.


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