Here’s a pretty awesome story of a 73 year old woman named Marjorie Byron of DeLand, FL who accomplished her life-long goal to hike the Appalachian Trail, which measures 2, 180, passes through 14 states and is the longest continuously marked footpath in the world. Her dream began at the age of 10 when Marjorie went into the mountains with her father to pick berries. She was athletic her whole life and enjoyed running and competing. After working for 14 years, she retired from the U.S. Postal Service and began to enjoy the great outdoors. She biked 85 miles to Paynes Prairie (South of Gainesville, FL), completed a half-iron man and competed in the the Great Florida Challenge Triathlon in 2007.
Grandmother Marjorie, age 71, 5 foot 1 inch and 100 pounds, began the Appalachian hike at Georgia’s Springer Mountain on a hot summer day in June. Her backpack was 41 pounds when she first started, but she quickly reduced it to 25-35 pounds as she threw out the nonessentials. She also slept under a tarp or in shelters rather than a tent. Her two sons traveled with her for two weeks on the trail to accompany her. Other than fellow hikers, she traveled alone. After a few days of hiking long distances (20 miles a day), she began to have trouble with her knee. So, she called her daughter who lives in West Virginia to pick her up and decided to take a break. She headed back after a few weeks and hiked the trail until October 14 until she stopped for the winter in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. The following June, she picked back up and finished in October after hiking the 5,628-foot summit of Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Some days weren’t as easy as other due to the heat and a bad case of mosquitoes that summer. She enjoyed conversations with fellow hikers and was nicknamed the “Listener” by others. Her two favorite aspects of the trail were the “beautiful scenic vistas and the interesting people you meet,” she said. After being asked what advice she would give others who hoped to hike the trail, she said “If you really want to do it, do it…If somebody my age and condition can do it, anyone can.” Her next goal is to hike the Pacific Coast Trail. The oldest person to complete the trail was 86. The youngest, 6.
What an inspiration to all of us young and old!