Inspiring Stories

I am always looking for inspirational stories to share with everyone else and these are some of the most amazing ones that I have found.

80 year old twin sisters hike Appalacian Way

WAYNESVILLE, North Carolina — Hiking the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, one of the longest footpaths in the world, is an exercise in the outer limits of human will and strength. And usually, left to the youth of the world.

But 80-year-old identical twin sisters Elrose Couric and Sue Hollinger completed the trail this summer, finding the secret to completing the brutal journey – setting a goal and having a glass of red wine every night on the trail.

“We’re very goal-oriented. We always need a goal,” said Hollinger of the massive hike. “We wished we were daring enough or young enough to do a thru-hike. It would have saved lots of time, but we couldn’t.”

It took the twins 14 years to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, which they completed July 7. They hiked it in sections, rather than in one shot, which takes the average hiker about six months.

The section-hiked journey was no less difficult. Besides sore muscles, bruises and broken bones, the sisters had bear encounters, a near-drowning experience, yellow jacket attacks and a near brush with a murderer.

But overall, they said in unison, “It was such a fun time.” Starting in their 60s, they began hiking every trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The finished all 900 miles in 1998.

That massive project out of the way, the sisters climbed all the Western North Carolina peaks over 6,000 feet, such as Mount Mitchell and Cold Mountain.

They had also joined the Carolina Mountain Club, an organization known for its strenuous guided hikes and its mountain-size trail maintenance projects.

They started hiking the AT in earnest in 2002 in North Carolina initially accompanied by Haywood Hikers and CMC club members.  As they ventured farther from home, Hollinger and Couric would have to hike alone, shuttling themselves, leaving their car at a trailhead and renting a car to leave at the end of the hike.

Some days the sisters would cover 18 miles, some days only 7, depending on the terrain covering about 200 miles a year. Whether they stayed in a hotel or slept in the woods, they would always end the day with a glass of Merlot.

In July, they finished 14 years of an epic adventure. For the last several miles, they were joined by all their family members, hiking from Hawksbill in Virginia to the Pinnacle Picnic Area on the Skyline Drive.

“How did we celebrate? I think we just rested. We were so exhausted,” Hollinger said.

Looking back at the 14 years, Couric said she can’t believe they actually finished the trail. What kept them going was their eyes on the prize and love of the outdoors.

“Our religion was being in the woods,” she said. “We love maintaining the trails and just being in the woods. It doesn’t matter how or when or why. Both of us were so lucky. We couldn’t have done it without each other.”

Full story available at USA Today

The day I took my new lungs to the Lake District

I suffer from varying degrees of arthritis, permanent lower lumber back pain, a ruptured disc in my cervical vertebrae and in the late spring of 2014 suffered a mini stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack).  But this is nothing compared to what this woman suffered.

This is an amazing story about a woman with Cystic Fybrosis and her dream to walk the fells of the Lake District.  Published in The Great Outdoors magazine – “The day I took my new lungs to the Lake District”- an inspiring story of one hillwalker’s determination.

Full story here



OAPs celebrate climbing all 726 Scots mountains

A SCOTTISH couple are celebrating after completing a 20-year mission to climb all Scotland’s 726 classified mountains – Munros, Corbetts and Grahams.

Sheila and Bill Simpson, aged 65 and 69 respectively, reached the milestone after finishing the list of all 223 ­Grahams. Over 12 years, the pair climbed all the peaks, completing the 282 Munros by 2005 and the 221 Corbetts four years ago. Their chosen final summit was Meall a’Mhuic in Glen Lyon, Perthshire.

The Simpsons were accompanied by members of the Friockheim and District Walkers’ Club on their climb. Mr Simpson said: “We started hill walking about 20 years ago. “We saw people coming back from the hills – and the idea blossomed from that. “The Munros we completed in three years, Corbetts in five, Grahams in four. “We finished the Munros and we thought we wouldn’t be doing much in the next X amount of years. We got to the end of the Corbetts, then needed to do something next, so we did the Grahams.

“It was like a drug really, to keep going and finish climbing them all.” But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Mr Simpson said: “My wife is scared of cows. We had to detour or turn back to get away from them a lot because she really was terrified. “I don’t know why she is scared of cows, because she was brought up in the country. “I don’t know what we’ll do next, I do a lot of road cycling – we are both outdoorsy. I’m a member of a cycle club in Forfar, and I like to do a lot of cycling. We keep ourselves busy.”

Colin Sinclair, president of Forfar’s hill walking club, said the achievement of the couple, who are from Arbroath, Angus, was really impressive as they had climbed more than 700 hills and mountains. He said their pursuit of the Grahams had been interrupted due to Mr Simpson having heart surgery, but he recovered within a few months and they carried on with their quest. Mr Sinclair said: “Their walks involved many detours due to Sheila’s fear of cows. “This remarkable feat was made doubly so by the fact that all the Munros, Corbetts and Grahams were climbed by Sheila and Bill together, sometimes as a couple and sometimes with other groups.” The Simpsons are active members of two walking clubs.

In May this year, the couple completed the TGO Challenge, a walk from the west coast at Oban to the east coast at St Cyrus. Munros are mountains which are more than 3,000ft high. There are 282 in Scotland, and it is thought about 4,000 people have climbed all of them. Corbetts are 2,500-3,000ft and there are 221 of them, while the 223 Grahams are 2,000-2,500ft. The “lesser” climbs in Scotland are the 89 Donalds – hills in the Lowlands with a height of 2,000ft. Any hill in the UK and Ireland with a drop of 492ft on all sides is called a Marilyn – there are 1,218 of these in ­Scotland.

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