When Being 50 Becomes Your Reason... Not Your Excuse!
by Heidi Shulz, Girls Who Hike Wisconsin Ambassador
A few weekends ago, I was in a fun little conversation on someone’s Instagram post. It was a photo of some switchbacks on the South Kaibab trail of the Grand Canyon. The conversation started from the woman that posted the photo talking about how she led a group from the south rim to the river and out in a day. Another woman commented “I did that hike when I was super fit in my early 20’s and it was a challenge”. So, I responded with how I had just done it in December in 2 days and was happy enough with that accomplishment at age 50. Her response, “I pray I’m still able to do awesome hikes when I turn 50!” I guess when we are in our 20’s and 30’s it seems like 50 is ‘so old’! Normally I don’t feel like being 50 is super old, but the last time I did was in November.
I joined the Girls Who Hike WI group at the end of October, 2017, there were very few members in the Wisconsin chapter at the time and not too much interaction. I was excited about a new hiking group so I ordered my new member kit and was just hanging out to see what would happen next. Sometime in early November I scrolled past a link on a post for Ambassador Applications for the WI group of Girls Who Hike. I pondered this for a few days, filled out the application but didn’t send it in, and somehow couldn’t stop thinking about it. I talked with a good friend about my fears of sending the application in, and my anxiety about having to write a blog post every month on the off chance that I ever did get the position. I had looked at the Girls Who Hike website and Instagram page, and I surely didn’t see anyone that looked remotely close to 50 years old in their photos and ambassador profiles so I figured I never had a chance anyways. The deadline drew near so I finished the application and sent it off, expecting to never hear back.
I wouldn’t be lying if I said that I was shocked on November 27 when an email came through with the subject line “Position Offer - Girls Who Hike Ambassador Program”... What? Me? The 50 year old from Wisconsin? Surely nobody else had applied was my first thought! But as it sunk in I thought, why not me?! So what if I’m 50, I still hike and I can share that love for hiking with everyone else! And then I remembered the blogging part, so if you’re actually reading and made it this far you will understand why the fear of the writing, and I apologize! I didn’t let my age stop me from accepting the ambassador position, and geez I have survived cancer, so I surely can live through 12 months of writing blog posts. (Please bear with me, I only have eleven more to go!)
I did forget to mention that the best news in all this is that I wasn’t the only one that applied. I have the most awesome Wisconsin Co-Ambassador, Morgan Mack, and I’m positive her blogging skills are superior to mine. So, enough of this writing for now, lets go hit the trails!