“I’m back,” I announced to June Slade and David as I came up behind them on their descent from Assiniwikam Mountain. The two had tried to separate themselves from our group of 16 hikers. They didn’t want to slow us down. But I was the designated sweep, and I kept an eye out as they made their way up to the view (forests and the Manhattan skyline) on Assiniwikam Mountain in Norvin Green State Forest. That’s where they turned around, and I followed them back down, eventually making my presence known. We were on a Trail Conference hike after our Annual Meeting nearby. We chatted as we made our way down to the trailhead.
I said I had frequently seen June’s name in ADK-Ramapo hike schedules sent to the Trail Conference over the years. She said she didn’t lead hikes any more. But she and David were keeping a good pace and making plans to return to Assiniwikam when they had more time to do the complete loop. “I love the rocks,” she said with enthusiasm.
June mentioned that she had recently celebrated her 90th birthday. “But I’m not 90,” she added. How old then? “Eighty-seven. But I thought, why wait?” We laughed. I mentioned turning 60. June stopped, turned, with a big smile. “That’s wonderful. I did my best hiking in my 60s!”