Nanaimo hikers celebrate members turning 80

Nanaimo hikers group celebrates members turning 80 years old at special celebration.

A triple bypass isn’t stopping Mollie Walls from enjoying a good hike with her friends.

For the last 25 years, the 80-year-old has hiked with the Nanaimo Tuesday Hikers’ group. She said even though she has slowed down, she still gets out and continues to be active.

“You just have to keep moving and it’s important not to give up. You can slow down, but you just have to keep going and enjoy it,” she said.

Walls said people should challenge themselves to be active no matter their age.

“No matter if it is a slow walk get out and move and try a new challenge if possible,” she said.

Walls was one of three members of the hikers celebrating their 80th birthdays at a special gathering Tuesday at the Departure Bay Kin Hut. Eleanor Miller and Claudia Gray were also celebrating.

The women’s birthdays are in July, June and October, but the hiking group decided to hold the event because three members turn 80 this  year.

Gray said she loves the group because of the friendships she has formed and the great physical exercise it gives her.

“It’s unbelievable. The calendar tells you you’re 80, but you don’t feel any different,” said Gray.

Miller said she hopes the hikers can be an example to others.

“You have a whole world that you can explore and enjoy,” she said.

Gray said the group used to celebrate people turning 70, but now that happens so often it has changed the age to 80. The group hasn’t celebrated a 90th birthday yet, but it is a possibility.

For more than 30 years, members have hiked around the Nanaimo area. Ellen Farquhar, 83, is one of the hiking leaders and helped the group continue over the years.

“We don’t consider age at this point,” she said. “What we consider is stamina and ability. Age has no bearing on it.”

People interested in joining the hiking group can contact George Stewart at 250-758-7705.