Senior celebrates 500th hike up Kootenay trail

Larry Plummer began his quest to complete 1,000th hike up Antenna Trail just over three years ago

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. He invited Art Benzer (left) and Gordon McAlpine (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020. Photo: Gordon McAlpine

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. He invited Art Benzer (left) and Gordon McAlpine (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020. Photo: Gordon McAlpine

When Fruitvale resident Larry Plummer sets his goals, he sets them high: about 1,000 feet high.

The 72-year-old Plummer completed his 500th hike up to the Canadian flag on the popular Flagpole View Trail in Montrose on Oct. 11, and yet, he’s only halfway to concluding his quest.

Plummer celebrated the 500-milestone hike with Gordon McAlpine and Art Benzer, a driving force behind the creation of the trails back in 2004.

Previous: Former Fruitvale mayor donates 95 acres for trail development

Previous: RDKB buys 130-acress for trails, landfill buffer

For many years, Plummer was a regular at Beaver Valley May Days and Montrose Days hikes up Antenna Trail Loop and the Flagpole Trail, a 5.1-km hike with 307-metre elevation gain.

“Art Benzer got me going on it, he was one of the people that got Antenna Trail started,” explained Plummer. “Finally in May and June of 2017, I did it again and I told Art that I should do this more than twice a year.

“So I told him, I was 69 at the time, ‘I’m going to do this 1,000 times.’”

Benzer, a former teacher, wasn’t fazed by the dramatic claim.

“It was interesting, because I turned 80, and he was just under 70, and he looked at me and thought, by the time I get that old I want to hike this trail 1,000 times,” laughed Benzer. “But it was a challenge, and he’s done this sort of thing a number of times.”

It took Plummer just three years and four months to reach the 500 milestone.

He averaged about 150 summits per year, or 12 to 13 times per month throughout the year, no matter the weather.

“Because of this virus, I have nothing to do but walk, and I’m retired anyway” said Plummer. “I told my wife, I’ll get out of your hair, so now I go and do my walks in the morning.”

For Plummer, the benefits are many.

In three years he has lost about 20 pounds, yet takes his time, enjoys the views, the flora, the wildlife, and meeting with others on the same path.

“There’s five benches up there and I use them all,” said Plummer. “You just pace yourself, it’s not a race. You meet a lot of people and that’s the best thing about it.”

The trail also has interpretive signage at the trailhead, and at the top of Antenna Loop, of the corresponding Seven Summits peaks across the valley.

Thousands of locals and visiting hikers and geocachers from around the world have shared their experiences in the sign-in/comment sheet at the top.

Benzer says that all trail users have been respectful, keeping self-distanced when passing, and assist in keeping the trails cleared and well-maintained, along with the help of the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society.

Plummer has no intention of slowing down and expects to wind up his quest of 1,000 hikes within four years.

“I’m trying to hit about 125 a year now, so another four years, by the time I’m 76, that’s my goal. I could set it to 80, then there’s no high expectation, but hopefully I can do it in four.”

Benzer is even more optimistic.

“He’s taken just over three years to do the first 500. Now I think, with a bit of incentive, he’s probably going to do it more. I would say probably under three years.”

The Montrose trail system has grown significantly in the past two decades and also includes the Orchard Trail off Christie Road.

Originally built in the 1950’s to access television towers, the trails were eventually developed into the Antenna Loop and Flagpole Trail with spectacular views of the Beaver and Columbia Valleys.

Benzer sends a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped develop and maintain the trails over the years.



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. <ins>He invited Gordon McAlpine (left) and Art Benzer (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020. </ins>

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. He invited Gordon McAlpine (left) and Art Benzer (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020.

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. <ins>He invited Gordon McAlpine (left) and Art Benzer (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020. </ins>

Three years ago, Larry Plummer challenged himself to hike up to the flag viewpoint on the Montrose Antenna trail 1,000 times. He invited Gordon McAlpine (left) and Art Benzer (photographer) to accompany him on his 500th summit on Oct 11, 2020.

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Cranbrook city hall. Photo by Trevor Crawley.
City approves funding for Mount Royal infrastructure remediation

City council voted to spend up to $1.75 million this year to… Continue reading

Castlegar’s Gabrielle Herle (right) will be one of the speakers at the conference. She is seen here with Wendy Gaskill from Chinook Scaffolding accepting their Contractor of the Year Award in 2019 from the Builders Code Champion Awards. Photo: Submitted
Girls in STEAM and Leadership Conference offered free for all girls in the Kootenay Boundary

Virtual conference for girls in grades 8 to 12 will be taking place on March 8

At the Cranbrook Public Library
What’s happening at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby The Library is now open with extended hours (with some… Continue reading

Cranbrook City Hall. Townsman file photo.
City trumpets record year for economic development

The city is touting 2020 as a banner year for economic development… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read