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

Black Press file photo
60-70% of Creston residents want to see kitchen scrap, recyclables added to curbside collection

Data shows that respondents were not only satisfied with the current curbside collection service, but were also enthusiastic about the recommended enhanced service

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

(Betsy Kline/Castlegar News)
Nav Canada says it would never compromise safety at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Submission from Nav Canada regarding potential cuts to the West Kootenay Regional Airport

Communities like Nakusp are grappling with the challenge of hooking high-speed internet up at individual homes. File photo
‘Last mile’ debate a Gordian knot in Slocan Valley’s fibre-optic cable plans

How do you bring high-speed internet not just to communities, but individual homes?

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

2020
Urban wildlife Part VI: The East Kootenay birds of autumn

The work of local photographers printed in the pages of the East Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2020. Part VI.

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

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

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

Most Read