gmhTODAY 13 gmhToday March April 2017 - Page 93

The West Highland Way in Scotland is a 96-mile , scenic footpath through some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth . At any age , committing to making this trek in five to ten days is a physical fitness motivator . For our group of seven seniors , there was even more determination that we were GOING TO MAKE IT . And we all did .

Outfitted and geared up in our REI best , we launched our trek on September 1 , 2016 , at the Way ’ s southern entrance in the town of Milngavie ( mull-guy ), near Glasgow . Each year the West Highland Way ( WHW ) attracts 80,000 hikers who walk some portion of it , and 15,000 hearty souls who make the entire trip . For us , it was all or nothing .
We opted for the ten-day , self-guided trek with Scotlandbased MACS Adventures . Our group , ages 65 – 72 , chose to have our luggage ( and Janet ’ s two guitars ) magically transported from inn to inn each day while we were on the trail . Our road warriors were Laura and Jeff Lundy , San Martin ; Sherry and John Hemingway , Morgan Hill ; Janet and Mike Thompson , San Martin ; and Laura ’ s cousin Trish Mackay from New York City . Our motivations for doing this were as varied as our hiking experience .
After a quick photo op at the trail ’ s granite starting marker , we picked up WHW “ Passports ,” which would be stamped along the way . This added to the satisfaction of making it to the next daily destination , and offered the promise of a completion certificate at the end of the trail in Fort Williams .
Once on the trail , we realized that the surprisingly affordable MACS Adventures had been an excellent choice . They booked our lodging in charming inns and guest houses , and provided local knowledge in the form of good maps .
We quickly understood how very much we were on our own . We studied our waterproof maps and followed the “ thistle emblems ” on wooden trail markers . For the most part , the trail was well marked , and we never got lost .
Local lore about the journey : “ One reason people finish the WHW is that once you get on it , you can ’ t get off .”
It was true . Once you left a village for the next one , there was nothing in between . In many places , the only way out was by ( very expensive ) helicopter .
Our hikes ranged from 7 to 16 miles per day , with the shorter days tackling more challenging terrain and the longer days walking flat land with easy trails .
Most of us used hiking poles , which gave us balance over slippery rocks of widely varying sizes . Other essentials : comfortable hiking shoes , and rain jackets and pants . Most of the time the weather was beautiful , except for those occasions when it poured buckets . We had good gear and the scenery was spectacular . Even buckets were great fun .
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH / APRIL 2017 gmhtoday . com
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T he West Highland Way in Scotland is a 96-mile, scenic footpath through some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. At any age, committing to making this trek in five to ten days is a physical fitness motivator. For our group of seven seniors, there was even more determination that we were GOING TO MAKE IT. And we all did. Outfitted and geared up in our REI best, we launched our trek on September 1, 2016, at the Way’s southern entrance in the town of Milngavie (mull-guy), near Glasgow. Each year the West Highland Way (WHW) attracts 80,000 hikers who walk some portion of it, and 15,000 hearty souls who make the entire trip. For us, it was all or nothing. We opted for the ten-day, self-guided trek with Scotland- based MACS Adventures. Our group, ages 65–72, chose to have our luggage (and Janet’s two guitars) magically transported from inn to inn each day while we were on the trail. Our road warriors were Laura and Jeff Lundy, San Martin; Sherry and John Hemingway, Morgan Hill; Janet and Mike Thompson, San Martin; and Laura’s cousin Trish Mackay from New York City. Our motivations for doing this were as varied as our hiking experience. After a quick photo op at the trail’s granite starting marker, we picked up WHW “Passports,” which would be stamped along the way. This added to the satisfaction of making it to the next daily destination, and offered the promise of a completion certificate at the end of the trail in Fort Williams. Once on the trail, we realized that the surprisingly affordable MACS Adventures had been an excellent choice. They booked our lodging in charming inns and guest houses, and provided local knowledge in the form of good maps. We quickly understood how very much we were on our own. We studied our waterproof maps and followed the “thistle emblems” on wooden trail markers. For the most part, the trail was wel X\Y [H]\ [ܙHX]H\^N8'ۙHX\ۈ[H[\H\]ۘH[H]ۈ] [H[&]]ٙ'B]\YKۘH[HYH[YH܈H^ۙK\H\[[]Y[[X[HX\HۛB^H]\H \H^[]JH[X\\Z\[YH  MZ[\\^K]Bܝ\^\X[[ܙH[[[\Z[[Bۙ\^\[[][]X\HZ[˂[و\\YZ[\X]H\[[Bݙ\\\HوY[H\Z[^\ˈ\\[X[ΈYܝXHZ[\[Z[X][[ˈ[وH[YHHX]\\X]]Y[ ^\܈H\[ۜ[]\YX]ˈHYX\[H[\H\XX[\][X]\BܙX][SH8(SԑSS8(SPTSPT TS M™Z^KBL