Larry & Kermit's Story

[Larry (left) and Kermit (right) walked the 71-mile High Line Canal in the summer of 2018 with Walking Movement Leader Chris Englert, who contends that Kermit is the oldest person to have walked the entire way, at age 82! Featured by Darcy Kitching]

 

Kermit: We walk out of our complex right onto the High Line Canal.

Larry: We live at about mile 48. We’ve been walking and bicycling along the Canal for a long time. I’d always thought about wanting to do the whole thing, and then I saw signs about the walking series. I went online and learned about it, and we decided to do it starting in June.

I’d ridden the Canal a long time before I walked it. I thought I had bicycled clear to the end, but when we walked it, I found out I wasn’t even close – I’d gone the wrong way! My favorite part about walking the High Line was learning the history of the families who had settled here and the things they did. [Our Walking Movement Leader] Chris knew that so well.

Kermit: I really don’t have a background here (I’m from Sacramento, California), so I don’t remember all of the names of the places we saw along the way, but I really enjoyed walking behind Windsor Gardens and the Fairmount Cemetery. I had never been on most of the Canal or even visited the areas it goes through.

Larry: The group we hiked it with is still hiking together on Fridays. We’ve tried to hike every Friday since we finished the High Line in October. The idea of walking and connecting really brought us together.

Kermit: Chris says I’m the oldest person to have walked the whole High Line Canal, at 82. I had never done anything like that before. I had never hiked before at all.

Larry and I met when he was 72 and I was 74. We got together that year and I moved out to Colorado. I had a bicycle in California, but it stayed in the garage. The only thing I did was, after my partner of 30 years died, I got a notification from the American Heart Association asking if I wanted to do a walk in his honor. I had never thought about walking before, but I said yes. I trained and ended up walking two half-marathons. I met Larry about a year later, and I had no idea that he was so active – he has climbed every fourteener in Colorado! When I came out here and learned how active he was, I said, it’ll probably keep me alive, so why not? I didn’t start doing any of this until I was 74.

Larry had a group that would bicycle every Wednesday. I walked right into this group of friends – I was lucky. They were doing bicycling, hiking. Larry had a house in Breckenridge, and we would go up there and hike.  

Larry: I moved to Colorado from Iowa in 1960, after I graduated from college. I grew up on a farm, so we were always outside and doing things. I love the mountains. The minute I got here, I started backpacking. I hiked all over. I had no intention of ever climbing all of the fourteeners until I got to about 45 and I thought, well, maybe I should finish this! I really like hiking and biking and skiing – all of the outdoors stuff. I can’t do what I used to do, but I still like it.

Kermit: If I had come here on my own, I probably wouldn’t have stayed. The older you get, the harder it is to meet people because you don’t do the same things you did when you were 20, 30 or 40. You don’t go to the same places, you don’t put yourself out there to meet people the same way. Sometimes, the older you get, you don’t put yourself out there to meet people at all! So, I was very lucky to walk right into this group of people with whom I just clicked right away. It was wonderful.

Larry: It’s kind of funny – if it weren’t for the fact that I got the start date of the walking series wrong, we might never have walked the whole High Line together. I saw the date and where the group was going to meet, so I went out there when I thought it was. Turns out, I was a day early. I went home and contacted our friend Linda, who had talked about walking it. She said she would do it, and then Kermit decided to do it, too. It was lucky that I got the date wrong!