Joanne Applegate believes you’re never too old to try something new.
The 94-year-old Zionsville resident took up hiking as a hobby when she was 70. Nearly a quarter of a century later, she still tries to meet with fellow hikers and walk the trails in Zionsville.
“I don’t think it’s ever too late,” she said of trying new activities. “You can get up and walk around your block.”
Applegate began hiking shortly after her husband Don Applegate died. The same year her husband died, the woman Applegate often walked with also passed away. Applegate then flew to Switzerland to meet a group of hikers organized through the Elderhostel, a nonprofit educational travel program now known as Road Scholar. She discovered she loved hiking and, upon returning to the states, joined the Indianapolis Hiking Club two years later in 1999 at age 72.
Applegate thought the club would present an opportunity to socialize and make friends.
She was right, and she has traveled around the world hiking with other hikers, who are now friends, she met in the club. She’s hiked with friends in France, England, Scotland and U.S. National Parks, among other areas. In 2007, she was recognized by the club for hiking 1,000 miles in a year. She has walked the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon seven times.
“The great thing about the hiking club is you don’t need a friend to go with,” she said. “New people are so welcome.”
Applegate said she enjoys the physical component of hiking, but the biggest benefit has been making friends.
“Those are the nicest people in the Indianapolis Hiking Club,” she said. “It’s been so good in my life.”
Applegate hikes less as she ages, but she said she’s doing well.
“I usually walk 2 miles with stops along the way,” she said.
Applegate maintains her health by attending three yoga classes a week at Blooming Life Studio in Zionsville.
“I hope it helps,” she said. “The thing about yoga …….