Written by Panorama Hiking Guide, Steve Pogge. February 2016
We have some amazing people at Panorama. Most everyone here has lived full and interesting lives. What I find inspiring is that people at Panorama do not stop living once they reach senior status. No where do I find this more evident than on my hikes and walks. The people who sign up for my trips are still very interested in learning, exercise, spirituality, health, appreciating nature, getting outside, socializing and just plain having fun .
Each year, myself and the volunteer guides have the hard task of picking one individual who exemplifies traits that we feel reflect the best qualities in an outdoors person or any person for that matter.
For the 2015 season, Sylvia Clark has been awarded the HIKER of the YEAR.
This was a very tough decision, we had many possible picks, we narrowed it down to 5 or 6 individuals and it was close.
Here are some of the variables that tipped the scales. Sylvia is a fairly new resident to Panorama and jumped into the hikes and walks with both feet (literally). She completed 20 1-day trips in 2016 (more than any other person) along with completing the Oregon Coast/ Mt. Hood 6-day trip.
It wasn’t the number of hikes but her enthusiasm which won us over. She is the best ambassador we could ever want. She is always positive and friendly. Having nice things to say about others and eternally looking on the bright side of life. Sylvia is one of the few people who will never speak poorly of another individual no matter who it is.
We did have challenges last year as we do every year on certain trips. We encountered heat in the 90’s, a few downpours, difficult rocky terrain on some walks and a few were challenging in length and elevation. Sylvia pushed through it all without even a hint of complaint. She wasn’t able to make it to the end of all the trails. I appreciated that she knew her limits and made the decision on a couple of occasions to retreat and save herself for another day.
We all experience and are touched by nature differently. Some look at a majestic mountain range, meadow wildflowers, a stand of old growth trees, a rapid flowing river and recognize the beauty. Others not only recognize the beauty but are truly moved to the core by the wilderness finery. Sylvia is one of those people who can be truly touched by nature. I was reminded of this when I caught her hugging a tree on one of our hikes.
All of us, at one point in our lives have struggles and hardships to deal with, whether it be a physical problem, an illness or loss of a family member. Sylvia has dealt with a severe loss of sight in recent years. Most people would feel sorry for them self and stop doing many activities. Sylvia did not let this slow her down, she continues to walk and hike with the added challenge of not being able to see the trail all that well. It is that courage, heart and positive nature that inspires us and we are proud to bestow on her: HIKER OF THE YEAR 2015!