Get Out There

Two Grandmothers Hike to Avoid Loneliness

We like to talk about getting out and about on Fridays. As the pandemic has dragged on, we’ve been speaking about digital travel, indoors exercise and more ways to feel connected to the world. We’ve also talked about quarantine buddies and the idea of having a small group of people who only interact with each other.

Two women from Boise, Idaho, have found a perfect way to get out safely. We admire them so much that we wanted to share their story with you. Blythe Fortin, 67, and Angie Diggs, 68, were missing their grandchildren. But, concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19, they have stayed away from their families.

The two friends decided to fill their time with a project. Both enjoy the great outdoors and decided to go for a hike. But it wasn’t just any hike.

We were hiking on one of the trails, and we were both discussing how we missed being able to see our granddaughters during this pandemic,” said Ms. Diggs. “We thought, ‘Gee, we need a project. We need something to do.’ So Blythe said, ‘Why don’t we hike every inch of these Ridge to Rivers trails?’”

They started on April 3, by Memorial Day had hiked 140 miles in two months. That’s 70 percent of the trails! They hike three times a week and have discovered that some beautiful trails are at their doorsteps. They keep their distance and drive to the trails separately because they want to be safe.

For me it was a surprise to find that we had Bob’s Trail so close to us,” said Ms. Diggs. “You’re in Boise and then all of a sudden you’re in the Foothills.”

I had done a number of the trails but when I got a map of Ridge to Rivers, I saw just the extent of the trail system,” agreed Ms. Fortin.

They are active women, but the hike hasn’t been a walk in the park. They work as a team to get through it. “We both have had issues,” said Ms. Fortin. “I am legally blind in one eye, so I have no depth perception and my vision is severely compromised… So when we hike, Angie is in front of me and she’s telling me when there’s a rough spot or a slippery spot or a rock.”

I’ve just so thoroughly enjoyed the experience getting to know Idaho and what makes it unique,” Ms. Diggs said. “I’ve lived all over… and I’ve just never been in a place that provided such wonderful outdoor life with the trails.”

We think their story is truly inspiring! You can watch a video where they talk about their hike here. We deeply admire their effort. But, many people aren’t up to that enormous challenge. We aren’t all blessed with gorgeous local trails. Just finding a COVID-19 buddy and taking a walk can be a great start to getting healthy, get outdoors and keep your friendship strong. We wish these women and you all the best as you find activities that bring you joy!

Banner image: TNS Photo via

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