Spring has sprung in the Adirondacks, and although the coming of springtime signals a time of renewal and helps many to come out of the “winter blues,” early Spring also means gray skies, soggy yards, and mud, lots of it.
What better time to showcase the serene beauty of the Adirondack region, while highlighting the artistic talents of one Adirondack grandmother who found rejuvenation, peace and serenity in the mountains, igniting a newfound adoration for hiking that she hopes will span across many generations in her family.
Beth Pashley, who lives in Old Forge with her husband of nearly 48 years, Mike, works at the Old Forge Library part time and has an affinity for arts & crafts, reading, and thinking outside the box when it comes to spending quality time with her two children and five grandchildren.
Other than small hikes with family during their camping excursions, Beth didn’t embark on her first big hike until age 17 at Blue Mountain along with a group from high school.
“I had no idea at that time just 2 short years later in 1973, I would be living in the Adirondacks full time,” Beth said. “Even then, other than a few hikes here and there with friends, [our] cub scout pack, etc., hiking was not a big thing.”
Like most locals, Beth found she was too busy working (as a clerk at the Old Forge Post Office for 10 years and then as Postmaster in Inlet for 15 years, retiring in 2009), and raising a family, to be able to take advantage of all the Adirondacks have to offer. Fast forward to the summer of 2020, the first summer of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beth said she was looking for outdoor activities she could do weekly with her grandkids which is when “The Grandma Chronicles” came to fruition.
“[The Grandma Chronicles] wasn’t always hiking, but that led me to wanting to be outdoors more and I started hiking in earnest,” she said. “I wasn’t in the best shape and some hikes were a challenge. Blue Mountain certainly was a challenge at 66 years old, [and] it had been 49 years since I had last hiked it! [The] winter of 2020-21 was my first experience winter hiking. I find it actually to be easier, in some respects, than other times of the year, as long as you are dressed properly and have the right gear…snowshoes, poles, spikes depending on the conditions.”
Now, Beth said she is proud to proclaim that she is officially “hooked on hiking,” noting she has reaped both mental and physical benefits over the last couple of years.
“I hope I’m able to continue [to hike] for many years to come, and just maybe I’m teaching the grandkids [that] you are never too old to start something new!” Beth said.