Missouri couple hikes 50 states in 14 years

There’s the sharp smell of sulfur fumes emanating from the lava fields in Hawaii. And the strange-looking deer they found tangled in a fence in Nebraska. Oh, and the eight stitches she got from a nasty fall at Devils Tower in South Dakota.

Relaxing in their comfortable center city home in Springfield, MO, the memories come in a rush for Ester and Bill Bultas. Although they started hiking in their 60s — relatively late in life — in just 14 years the couple managed to explore trails in all 50 states and parts of Canada. More adventures are on their horizon.

Ester, who taught high school science for 30 years, and Bill, 73, a retired Internal Revenue Service auditor, didn’t set out to hike in all 50 states. But in 2000, they took a trip to Quebec City, Quebec, and Montreal, and walked some trails. Something clicked.

The following year, they flew to Hawaii where they trekked across the black lava fields of a volcanic caldera at the Big Island’s Volcanoes National Park. There, they discovered the value of being properly equipped for hiking.

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