She’s on year 7 of her hiking resolution

Longtime Ranlo, NC resident Linda Benfield hiked Crowders Mountain for the first time in 2010 when a friend asked Benfield to join her for her birthday.

Benfield, now 74, exercised all her life, but something was different about hiking to a North Carolina mountain’s peak. The trees, the smell, the view – it captivated her, and she was addicted.

With her new resolution in mind, Benfield set out to find a hiking group who hit the trails during the week, with no foreseeable luck. She set out on several trails with another friend in the meantime, but eventually, schedules changed and the trips stopped.

She’d only learned to use a computer a few years prior, but she had enough expertise to create a Facebook group – Carolina Ridge Runners – in 2013 in hopes she’d inspire some of her friends, mostly friends she met at the Gaston County Senior Center, to join her.

“The best things in life are free, and this is a way to take advantage of the wide open spaces and fresh air. Short strolls to all day excursions. You pick what you want to do. All you need is plenty of water and a good attitude. It is amazing how even the worst attitude changes when you get away from the chaos and walk among the trees,” Benfield wrote to the Carolina Ridge Runners on Facebook.

For Benfield, it’s not about staying fit, though it’s a nice bonus. It’s about escaping.

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