What do you imagine yourself doing at the age of 84?
For Mickey Thomas of Osceola, he can say he went on a 10-day hiking trip in the Lake District of northern England.
“I thought that sounded like a great adventure,” Thomas said.
Thomas was able to get a last spot available on the September hiking trip organized by World Tours.
Thomas said he’s never hiked in northern England. However, he has hiked and climbed in the Alps in Europe.
To train and condition, Thomas went on hiking trips in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and the Canadian Rockies. He also walked to work at Robinsons True Value.
Thomas was the oldest hiker on the northern England trip. He said he was “pretty apprehensive about it.”
“I was as prepared as I could get,” Thomas said. “I finished every hike that was scheduled. I was usually in the last of the hikers, but not exactly the last — close to it.”
As for his favorite part of the trip, Thomas said he enjoyed the hikes near the Scottish border of northern England.
“The Romans built a wall between England and Scotland,” he said. “They were unsuccessful in conquering the Scottish, and so they built this tall wall clear across on northern England. It still remains intact. It’s probably 10 to 12 feet high.”
Thomas also said he enjoyed going to the Housesteads Roman Fort, which is near Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.
“It was a large fort, and it was built out of stones,” Thomas said.
Why does Thomas still go on these hiking trips?
“I have worked at the store now for 57 years, and I’ve seen the lifestyles of thousands and thousands of people,” he said. “The people I’ve observed who have the longest longevity are those who remain active. I don’t think God intended for us to drive cars around. Walking is probably the best exercise that we can do. Any doctor would back me up on that.”
‘Tales from the Aisles’
If Thomas and his trips sound familiar, it’s because he wrote the weekly column “Tales from the Aisles” in the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune for 10 years.
Thomas will have have three volumes of his columns on sale in December. Book signings will be scheduled at Robinsons True Value, Murray and Woodburn. Proceeds will go to Osceola Lions Club.
Thomas said he makes a yearly trip to the Canadian Rockies to hike and stay at a back-region lodge called Lake O’Hara. He also skis every spring in Winter Park, Colo.
But, there are still so many places throughout the world he would like to see.
“I would like to go to Central and South America and hike the trails to the Aztec ruins,” Thomas said. “I would like to go back to the Alps and Europe again. I have never hiked or climbed in the Pacific Northwest. I would like to do that.”