Taking on the All Trails Challenge!

News // November 12, 2020

See the 6ABC interview with Mary and Paul Henry of the “Boomers” ATC team as they make their way through the park – and help support the Henry’s challenge on their ATC page here!

“Take your time, walk at your own pace,” says Mary Henry, as she strides down the connector trail by the Hartwell Lane Trailhead on the east side of Wissahickon Valley Park.

Keeping up with her is easier said than done. Since moving to Philadelphia at the beginning of the pandemic in April, Mary, 72, and her husband Paul, 75, have been zooming down the Wissahickon’s trails. After relocating from Monmouth County, NJ, to Chestnut Hill (to be closer to their daughter and son-in-law who live in East Falls), the couple spent the first few months of quarantine exploring their neighborhood, and came across the park.

Amazed at the Wissahickon’s size within Philly’s city limits, one of the first things the Henrys did was request a map from Friends of the Wissahickon and become members of the organization. When FOW’s 2020 All Trails Challenge came along in August, they decided to work as a team to take on the park’s trails while fundraising for its conservation.

The Henrys’ initial goals were an ambitious 50 miles and $500 dollars for their “Boomers” team, but the pair hit their mileage in little more than a month and are continuing to build on their fundraising goals. They explain their impressive mileage as simple persistence: since they’re retired, they would go out on weekdays and do about 5 miles each time. An active couple, they’re also avid hikers, who have done hiking trips in the Smokeys, and have varied activities to keep in tip-top shape – Paul runs daily and Mary likes dancing.

Asked what advice they’d give other older adults thinking about joining the ATC, they said:

  • “Most of the trails are easy to get to and aren’t difficult.”
  • “It’s like anything else: You break it into small, manageable pieces.”
  • “Be sure to look. There’s a lot of beautiful and interesting things to see. History is all over the park.”
  • “The ATC is a great way to get outdoors and experience nature. And the views! You you don’t realize you’re in the city.”

The Henrys were recently featured on 6ABC’s Art of Aging – you can see the interview here. With three weeks left in the All Trails Challenge, we also hope that you’ll consider donating to their ATC page! They’re currently #4 in fundraising, and on their way to winning FOW’s prize for top fundraisers with your help.

See more stories about our amazing ATC challengers by visiting their pages at atc.fow.org!