80-year-old Greensboro couple hiking through their golden years

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- On a sunny but very cold Greensboro morning, Sylvia Beck, 83, and Bill Haney, 80, prepare to leave their Abbotswood at Irving Park home by putting on their sunglasses and grabbing their hats and jackets.

Their next stop: hiking the trails that crisscross north Greensboro.

"There are a lot of nice trails in Greensboro that you can hike that are 5 to 10 miles," Beck said.

She has always enjoyed being outside.

Her husband, Bill Haney, caught the love of hiking from his wife. In 1988, the couple took their hobby to another level when they enrolled in an outdoors course at Guilford College.

They learned how to backpack and the types of equipment, food and clothing they needed in order to be prepared and safe. After the class, they put their knowledge to use on the Appalachian Trail.

"You get to see amazing sights like all kinds of wildlife," Beck said. "Everyday is a new day, a different day. It's exciting."

Several vacations and 13 years later, the couple finished the 2,200-mile trek at Mount Katahdin in Maine. It's an accomplishment Haney treasures.

"Sleeping outdoors in a tent is a very unique experience and we've done it in all kinds of weather," Haney said.

Their hikes haven't always been perfect.

Beck recalls a trip when she slipped on a rain-soaked trail and broke her wrist. They were deep in the woods. The only person that could help Beck was her husband.

"He was able to splint my arm and create a sling to keep my hand still," Beck said. "I was able to walk back up that mountain."

Overcoming challenges is nothing new for the couple. They are hoping their story and age will encourage others to be active.

"I think if you exercise regularly, you are much better off health-wise," Haney said.

"And that constant exercise is something that stimulated our bodies in ways most people don't. They sit in chairs all of the time," Beck said.

The husband and wife team have hiked trails and mountains from Washington to Australia.

The couple believes years of hiking have given them plenty of strength to do even more hiking. Beck and Haney want people to join them and start living a healthy lifestyle.

"Get out there and walk and enjoy the outdoors," Beck said. "Listen to the birds, look at the colors and experience the weather."

Sunday, November 17th is a great day to start hiking. It's National Hiking Day.

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