Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, deserves high praise for the discipline and determination that enabled him to lose weight and to improve his fitness.
I applaud his “Hike with Mike” invitation to others to join him on his planned hike of the distance between Boise and Washington, D.C. For many who accept the challenge, this could be a life-changing experience. I know because I have been there.
Many years ago, while serving as a member of Congress from Mike’s district, I frequently took pack trips with the Forest Service into the Sawtooths and other forests in my district.
I also climbed Mount Borah, Idaho’s highest peak, and the three Tetons in Wyoming.
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On my next trip, a three-week trek to Nepal, I reached the Everest base camp in the Himalayas at just under 20,000 feet.
I dropped 30 pounds on that venture. Later, with my brothers, I climbed some of the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere in Mexico and Ecuador. My last high climb with our daughter Katherine took us to the top of Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
To keep in shape, I made daily runs, mostly in my neighborhood, with the goal of running 25,000 miles, the distance around the world at the Equator.
I plotted my route on a globe. It took me 14 years. My runs included 20 full marathons. I ran the last 3 miles on my 75th birthday on the highway near our log home in Stanley.
At the age of 89 I can’t keep up with Mike, but I still make more leisurely daily runs in my neighborhood and along the Greenbelt in Boise.
Orval Hansen, of Boise, served in Congress representing Idaho’s 2nd District from 1968 to 1975.