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Hiking with
calgary Ed
One step, one hike,
one adventure at a
time for er, 39+ years
¦ “First off I’m Ed; Mr. Keith was my father.”
No beating around the bush – that’s the Ed
Keith I recently had the pleasure of meeting
when I caught up with the active 85-year-
old for a hike along the Douglas Fir Trail
in northwest Calgary. But if you ever have
the opportunity of meeting him yourself,
don’t mention that you’ve heard he’s an
octogenarian about to celebrate another
birthday, ‘cause he’ll just have to correct
you. “I’m celebrating my 39
birthday... for
the 47
He smiled when he told me that last year
several young friends joined him at the top
of the scree on Mount Yamnuska for a sip
of bubbly and a bite of cake. This year, they
plan to snowshoe up to the Kananaskis
Lookout on the big day.
As I watched him stride up the path in
Edworthy Park, his 6’4” frame lean and walk. As we climbed the first snow-covered to ask him about his hike along the West
limber, I wondered what I’d gotten myself slope, he gently asked if I was doing okay. Coast Trail last year, when he completed
into when I agreed to meet him for a hike. “Yup, fine,” I puffed. the 75-kilometre trek with his daughter
He eyed my leather dress shoes (hiking It’s a trail he’s well familiar with, having and a handful of others much younger than
boots forgotten by the back door) with little trekked it at least 16 times in the past six himself. The journey almost ground to a
comment, merely adding that if I thought months. When he’s not on the Douglas Fir, halt on day two when Ed slipped and hit his
I could manage it we could attempt the weekends usually find him hiking much head so hard he had a subdural hematoma
higher, in the mountains. (bruise on the brain). “My daughter and
He’s been known to tally up 300 the others were talking about having me
kilometres of hiking in a single month, but evacuated,” Ed says. And then he adds,
now averages about 30 kilometres a week. “Behind my back.” Needless to say, he didn’t
Turns out Ed didn’t really get back into abort the trip (which he used as a platform
hiking until he retired from his job as a to raise money for his daughter’s charity, the
chemical engineer with Texaco, nearly 20
years ago. You’d think I would have picked
up stronger clues about his penchant for
silence when he earlier informed me he
enjoyed hiking for the peace and quiet
he found along the trail. But no, I kept
chattering away until we reached another
set of stairs and he stopped mid-way up
the flight. Turning, he looked down and said
quietly, “You know, I don’t usually talk so
much on a hike. I prefer to save my breath
for the climb.”
I was silent for the next few minutes and
then I couldn’t resist any longer. I just had
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