Extreme Games – elderly daredevils – Brief Article
A chilling splash of water, a sinking feeling in the stomach, and a face etched with a sense of exhilaration — an encounter with nature’s own roller coaster. Some people would rather detour from Nature’s precarious ride; others, however, want to face the ride and ask, Is that all She’s got? At 62, Marlene Limmer is among those daredevils who have become addicted and appreciative of all nature has to offer.
A native of Michigan, Limmer has enjoyed the outdoors since she was a child. In addition to snow skiing and ice-skating, Limmer admits, “I also like rafting, canoeing, hiking, camping, and volkssport, a two-day sport similar to a self-paced triathlon. I intend to continue with these activities for as long as I can.”
Tyndall Air Force Base’s (southeast of Panama City, Fla.) outdoor recreation service, known as Bonita Bay, offers many of the activities that have rekindled Limmer’s love of the great outdoors and unleashed her adventurous side. She was stationed in Florida with her husband, retired Tech. Sgt. Alfred Limmer, in 1981. “One weekend Alfred had to leave and assist his mother in some tasks. I was alone and decided to explore Bonita Bay. I discovered a listing of their various activities and decided to participate. I have been doing the versatile activities through Bonita Bay for 18 years.”
“White-water rafting is my favorite activity. The first trip was to the Ocoee River, which is Located in Benton, Tennessee. For me it was a hook, line, and sinker; I was addicted from the start,” Limmer says. She recalls a trip to the Ocoee in 1997, an outing she calls her best. “We did the upper section, also known as the Olympic portion, which took three hours, and then did the Lower portion, which took another three hours. We camped and had Lunch between the two areas. It was rugged and tough but very exciting,” she remembers. “I even experienced a segment known as Jump Rock.”
Limmer enjoys this section of the river because it involves plunging your body into the rapids. It’s Like a huge washing machine propelling you about. It holds you in place until you decide to tempt the water’s fury with movement, then spits you out.
Although, white-water rafting is Limmer’s favorite activity, she has also been enticed by other aquatic activities. “Canoe trips are fabulous. Every trip is a little different because storms always change the waters and surrounding areas. Trees are sometimes knocked down, which provides more challenges when maneuvering a canoe,” Limmer says. “It tests your skills. There are several individuals who kiss every tree and bush on their way down the rivers.”
Limmer is equally engrossed by activities on Land. “I have taken hiking trips to St. Vincent Island near Port St. Joe Park. The park is only about 50 miles east of Tyndall and Providence Canyon, Located outside of Lumpkin, Georgia. Providence Canyon offers diverse trails entailing backpacking and primitive camping. Each trip on land varies quite similarly to each trip on the water. The Providence Canyon is constantly eroding and transforming. The canyon’s main trails are known as the Red Blaze Trail, which is a camping excursion, and the White Blaze Trail, which is a one-day affair,” Limmer says.
Although Limmer participates in a great spectrum of activities, she still yearns for more excitement. “The next thing I want to do is rock climbing and rope rappelling. It Looks Like so much fun,” she says.
In addition to the tremendous health benefits, these activities provide great feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction for Limmer. She treasures the enhancement to her Life. “I really appreciate Bonita Bay for having these trips. It is so nice, especially when my husband is gone,” Limmer says. Even at 62, Limmer still embarks upon the wild side of nature with dedication and boundless enthusiasm, proving that the great outdoors is an ultimate experience.
“She is one of the most inspiring and vibrant women I know,” says Cindy Workman, 325th Services Squadron outdoor recreation director, of Limmer. “She can influence anyone of any age to raft, hike, camp, or canoe. She enjoys rafting, and usually takes the lead, illustrating her dedication to these activities.”
COPYRIGHT 1999 National Recreation and Park Association
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group