Sequim woman walks 51 miles

Instead of sky diving, buying a sports car or doing any other quirky thing for her 50th birthday, Heidi Pattee decided to trek 51 miles along the trail she’s help create.

Pattee, who is a member of the county’s volunteer Olympic Discovery Trail maintenance and construction crew as well as a member of the Peninsula Trails Coalition, walked from 4:30 a.m. to 10:10 p.m. June 17, her birthday.

“I was somewhat amazed at how great I felt throughout the day,” she said, indicating that her legs felt fine the day after as well. “I figured if I kept a pace of about 3 to 3.5 miles an hour I would finish before too late.”

Friends and family joined her at different points along the trail and three women stayed with her for the entire 51 miles.

“For me, what was inspiring was how many people in our local community came out to celebrate the trail, which is an amazing resource we have on the peninsula,” she said. “I would suggest that for anyone who has not seen or walked the adventure route, to go out there and check it out.”

The adventure route runs from the western edge of the Americans with Disabilities Act approved Olympic Discovery Trail’s western edge near the Elwha River to Lake Crescent. It’s not as flat and wide as the ODT, but the scenery is breathtaking, said Pattee.

About 40 people met her at her half-way-point at the Spruce Railroad Trailhead for cake and refreshments. Many had written her notes of inspiration to be read by friends during the nearly 18-hour walk.

“The notes really helped encourage me along the way,” she said. “Also, I had dozens of visitors along the walk, which is really one of the assets of the trail — how many access points there are.”

For the most part, Pattee didn’t need a flashlight as the sun crested the horizon shortly after she started walking. But friends did meet her near the end of the walk to carry a light for her during the last 20 minutes of her trek.

“It was like a daylong party,” said volunteer trail crew coordinator Lorrie Campbell. “We really had a great time celebrating not only Heidi’s birthday but the ongoing completions of the trail.”

Pattee said it was the ongoing piecemeal completions of the trail that made her realize the 51-mile walk was her birthday wish.

“My husband, Dick, and I worked on so many different segments, I wanted to do something that connected them all together in my mind,” she said. “I’m pretty active as it is, but I did take time leading up to the walk to prepare myself. It felt good to push for a big goal and achieve it.”

Now Pattee looks toward Blyn to finish restoring a railroad trestle that spans a ravine north of U.S. Highway 101 across from Sequim Bay Lodge together with other Peninsula Trails Coalition volunteers.

“We’re working on a overlook on one side of the trestle to give people the opportunity to see the span they are walking or biking across,” she said. “One more work party should get the thing finished.”

For more information on the Olympic Discovery Trail

or the Peninsula Trails Coalition, visit the Web site www.

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