Grundy County Herald – A very “youthful” 90-year old has just checked off a new adventure on her “Bucket List”, proving it’s never too late! Marilyn Shatzer, age 90, and her 80-year old “baby brother”, Ted Beightol, enjoyed a thrilling zipline experience recently at Bigfoot Adventures. Clad in the proper harnesses and helmets, they did 4 different ziplines above treetops and through the forest, each one more exhilarating than the one before. Marilyn lives in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Ted is a local resident of Grundy County. Having the same adventurous spirit as her younger brother, Marilyn has dreamed of getting to zipline for years. Our own Bigfoot Adventures located in Tracy City, TN, made that dream come true. The staff and guides ~ Sheila, Danny, Alyssa, Jeremiah, Matt and J.T. ~ who arranged and facilitated all this excitement were absolutely wonderful. They were fun, professional and extremely accommodating. These senior siblings agree that it’s amazing to have such a facility as Bigfoot in this somewhat remote mountain area.
Both zipline participants had only positive comments after their experience and seemed to serve as inspiration to a few much younger people. Marilyn said, “climbing the stairs up to the first platform was probably the most difficult aspect of ziplining but, even that wasn’t bad”. She was particularly anxious and afraid of how she would stop after zipping through the air so fast but there was always a professional guide to assist with a soft landing at each platform. Her anxiety was quickly replaced with pure excitement after completing the first zipline. Ted showed no reluctance for ziplining at all. His enthusiasm was there from the start and he appeared relaxed with arms out-stretched while flying through the trees. Even though Ted or Marilyn didn’t hang upside down or do fancy somersaults in the air, they had as much fun as those who did. Plus, just think of the “bragging rights” this gives their grandchildren and great grandchildren for years to come.
Many years ago, Ted and his wife, Lyn (Ethlyn Wofford-Beightol, originally from Coalmont) developed the tradition of picking up Marilyn in PA and taking her on a long summer trip in their motor home. The trip always begins with the Beightol Family Reunion, held on July 4th in western New York (near Jamestown) where Marilyn and Ted grew up. This year the Beightol family celebrated its 90th consecutive annual get-together with almost fifty people from 7 different states in attendance. (And, yes, Marilyn was at the very first reunion as a baby.) Following the family gathering and visits with friends in their hometown area, the three travelers – Marilyn, Ted and Lyn – take off every year to other parts of the country. Occasionally, Lyn makes travel arrangements and reservations prior to their trip, but, more often than not, they leave it up to serendipity. In other words, they just take off for a few weeks of exploring and making new discoveries. They much prefer the sights, sounds and tastes of “back roads” over interstate highways. In hopes of finding cooler weather, their travels have taken them throughout the eastern, northern and western U.S. and every province of Canada. (The southern U.S. is reserved for winter months only.)
Marilyn and Ted, being almost ten years apart in age, never had the opportunity to know each other very well as brother and sister when they were young, but as adults, they get together whenever possible. Physical distance between their homes (Michigan and Pennsylvania for Marilyn and Florida and Tennessee for Ted) has limited the time they’ve spent together. This is even more reason to stay close to family and make new memories every chance you can.
These three seasoned travelers insist that the most important items to pack for any trip are a good attitude and the spirit of adventure. That is exactly what led them to spend a memorable and awesome day at Bigfoot Adventures. Marilyn, Ted and Lyn want you to know that IT’S NEVER TOO LATE to fulfill “bucket list” dreams and some of them may be found in your own back yard. So, stop wasting time and get ready to… “Embrace the Journey”!