Monday, April 26, 2010


POTUS and FLOTUS vacationed in Western North Carolina this past weekend. Oh...that would be the President of the United States and the First Lady of the United States. On Friday afternoon they decided to do a bit of hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Karen Russell, visiting our area from Ohio, happened to be hiking on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail on Friday afternoon. Two men "with little pins and ear pieces" approached her, followed by more Secret Service agents.

The agents scanned her (with her permission) with a metal detecting wand and checked her pockets, waist pack, and camera. About that time, the President and First Lady came into view. Ms. Russell was stunned and reacted just like we would have by asking something like, "Are you who I think you are?"

Both photographs from the Asheville Citizen-Times

The Obamas greeted her and shook hands, chatting for a while. One of the agents took Ms. Russell's photograph with the Obamas. They wished her well, told her to have a nice day, and walked on.

Saturday morning Ms. Russell quietly came down for breakfast at the little inn where she was staying. The owner asked her what she did the day before. She told them she went hiking on the Parkway. Oh, she also mentioned that she met the President and First Lady. Needless to say, the guests were suitably impressed.

The meeting was on television with the caption, "Elderly Hiker Meets the Obamas." ELDERLY!!! Ms. Russell is 65!!! I don't know if she took offense at being called elderly, but I certainly did! I must admit, I don't know what constitutes "elderly," but it sure ain't 65!


Dog_geek said...

We've done a bit og hiking on the Mountains to Sea trail, but never saw the President. In fact, we didn't see much of anyone. Frankly, if I was hiking by myself in a remote area and came across a bunch of secret service agents, I'd probably have a heart attack.

Leedra said...

What a shock to be hiking and walk up on the president.

I got the biggest laugh out of 'elderly lady' at 65. My mother (at 83) would definitely take offense to it.

Rudee said...

A twenty something intern wrote that caption. In another 40 years, I wonder what he...or she, will think of the age of 65. I have never thought of 65 as elderly. Eighty five, yes, but even then, I've met some 85 year olds who can put some 20 year olds to shame.

I can only say I hope I'm hiking at the age of 65. What a treat to meet someone like this upon the trail!

Vicki Lane said...

Ha! I saw the title of your post in the sidebar of my blog and knew EXACTLY where you were going with it. I had the same reaction. At 67 I sure don't think of myself as elderly -- my knees, maybe, but not ME!

As I read a lot of period fiction where 50 or even 40 is considered elderly, I'm getting used to these definitions.

TaraDharma said...

what an exciting encounter! How surreal. And then to read that one is 'elderly,' well, even more surreal. Too bad the reported couldn't have identified her by, say, her home state, or even a "tourist."

TSannie said...

As of June 4th I am eligible to live in senior housing...for cryin' out loud! I'm only gonna be 55! A spring chicken!

kks said...

that's hilarious! elderly?!
but how exciting to run into the Obamas while hiking!! very cool...

KGMom said...

I am absolutely with you--65 is decidedly NOT elderly.
(Ahem)...written by a not-elderly woman.

Busy Bee Suz said...

How funny and sweet.
I also don't think 65 is elderly...especially since she was out for a little hike!!!

~Kim~ said...

Well that beats any wild life they would have seen on their hike, and then to be so non-challant about it afterwards! That is really exciting--I would have been so star struck, I wouldn't have known what to say!! :-)

Hope you are well, and received my card--Many (many) thanks again!!! Hamlet is doing wonderfully!!

Samantha said...

How cool, but I agree!!!! 65 is elderly??? That is definitely news to us!
Hugs xo
Sammie and family

Jayne said...

Elderly? Seriously? Now, if she'd been 85 and on the trail.... :c)

How cool for her that she got to see them amongst the wildflowers!

troutbirder said...

How neat! Well she pretty much kept her cool. That's what us so called elderly are often noted for.

KB said...

That is a GREAT story! I'm with Dog_Geek - I'd likely have a heart attack if I came upon secret service agents on any of my remote hikes around here.

It sounds like our first couple is as gracious as I thought. What about the family celebrity, Bo? Sounds like he wasn't there.

I agree with you about the "elderly" part... but it was probably a 25 year old writer who thinks that a 35 year old is elderly :)

The Bug said...

I agree with you & everyone else - I used to think that 80 was the elderly mark, but as I get older, the older elderly gets LOL.

Anonymous said...

I loved the story, but had the same reaction to the "elderly" description!

She's younger than Harrison Ford, for goodness' sakes! Anyone ever call HIM elderly???

robin andrea said...

That's very funny. I always expect to be called "elderly" because of my very white-gray hair. At 58, I am certainly not elderly at all, and Roger at 67 isn't either. I guess it's the perspective of the author, but I'd like to see a little more sensitivity. What would the article have said if the hiker had had a bit of a larger girth?

Beth said...

I had the same reaction you did when I saw that headline. The closer I get to 65, the younger it seems---certainly not "elderly!" Ms. Russell could very likely out-hike the young whippersnapper that wrote that headline any day! Cheeky young upstart! *Shakes fist in air*

Barb said...

She looks like a nice lady, doesn't she? I'm amazed that the path wasn't sealed off! It's kind of fun that she got to meet the President while hiking - a great story for her Grandchildren if she has any!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for commenting, especially for agreeing that 65 is not elderly.

Vicki - I also find it interesting how old some period fiction makes the 50 year old female.

Kim - Yes, I received your thoughtful card and delightful picture.

KB - The Obamas did not bring Bo. However, Three Dog Bakery made a special treat for the FDOTUS (First Dog of the United States).

Barb - The Obama vacation was very casual with a lot of interaction with the public. In fact, they stood in line to wait for lunch. The President greeted the people who live on the golf course if his ball was lying anywhere near. And he tossed a Presidential golf ball to a little girl.

Ruth said...

Our numbered age becomes increasingly irrelevant after about age 40. I have seen people who are old at 50 years and others who are young 80 year olds. This active 65 year old is definitely not elderly.

Karin said...

Loved the POTUS and FLOTUS!!! Lovely to be on a hike and meet such celebrities!

Elderly Karin