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Couple takes in miles of adventure | Volkssport look
Frank and Brenda Dudfield have tramped the trails and loped along the lanes of locales all over the planet in the last 20 years.
Busy feet have taken them as far away as the Great Wall of China, New Zealand and, this past June, as close as Republic, a tiny town of 2,100 in the northeast corner of Washington state.
Last weekend's Northwest Regional Volkssport Association Convention at Camp Barachah finally brought theirs and many other seasoned feet to Auburn.
Four local walks, ranging from 5 to 10 kilometers, awaited the Surrey, B.C. couple and all the other marchers. Although the walks started with a turn through Northwest Trek, the big, bad, voodoo monster daddy of the four-day adventure was the 10-kilometer walk down Crystal Mountain.
Expecting the Crystal Mountain walk to be "a breeze," my girlfriend, Ann, and I learned the hard way, making one's way down a mountain, in 90-degree heat, a goodly portion of said descent on shale, at a healthy angle was, let's say, not as easy as it first sounded. The four-hour-walk spun itself into six hours.
As aching calves told us afterward, this was God's bullhorn yelling, "You're out of shape."
No sweat for the Dudfields, seniors in their early 70s. I met them after a terrific Gondola ride to the top, where we, they and many others stood spell struck in a collective gawk at the vista of Mount Rainier from the sun-splashed summit of Crystal Mountain.
Ranked right up there, the couple said, with some of the top sights they have taken in to date during their years of footing it with the International Volksmarch Association and its branches in various nations.
The couple got involved with the organization after spotting an ad in their local paper for a Volkssporting event with the Surrey Trekkers. Since then they walked for events credit with the organization. Brenda herself is closing in on 17,000 kilometers, a serious amount of shoe leather, whatever way you look at it.
"It's a world-wide organization. It makes you travel and see places you wouldn't normally go to," Dudfield, a London native, said of Volkssporting. "During local walks, you go to areas you didn't know existed. We've done a lot of walks here with the local 4-Plus club. We have been to the convention in Sacramento and walked in every province in Canada. We were in Alaska for the convention two years ago. We were in Australia and New Zealand last year."
What was the best?
"This is good," Brenda laughed, with a nod to Mount Rainier across the valley. "We went to China with IVA-sanctioned events for 12 days. Our first walk was on the Great Wall. It tied in the with the Royal Dutch Marching League, 641 of them in orange shirts, walking up and down the Great Wall. That was quite something."
"The first time I went out with our son in Cloverdale, Surrey, B.C.," said Frank Dudfield, "Brenda, who had something else to do that day, said to 'let us know what it's like.' Well, it's turned out to be everything from streets to mountain walks and everything in between."
"Fun, fitness and friendship, the three Fs, that's our motto, and the fourth is the food. Unfortunately, a lot of us don't lose weight because we go to a restaurant afterward. Some of us add the fifth F, which is fermented fruits," said Brenda Dudfield.
"I started out looking for trails that I wouldn't be scared to attempt in a hiking book. The confidence is that I get my map, I know that it's a certain difficulty and I know that in two hours I'm going to be back to my car, opposed to taking a wrong trail in a hiking book. I started when my kids were little because I was looking for hiking and walking adventures I could be more confident taking on," said Carlyn Madsen of Port Orchard.
Brushing aside a common assumption about the Volkssport movement, that it's just something for the old folks, Madsen pointed to her 4-year old grandson, Kaieen, pack on back, tough little legs ready to rumble and roar down the mountain.
"Look at him. He was up at 5 a.m. for this," Madsen said. "He has two complete 5-kilometer walks, and this is his second 10K."