It was with grit, enthusiasm and a little help from family and friends that helped Helen Horn summit the Lone Butte at 96 years of age on June 21.
Helen made the ascent with the help of a group of friends and her son Gus to celebrate a year since suffering a stroke. She’s no stranger to the Lone Butte as she used to climb if often in her younger years.
Born on her parents’ homestead in Lone Butte 96 years ago, Helen was born the daughter of a farmer-rancher who went on to marry a farmer-rancher. She worked the farm all her life until retirement and when asked what she enjoyed the most about it, joked there wasn’t time to think of joy in those days and instead she would simply wake up with a job that needed doing and she’d set herself to doing it, as simple as that.
“Time went by quickly and every year had a spring, a fall, winter and a summer and we did the best we could with what we had,” Helen said.
Since retiring Helen, with the help of her friends and family, has done her best to keep her mind and body active to keep herself healthy, happy and independent as possible. While she knows that everyone’s time comes for them eventually, she’s intent on keeping her own time as far away as she can as long as she’s able.
It’s thank to the people in her life, Helen said, that she’s still alive to this day as many people don’t reach her age and those that do often have serious physical or mental health issues limiting them in some way. It was this same group of people who pushed her and encouraged her to join them in hiking and climbing up the Lone Butte in mid-June.
The last time Helen had done it prior to this year was when she was 91, five years ago, and was able to make it up on “her own two feet.” This time, however, due in part to her advanced age and in part because of the difficult terrain, which she thinks has gotten rougher since her youth, she had to be assisted up via the use of rappelling equipment and at one point by getting a piggyback ride from young Dawson Schroevers.
“I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Helen said. “(At the top) we toasted the day, the people and the encouragement of everybody cause without that I could never have made the journey.”
Helen said they brought out some chairs to just enjoy the view and share a drink and some food together as for many of her companions, it was their first time on the Butte including that of young Ben who, at one year of age, was the youngest person on the rock. Helen added that they were blessed by the weather that day as, while it looked like it was going to storm, it held off and they instead were treated with sun and mild wind. She also quipped even the mosquitoes seemed to take the day off, which was a welcome relief.
“I was just so happy to see so many people,” Helen said, adding that everyone who lives in the 100 Mile House area should consider climbing the Lone Butte at least once in their lives.
Helen appreciates the support of everyone who came with her on this climb and the encouragement they gave her throughout the climb. It was an experience she greatly enjoyed and cherishes.
To the community of 100 Mile House as a whole, she’d like to encourage them to carry on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic because she believes that without the community’s diligence the virus would not have bypassed the town. She’s hopeful that we can continue to hold ranks until this epidemic settles down, as she’s sure the world will never be the same after it.