Carolina Mountain Club Celebrates its 90th Birthday

CMC party - Lewis and MarciaAlmost 60 CMC members and enthusiasts came to celebrate two big birthdays. This year Carolina Mountain Club is 90 years old and Lewis Blodgett, one of the most active trail maintainer, is also 90 years old.

CMC is older than the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It’s older than our sister clubs in the south. It’s a quiet club; so many people who’ve lived in Western North Carolina for years are surprised that they just found out about it. Read a little about its history.

Marcia Bromberg, CMC President, organized the party.

I think it’s important for any organization to recognized significant benchmarks, and 90 years of existence is one of those benchmarks. It gives the membership a reason to celebrate all that the club does and an excuse to get together in an alternative (off the trail) relaxed manner. It’s a bonus to also celebrate an active club member–hiker and maintainer–who’s reached his own benchmark of 90 years. Celebrating both events at one party brought together members who don’t often have the opportunity to be in the same place at the same time–hikers and maintainers, Marcia said.

I asked random people at the party Why did you come out today?

Jim Ariail: Lew is an inspiration and we should honor him. All the hard work he’s done since 1987. I want to be like him when I grow up.

Bev McDowell: CMC is my family. I like being with these people both in the woods and around the table. And they do bring good food.

CMC party - CakeJay Bretz: These are my friends, people I hike with. Ninety is a lot of years. I hope to be here for CMC’s 100th birthday.

Carroll  Koepplinger: I came here out of respect for a 90 year old. I can remember when Lew was in his late 70s. I was impressed by how well he hiked. He is an inspiration.

It’s easy to look at Lewis still out on the trail at 90 and think of him as an exception. “Well, he has good genes,” some would say. “He was lucky”. I don’t know Lewis’ history too well but I’d say that he exercised more and ate less over his lifetime. He made hiking and trail maintaining a priority and he kept at it. Good for you, Lewis. You are an inspiration.

As Marcia said so aptly (taking the phrase from Gloria Steinem) That’s what 90 looks like.

Then we had the raffle. REI and Diamond Brand had donated many hiking items. And I donated a copy of my book “The Mountains-to-Sea Across North Carolina”.

What a party! Thank you Marcia for organizing the party and Sawako on your great help.

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