BikeHike is very fortunate to travel with so many special people from around the world. Anne Windh is certainly one of them. Having once held the record for being the oldest woman to have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and most recently traveling with us on our Galapagos Multisport trip, Anne Windh is living proof that you’re never to old to live an active life and to travel!
This is a re-post of an interview we did a couple years ago with one of our beloved BikeHike travelers.
BikeHike: Thanks for being a part of our BikeHike Adventures community Anne! I heard a remarkable quote from you:
“When you start paddling late in life, you have to paddle real fast, – and I am paddling as fast as I can.”
What was it that made you “start paddling late in life?” Was there an inspiring life-changing moment or have you always been an active person?
Anne: I grew up in Denmark near the ocean with three brothers. Together we played in the ocean and the pond. Anything that would float, we would try it out. So I came to love the water and messing around in it!
At an early age (12 or so), I decided Denmark was not big enough for me. I wanted to live in Canada. That dream was always there, but it took over nine years to fulfill my dream.
I came to Canada in 1953 by myself, at age 22, to a ranch in the Chilcotin. There I was a cowgirl for a couple of years. Going back to Denmark for a visit, I missed Canada and returned to Toronto to make some money so I could finish my trip to BC. There I worked in a bank, spent money as I made it, had fun, got married, had three daughters, and continued my married life (doing what was expected of a wife and mother in those days). It was a very controlled marriage, but I stayed in it and did my best.
After 35 years my husband retired and kids moved out on their own. At that time my husband decided he didn’t want to be married any more. He left, and I had to pick up the pieces and make a new life.
During that time my eldest daughter had bought a kayak. She lived on Vancouver Island (and still does). She brought her kayak to our cottage and said, “Mom try this out. It is really cool.” I sat in her kayak and was immediately hooked. You are close to the water, centered and in total control – even paddling on both sides. I decided, “I have to have one of those.” Not long after she emailed me that “one of those” was listed for sale in Vancouver, brand new. I bought it, had it shipped out, and spent a few summers on Georgian Bay with an outfit there learning how to use the thing.