While some couples may spend their date nights at a nice restaurant and movie, a certain couple at PHS spends their time together in a quite different way. Law enforcement teacher Paul Andry and science teacher Laurie Jo Andry have been together 42 years and have resorted to a different way to spend time together. Beginning about a year and a half ago, the Andrys started their hiking adventures.
Paul had began hiking about a year and a half ago to prepare for an elk hunting trip he was going to take with their son, Corey. He knew he would have to be in shape for the trip, and that’s where their hobby began.
“I just started to go with him about a year ago. We both enjoy nature, and we enjoy doing stuff together,” said Laurie Jo Andry.
The adventures first began when Paul purchased kayaks for Christmas, and they began kayaking trips. Hiking seemed like another fun outdoor activity they could enjoy together. Their first outing was somewhat of a trying experience. They decided to venture out to a loop close to librarian Brenda Eubank’s house, out past Pine Valley, where it began to rain midway through.
“It had been raining the day before too, so the trail was muddy. I didn’t really have good rain gear. We got to a part in the trail where we needed to cross a creek. The problem was that the creek was really high. I had new hiking boots, and they were waterproof, but they weren’t hip-waders, so we had to go around. So we left the trail, not a good idea. I fell several times. I was dripping wet and cold and generally miserable,” said Laurie Jo.
Luckily, their following trips were a bit more pleasant. The next trip was a walk out to Hemlock Cliffs in Crawford County. Though they got lost and didn’t see what they were aiming to see, it was still a nice stroll.
“It’s not that it’s hard to find once you find the right parking lot, but that parking lot is out of the way, and we parked and hiked the long way around. Even that was fun. We were outside and together, and that’s all that mattered. Well, and the fact that it wasn’t raining that day,” said Laurie Jo.
Eventually, hiking became a great hobby they enjoyed together. The couple has trekked through many local destinations, such as Spring Mill, trails around the French Lick Resort, Hemlock Cliffs and Hoosier National Forest. Some out-of-state sites they have visited include Golden Gate Park in California, Garden of the Gods in Illinois and their favorite, Yosemite National Park in California.
“We camped at the famous Camp 4 campground. Tent camping with no electricity in a communal type campground was a cool experience in itself,” said Laurie Jo.
Camping there allowed them to meet people from many different places.
“There were people from all over the world there. We shared our campsite with a couple of guys from Belgium, and a girl from Holland was next door. Another couple at our site were writers for a climbing conservancy magazine. There were people from the Japan, the Phillipines and several other places at the campground with us, ” said Laurie Jo.
This trip was a time they both will never forget, especially because of a terrifying experience. They decided to begin a hike out to The Cathedral Peaks in the Sierra Mountain, where elevation reaches 1000 feet. During their hike back, they heard what sounded like thunder, and they were in for quite a surprise.
“I stop to look in the direction the sound came from to see the snow on the mountain directly above us start to move! We were directly in the path of an avalanche! I was so terrified that I couldn’t move,” said Laurie Jo.
Luckily, the snow stopped before it could reach them, but it was a surreal experience.
Some of their favorite times were spent in Yosemite, from the beautiful scenes, to the new friends made and time spent together.
“The views along the way are the most majestic and gorgeous scenes I will ever witness on this planet. Those memories are and will always be cherished. Yosemite is almost magical that way. At every turn, there is something incredible to see and do,” said Laurie Jo.
In the future, the Andrys are hoping to hike a piece of the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Tennessee or the Carolinas.
“I don’t think we will ever through hike the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, but it’s kind of a fun romantic dream kind of thing to think about,” said Laurie Jo.
Story by Maggie Vincent