Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Jane Putnam stays fit hiking up Baldy

30 trips up the hill for 79-year-old

This young-looking woman in a recent photo is inveterate Baldy hiker Jane Putnam, who originally comes from Sayre, Pa. Amazingly she will be 80 years young next Jan. 20. Courtesy photo

Jane Putnam will be 80 next January and doesn't look a day over 40. One way she stays fit is hiking up Baldy every other day during the summer—30 times this year.

If you've been on Bald Mountain Trail from River Run to the top of Baldy in the early morning hours this summer, you've probably seen Putnam. But it's got to be early. She leaves about 7 a.m. and finishes her climb in two hours and 45 minutes.

Then she has some orange juice and oatmeal for lunch.

Putnam lives in Boca Raton, Fla. and has come to Sun Valley for the last 15 years. This year, she arrived June 28 and flew back Tuesday, Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day. She doesn't have a car while she's here. She has a bicycle and of course walks.

When Putnam decides to do something, like hiking Baldy, she just goes ahead and does it. For instance, when a routine treadmill test six years ago discovered that she had two blocked arteries and a third partially clogged, she immediately made the decision to have bypass surgery.

"I did it the next day, even though I probably should have had a second opinion," said Putnam, who added that her strong-willed nature comes from her mother, who was very Pennsylvania Dutch and German.

She's hasn't smoked in 30 years. "One day I just threw them away," she said. "Had no trouble quitting."

It's been an adjustment living without her husband, Dr. Dave Putnam, an eye doctor who died of cancer at age 72 eight years ago. But having a stable routine—like climbing Baldy—is important to Putnam.

After all, she's been 5-3, 115 pounds for "about 50 years," she said, not varying much one way or another. "I do feel very fortunate," said Putnam, who rents from John and Jerry Ann Heaney in Ketchum and either walks or rides everywhere.

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