Inspirational 83-year-old hiker Diana Horton proved age is no barrier to hiking the Cape to Cape Track. The retired real estate agent and practice manager – who has a steel rod in her back – completed our 8-Day Guided End-to-End adventure during autumn, covering 124km of rugged Margaret River scenery. And she did it with her best friend Helen Deller, 70, by her side!

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“It feels terrific,” says Diana. “It was better than I thought it would be. We’re here. We made it. I was determined to finish it. And it’s a real sense of achievement.”

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Di said she was in awe of the magic coastal scenery. “Not that I saw too much of it, because I was head down watching my feet. It’s your mental state really. It’s mind over matter. And basically one foot after the other.” And she said the secret to her amazing achievement was “good clean living with no men in my life”. “Mind you, I do like a glass of wine. Normally I don’t hike very often. Mainly it’s tennis and swimming for exercise, plus I like to garden.”

Best mates tackle challenging hike together

Amazingly, best friend Helen – who has walked the Kokoda Track – carried Di’s day pack for the final three days of the hike. And our newest guide Mark Macgugan stuck by Di’s side to help her through the tough sections on the Cape to Cape Track.

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“The other hikers in the group all really helped me out, and so did the guides. Helen is a terrific buddy and I couldn’t have done it without Mark either. Plus he was a bit of eye candy!” says Di.

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Helen first hatched the plan to hike the Cape to Cape Track. “As soon as she told me, I booked on as well. Wherever Helen goes, I do. We’re buddies,” explained Di. “I’ve conquered a couple of fears. I don’t like heights. I don’t like cliff edges. But I conquered those and more. Some of the beach walking was really hard too. I had no idea. However, after a good sleep tonight I’ll feel proud of myself!”

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Helen and Di have been mates for more than a decade and they both live near each other in Dawesville, south of Perth in Western Australia. Helen, who used to run a fishing boat charter, said she was so chuffed to complete the hike with Di by her side. “The first day or two was hard but we kept going and we made it. Doing it with Di is pretty special, for both of us to achieve it and get to the end. A lot of people our age wouldn’t even consider it. But I said, ‘I’m doing it’. And Di just said, ‘I’ll do it too’.”

A “privilege” walking with Helen and Di

Helen and Di’s amazing Cape to Cape achievement has not gone unnoticed. Brad Walker, who was also on the guided hike, said it was a “privilege” walking with the two best mates.

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“Di has a bung left hand and a steel rod in her back. For good measure, she got stung on her right hand by a bee on Day 3. The hand was swollen for 3 days,” Brad posted to his social media followers. “Helen is a little younger than Di. She walked Kokoda a couple of years ago. You might notice only one of them is carrying a pack. When Di started to struggle, on Day 4, I think, Helen hatched a plan to get her to the end. Helen carried what had been in Di’s pack, for the next three days. Thats around 60km, of slogging through soft beach sand, climbing rocky ledges and up and down dozens of steep inclines in the WA sun.

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“What an honour to have watched these two great mates work together to share a fantastic achievement. By the way, with the encouragement of the rest of our group, they had a little running race at the end. As you’d expect, they crossed the finish line together.”

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From Cape to Cape to the Bibbulmun Track

So what’s next for these ladies? “Rest,” says Di with a laugh. But it seems this golden oldie has got the hiking bug because she plans to join our 6-Day Guided Bibbulmun Track adventure, based at Walpole on WA’s south coast. “That sounds really lovely. I’m definitely keen to do that one,” she says.

Well done to two incredible women who we loved meeting and hiking with. It’s meeting characters like these – and helping them achieve something incredible – that makes us love what we do here at Cape to Cape Explorer Tours!