Cliffs Living Magazine: It Takes Two

Adventure Lusters’ latest thrill includes Bavarian biking, hiking Mount Blac

When adventuring, a compatible partner can be hard to find. They need to have similar goals, ability levels, and enjoy the same types of activities. And if that partner also happens to be the love of your life, well, could one be so lucky?

Larry and Bonnie Evans, members of The Cliffs at Keowee Falls, are a match made in adventure heaven. The retired couple has, quite literally, explored the globe with their ambitious excursions spanning from hiking Machu Picchu to safariing along the Zambia River.

“I was an Air Force brat,” Larry says. “That’s where I got my wanderlust.”

Bonnie, who grew up in Upstate New York, developed a passion for adventure via her father, an airline pilot who also worked for the forestry service. She recalls a time in high school when he took her to hike Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks, the highest point in New York. 

“The adventures just went on from there,” she says.

Larry and Bonnie met at Hope College in Michigan, but once married they made the move south for Larry to start his orthodontics practice outside Atlanta. While they raised their three children, the family traveled extensively throughout the States, specifically hitting the National Parks (they’ve visited all of them in the lower 48).

But it wasn’t until the kids left the nest, and Larry retired, that the international adventures truly took off. The couple chose The Cliffs at Keowee Falls and Sanibel Island, Florida, as their two home bases, and from there jetted off on exotic adventures across New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and more.

However, the two might have been a bit ambitious with their latest trip—a bike tour of Bavaria followed by a long-distance hike around Mont Blanc, with a week in Croatia sandwiched in between. The two had planned this particular European excursion pre-COVID, and as the pandemic halted their international travel, Larry and Bonnie were ready to get back in the saddle.

They started with 217 miles through southeastern Germany, biking 30 miles a day along the Romantic Road, which winds through Bavaria’s charming historic towns. Starting in the wine region, the tour concluded in the foothills of the Alps — providing ample opportunities to immerse themselves in the culture while enjoying the breathtaking scenery, and the food and drink, of course. 

“You get some exercise, so you don’t feel so guilty when you have your wine in the evening,” Larry laughs.

After Germany, the two hopped south for a tour of Croatia and a chance to refresh before heading north to tackle the hike around Mont Blanc. Beginning in France, the trek circles the mountain (the tallest in Western Europe), through Italy and Switzerland, ending back in France. From the get-go it was a tough physical challenge with significant elevation shifts. And while they enjoyed meeting fellow hikers and experiencing the local culture, it was a strenuous journey for both. Eight days and 105 miles later, Larry and Bonnie completed the trip, but not before Larry tore his rotator cuff on the final trek.

“Never say never,” Bonnie says, “but I probably wouldn’t do eight days in a row again.”

Back at their lodge-like home at The Cliffs, Larry focused on healing up while they were dreaming about their next adventure — a hiking trip in Patagonia and Antarctica in January 2022.

“Anyone who would want to travel, I would encourage them to experience the culture,” Larry says. “We get out of the big cities as quickly as possible to the countryside. We like to immerse ourselves.”

This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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