80 over Eighty Honoree – Mario Wiedenmeier

Mario is a remarkable, resilient man who grew up in the Northern Part of Basel, Switzerland less than one mile from the German border. After WWII, he worked in Denmark and Spain. Later he immigrated to the United States where he taught himself to read and write English. He worked for the UT Medical Branch in Galveston calibrating and maintaining X-ray equipment all over the United States.

Mario was grateful that his employment allowed him to have a flexible schedule, so he could pursue his passion for hiking. He enjoyed visiting locations all over the world, and he continues to enjoy his favorite places to hike in Austin along Barton Creek. He encourages all to visit and hike Enchanted Rock because it is “simply breathtaking.” Mario joined a group of hikers from Lifetime Learning Institute in 2002, and later shared his love for hiking by organizing and leading the group of senior hikers in Austin for 15 years.

Mario started leading the hike with 8 members and the group eventually grew to approximately 200 hiking enthusiasts. For fun, Mario incorporated his Swiss history and kept hike starts times with the precision of a Switzerland clock. Hikers knew the adventure was about to begin when they heard the sharp blow of the little whistle he carried in his pocket.

Although he has passed the figurative walking stick on to another leader, he often joins his group of hikers at the beginning of their hikes located close to his home.

In Mario’s spare time he enjoys working in his garden to keep his lemon bush from freezing, spending time with his wife Leni and their daughter and a son who live in Austin.


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Photo by Annie Ray – annieraycreative.com; Instagram – @annieraydotnet