Almost Over the Hill Hikers
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    #149612 - 04/26/11 07:40 AM Are you cutting back?
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    I've noticed that, as I get older, I've begun to cut back a bit on my backpacking. It's been several years since I've been out more than 3 nights, and I find myself tending to avoid places that are more than 6 or 7 hours' drive. I also find that I shoot for a couple less miles a day (say, 8 or 9 instead of 10 or 12.) Finally, I find that I tend to choose places where the elevation gains and losses aren't quite as large or steep as they used to be.

    I'm doing this for a combination of reasons. One is that I prefer a small group to solo hiking, but have a lack of compatible hiking friends - I'm just not able to keep up the 2.5 mph pace, with no breaks, that the twenty-something set seems to prefer. (That may be changing; I've met some people my own age on some trips sponsored by a local outfitter; we've planned a couple of trips for ourselves.)

    But ther are other reasons. Obviously, age and physical condition play a part; I just can't beat myself up like I once could. (Youth is indeed wasted on the young!) I've also got more work responsibilities than I once had (fortunately, our practice grew, so I'm not complaining - it bankrolls my gear addiction, but it also makes it harder to get away for more than a few days.

    I'm now a grandpa, and those two granddaughters definitely have first claim to my free time. (I consider grandchildren as my best revenge.) As I age, I also find myself realizing that my wife, my children my friends, and even me, are mortal - I want to spend time with them, and they don't backpack.

    I'm making an effort to increase the number of times I get out this year - I had cut back too far the last couple of years. However, I doubt I'll ever return to the 12-15 times a year, plus a week-long trip, that I used to schedule.

    Anyone else noticing a change in their backpacking habits as they get older?

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    #149613 - 04/26/11 09:04 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    skcreidc Offline
    member

    Registered: 08/16/10
    Posts: 1590
    Loc: San Diego CA
    Your a grandpa too?! You post younger grin. I need to do an age survey of this site; I suspect it will turn out to be something like an old trekkers brain trust.

    Back to your post. Patience would be the main answer. Patience with other people in particular. I understand what my body is telling me most of the time and what that is HAS changed over the years.

    But cutting back? Nooooo. I can't wait to get back to higher altitudes. I may be slower, but I feel better the more exercise I get and Patty is starting to get the bug again as well. With one son in college and a daughter in high school, we are thinking in a few years we will not be relegated to planning our lives around the kids school schedule anymore. With our eldest studying to be a French Horn player, I am not expecting grand kids anytime soon.

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    #149616 - 04/26/11 09:37 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    Pika Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/08/05
    Posts: 1736
    Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
    Actually, I seem to be more active and ambitious now than I was 15 years ago. I was moderatelly active until I retired but, then, my wife and I took some time to build our house and accessory buildings. This occupied both of us nearly full time for several years. Then I got back at it with renewed enthusiasm. There have, however, been a few rocks in the road.

    As I have noted in other posts, I was injured in a bike/drunk-hit-and-run-driver accident about a year ago. I was on the bicycle. It has taken some time for me to recover from than. And, my wife underwent a double lung transplant procedure last September. Both of these events kept me from getting out at all in 2010. I am now back from my injuries as much as I expect that I will be and my wife is a new woman now that she can breathe again. So, I am busy making plans.

    So far this year, I have done three overnights in the local mountains. One one-night and two, two night trips. I am off to the Chisos Mountains in west Texas next week and then the Grand Canyon's Boucher Trail. I have a trip planned for the Sangre De Christo mountains in June, several shorter trips for July then a 100 mile section of the PCT in August. I also hope to get a fall permit for the Grand Canyon. I also hope to re-hike the JMT in 2013. All of this is, of course, contingent on my health remaining good but things look good so far.

    I am in my mid-70's now and hope to be still getting out, less ambitiously probably, into my 80's. I still try to plan on 8-10 miles per day or less; it depends on how much uphill there is. So far I don't seem to mind long drives to get to my favorite area, the Sierra. The price of gas may change that. frown

    _________________________
    May I walk in beauty.

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    #149618 - 04/26/11 11:05 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    hikerduane Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/03
    Posts: 2123
    Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
    Yeah, those 2.5 mph kids should be whooped. I was out a couple weeks ago and really had to concentrate on walking faster to keep up the day we came out. However, the day before, while they napped after we reached the new campsite for the night, I went out and scouted the road we were to travel down to the beach. On other bp trips, I have to wait for the younger ones to rest so we can continue. On the other hand, I get more tired now, but can still do week long trips. It is more tiring now though.

    Duane

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    #149621 - 04/26/11 12:34 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    ringtail Offline
    member

    Registered: 08/22/02
    Posts: 2296
    Loc: Colorado Rockies
    My outdoor activities are separated by about a decade. As a Boy Scount until my mid thirties I was primarily a camper. My outdoor activities ususally involved a destination where I would hike in and camp. Base camp with day hikes was mostly my style.

    After my daughter was born I mostly day hiked and did orienteering with only a couple of overnighters per year.

    When my daughter was about 10 I started segment hiking the Colorado Trail. My style changed to hiking rather than base camping. I still am mostly a hiker, but now do some trips to explore places I discovered while hiking.
    _________________________
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
    Yogi Berra

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    #149627 - 04/26/11 06:07 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    billstephenson Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/07/07
    Posts: 3889
    Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
    I'm just starting to get more trips in again.

    My biggest problem over the past few years has been all the claims on my time. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays and other get togethers had started consuming more and more of it. Over most of the past 3 years it was all of it.

    At the beginning of last Autumn, when I realized I would not get one trip in, I put a stop to it. I respectfully declined all invitations to any and all future events. My wife had so many things still planned that it took until January before I could actually call any of my time my own, but I did get three nice trips in before the end of March.

    As far as miles go, I never really cared about hiking a minimum number of them, so I still hike as far as I would have when I was younger, but that generally hasn't ever been very far.
    _________________________
    --

    "You want to go where?"



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    #149682 - 04/28/11 09:21 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: billstephenson]
    Kent W Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/15/09
    Posts: 607
    Loc: IL.
    I have cut back. Work is slow. Then again cutting back helped me get back into backpacking. Once you have the gear, places to spend money on the trail are few and far between. My Honda civic gets 41 mpg on the road. cost about 140.00 round trip for gas to the smokies. Stayed one night at Grandprix hotel before coming home. Excellent hiker discount 29.00 a night! Son and I split all cost . I took 150.00 cash and debit card and came home with money after 6 days! Hard to beat. Wife really wants to hit Key West again next winter though! Bye Cash!

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    #149690 - 04/28/11 01:40 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    aimless Online   content
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/05/03
    Posts: 2861
    Loc: Portland, OR
    From age 17 until age 30, I took as many backpacks as I could manage and often went out for extended periods.

    Then I married and had a child and life changed considerably after that. I still backpacked as often as I could, for as long as I could, but the realm of the possible had shrunk considerably.

    At age 47 I learned how to lighten my pack, my obligations to my daughter slackened, and I began to arrange my life so that I could backpack again as I did when I was a young man. That was about a decade ago.

    My wife now understands that I will be backpacking for a two week period every summer, with a few other short trips tucked in as opportunity presents. So, I am not cutting back, yet. I am out there as much as I ever was before and I hope to keep it up for another decade at least, or even two decades, if I can.

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    #149789 - 04/30/11 05:01 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: aimless]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2752
    Loc: California
    I am not cutting back- on the contrary, I am trying to do more. Problem is not age, but others. People I usually backpack with are dropping like flies. I get loaded up with babysitting grandkids who are still too little to take out with me backpacking. My mother is nearly 92 and any day can bring a temporary halt to backpacking to care for her. Last year two grandchildren decide to be born during backpacking season! Two years ago I was away from home July 1 to Sept 5 and I do not think my family is quite ready for that again for a year or two. I was hoping to do lots of shorter trips closer to home, but may change that to longer trips or piggy-backing trips because of gas costs of getting to each trip. At any rate, I will do all I can until the snows shut down the Sierra! I now have my Senior pass (free park entry) and social security check (gas money) Yeh!! My ability to carry a pack and walk the miles has not changed much yet. For that I am very thankful.

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    #149790 - 04/30/11 05:09 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2752
    Loc: California
    Forgot to tell the "rest of the story". Since many of you eluded to activity in your youth. I started out at 16 years old as a mountaineer, evolved into a hard-core alpine rock climber, taught mountaineering for seven years, never got a real job until I was 30. So yes, I have cut back. Backpacking to me is cutting back. I do mainly off-trail adventure backpacking. As I age, I suspect I will transition into regular trail backpacking. Then transition into having someone else carry my gear. Then day hiking. Then toddling around sidewalks and living in an old folks home. It never stops. When one door closes, just open another.

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    #149791 - 04/30/11 05:19 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    If you get really decrepit, you could ride a bicycle - like me....

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    #150010 - 05/07/11 06:58 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: oldranger]
    Kent W Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/15/09
    Posts: 607
    Loc: IL.
    Ranger I have a bicycle and it hurts my knees more than backpacking! I prefer to walk!

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    #150011 - 05/07/11 08:01 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Kent W]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    The chances are you are pedaling in too high a gear....That will definitely mess up knees. Generally you should be moving your cranks at about 80 RPM or even higher - at least 60 RPM at a minimum.

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    #150823 - 05/26/11 08:51 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: oldranger]
    gladyshawthorne Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 05/26/11
    Posts: 8
    Loc: Portland OR
    I hope I'm posting this properly. I just want to say that I am 61 and I'm just starting backpacking and I'm so happy that I am physically able to do so! I am slowly accumulating the equipment and I am ready for a first overnighter after a practice run. I'm planning on going solo the first time. Also, I may start a Meet Up group for older hiker and backpackers because I am not fast. I have been a member of a younger Meet Up group, but have not actually tried to hike with them because they always go on the weekends and the trails sound strenuous. I still work 24 hours a week and have days off during the week, so I think retired hikers would work for me. I have chronic pain, but keeping moving seems to be the best cure.

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    #151412 - 06/13/11 12:51 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: gladyshawthorne]
    Rebus Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 05/27/10
    Posts: 5
    Loc: Washington State
    When my wife started having physical difficulties keeping pace I had to take a different approach to extended excursions into the wilderness, jettisoning the heavy backpacks and switching to light camelback packs for extended trips. We acquired pack llamas to carry the real gear. My main packer carries up to 90lbs -- more than I ever carried. So now we need only just walk with a pair of llamas following behind us and we can afford to bring along real food and luxuries not thought possible before and stay out for weeks if we want. We keep our pack gear in our van so all we have to do is pack our food and load the llamas in the van (they lay in the back) and hit the road to the trail head. The llamas enjoy it as much as we do.

    There's an annual opportunity to learn about llama packing in the Pacific NW coming up real soon. The Backcountry Llama Association Rendezvous & Drive In is at Cutsforth Park, (near Heppner) Oregon, this year, July 1-3. See http://www.rattlesnakeridgeranch.com/rendezvous11.htm

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    #151468 - 06/13/11 10:12 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Rebus]
    billstephenson Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/07/07
    Posts: 3889
    Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
    Great to see you using pack animals. I working on using my "Mini Burros" to start carrying my gear too.

    Like your llamas, they love to hike with me and have done better than I expected bushwhacking off trail. I'm working on getting them out on their first real extended trip this Autumn.

    The woman I got my burros from has a llama in the pasture with about 40 mini burros. He's a big one, and he keeps a real sharp eye on his land and his donkeys. Loves to whomp on dogs that want to come in there and chase the burros. No dog has done that twice according to her laugh

    My main burro only carries about 60 lbs. 90 lbs. would be real luxury all the way! smile

    If you get a chance to post some photos of your hikes with them I'd love to see them, and hear more about how you work with them.
    _________________________
    --

    "You want to go where?"



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    #151479 - 06/14/11 09:07 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: gladyshawthorne]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    Originally Posted By gladyshawthorne
    I just want to say that I am 61 and I'm just starting backpacking and I'm so happy that I am physically able to do so!


    My gf started backpacking at 61 (she just turned 62). I wasn't sure how far she could go or if she would even like it. She had back surgery about 10 yrs ago so she was a little worried about trying it. It seems the pack (the way it sits) really helps her back from getting stiff.

    Her first backpacking trip was a total of 4 miles. Since whe enjoyed it I have slowly increased the mileage. We are up to 3 day trips where we avg about 8 miles a day.
    One thing she found out is that she has asthma so we have to start off slow. She carries her inhalers and so far has done fine. Shedid ask me why most trails start off uphill...lol

    I keep her pack weight down as much as possible. Basically she carries a cahnge of clothes, hammock, quilts and medicine.
    She is wanting to increase the amount of items she carries. Now she feels like she needs to split the food, fuel, cooking pot and stove with me. We shall see about that.

    We have talked about doing a 6-7 day trip now. I have seen her grow so much this past yr. She is so much more confident now compared to when she 1st started. The last trip we went on she was talking about gear with folks. smile

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    #151485 - 06/14/11 02:23 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Ewker]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    Tell her they start them uphill so you appreciate the view at the top, and the subsequent downhill, all the more. smile

    I used to explain to my Scouts that "for every uphill, there's a downhill, but on average, trails are level." I stopped doing that when a very wise 12 year replied, "Too bad mountains don't take math."

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    #151515 - 06/15/11 09:35 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    Originally Posted By Glenn
    Tell her they start them uphill so you appreciate the view at the top, and the subsequent downhill, all the more. smile


    I have tried that but she does agree the views are worth it once you get there.

    On one trip we had to go downhill to get to the campsite....of course she said something about the climb out....lol

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    #151520 - 06/15/11 11:32 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Ewker]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2752
    Loc: California
    The older I get, the more I prefer uphill to downhill. It's the old knees. You may need to teach her how to go uphill. Slow steady breathing in time with each step will help. "Gear down" when you hit a hill. The goal is a steady heartbeat- not a steady pace. On the flat, maybe 2 steps;1breath, moderate hills 1 step;1 breath and on really steep hills the "rest step" a technique of taking one step, then a pause, then repeat. Keep a steady pace- do not stop and go. Take a 10 minute break once an hour.

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    #151525 - 06/15/11 12:55 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    GrumpyGord Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/05/02
    Posts: 862
    Loc: Michigan
    Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
    Keep a steady pace- do not stop and go. Take a 10 minute break once an hour.


    That is one thing I have to keep relearning every time. I go thinking that I can do it just like I did 30 years ago. I keep doing the go two minutes at full speed, rest 30 seconds, repeat until I finally come to my senses. Sometimes wisdom comes with age and sometimes we just get older.

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    #151541 - 06/15/11 03:33 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
    The older I get, the more I prefer uphill to downhill. It's the old knees. You may need to teach her how to go uphill. Slow steady breathing in time with each step will help. "Gear down" when you hit a hill. The goal is a steady heartbeat- not a steady pace. On the flat, maybe 2 steps;1breath, moderate hills 1 step;1 breath and on really steep hills the "rest step" a technique of taking one step, then a pause, then repeat. Keep a steady pace- do not stop and go. Take a 10 minute break once an hour.


    I will have her try this the next time we get out. Normally she is a fast walker but with the asthma it slows her down.

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    #151551 - 06/15/11 11:05 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    You are absolutely correct. Going uphill is much easier on the knees and the legs than descending, and the difference, I am learning, becomes accentuated with age.

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    #152287 - 07/05/11 02:53 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    Tracy from CA Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 07/05/11
    Posts: 10
    Nope, I'm gearing up to get started again. As I have "matured" I am more and more aware of my need to reconnect with nature, to get into better shape, and to accomplish some bucket list goals (JMT, PCT, Mt Rainier, etc). I'm not currently satisfied with weekend camping trips in crowded campgrounds which are noisy and not all that beautiful.

    I intend to make backpacking a regular part of our retirement vacation and recreation activity (especially now that I've discovered supremely comfortable "hammock camping"). Lucky for me my sister, hubby, and sons also enjoy these kinds of outdoor activities and we are all hoping to get at least 1 good week long trip in a year. When the grand-kids start to "arrive" we will adjust for a bit when necessary but then intend to get them started a.s.a.p. as well.

    A couple weeks ago we were day hiking out near Tahoe and we crossed paths with a man out with his 4 year old daughter. She was happily skipping up the trial slightly ahead of him while he carried the moderately heavy load. I didn't ask how long they planned on staying out but they had almost reached their first nights destination. Seeing them both happy and content made me dream of the day when I might get to bring a grandchild along in a similar fashion.

    Now that we are older, we have the time, the resources, the desire, and drive to do this more often. Life is short. We need to take advantage of our remaining years. I love how I feel when I am out in nature. I am so awed by this magnificent creation.


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    #152292 - 07/05/11 03:21 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Tracy from CA]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    As they start to arrive, remember the theory I operate under: "Grandchildren are my best revenge."

    Oh, and don't forget to emulate my wife, who freely used the Mother's Curse: "I hope you get one just like you." It really does work.

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    #152296 - 07/05/11 03:51 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    Tracy from CA Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 07/05/11
    Posts: 10
    lol, I will remember that smile

    regarding the mother's curse though, gosh my boys were so sweet when they were little and growing up.... if all I remember is the good stuff does that mean I'm getting Alzheimer's already?

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    #153492 - 08/07/11 07:58 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: Glenn]
    wyethia Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 4
    yes, severe arthritis due to lyme's and a career that requires walking in rough conditions, means that I have to walk less on the weekends- 3 joint surgeries so far and I'm sure there will be more. I can't carry any significant weight (not even 10 lbs) on my shoulders for more than an hour (shoulder reconstruction helped but there are limits) so "ultra light" is not an option. I started with burro packing when my need for medical supplies, warm clothes, and padding exceeded my carrying capacity. now that I am limited to less than 5 miles of walking in a day, I am switching to riding to get into the wilderness. I would prefer to walk- cheaper, simpler, less limited in routes, but my hips and knees say no mas.

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    #153618 - 08/11/11 01:41 PM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wyethia]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2752
    Loc: California
    Good for you for adapting to keep going outdoors instead of throwing in the towel. Nothing wrong with transitioning to pack animals. Whatever it takes!

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    #153641 - 08/12/11 12:00 AM Re: Are you cutting back? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    wyethia Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 4
    yup, that's about it. We only have so long, so don't waste time worrying about what you can't do, just go for what you can do.

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