Almost Over the Hill Hikers
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    #151966 - 06/27/11 03:17 PM What is over the hill? Am I nuts?
    HFlier Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 04/25/11
    Posts: 1
    I am 49 years old and after many years of not packing, I am looking to get back into it. I want to spend the later part of my life trying to take a little stress out and smell the roses per say. I am in real good shape for my age and I have been the oldest person in my Mixed Martial Arts and boxing classes for the last year (800 calories per hour!). So I think I am pretty good to go physically, other than getting used to pack weight etc. and using those muscles. I am 5'6" and a reasonably muscular 170lbs (not a body builder type - think boxer). I guess my question is this. Now days it seems that many folks my age are house mouses and in bad shape. TV watchers. I don't see too many older folks backpacking. I am starting to wonder - is my mind younger than what my body can handle? Is it reasonable for me to expect to get in a good 10-20 years covering some places like Glacier, Alaska and others? Or am I dilusional?

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    #151971 - 06/27/11 03:29 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6372
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    I'm 75 and still going (although at a much slower pace than most). I definitely plan to keep going as long as I can put one foot in front of the other!

    I actually see a lot of older folks hiking and backpacking. A couple of years ago I was passed on the way up eastern Oregon's Strawberry Mountain by a guy who at least looked older than me, and was certainly hiking twice as fast! There are a number of over-60's who post on this forum. There's a senior hiking group here in the Portland, OR area whose leader is, I understand, in his 90's.

    Finis Mitchell, a 20th century pioneer in Wyoming's Wind Rivers, said it best: "We don't stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking."


    Edited by OregonMouse (06/27/11 03:34 PM)
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #151977 - 06/27/11 05:44 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    Pika Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/08/05
    Posts: 1726
    Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
    I'm only a year (I think) younger than Oregon Mouse and still going fairly strong. I did the JMT, solo, in 2008 and have a 105 miler planned for the PCT this coming August. I plan to repeat the JMT in 2013; this time northbound. I have worked hard at staying fit almost all my life.

    In my opinion, people are more likely to stop backpacking because they loose interest, not the ability, and house mice are largely that from choice, not necessity. Sure, stuff like arthritis takes its toll but a lot of infirmities are life-style related and can be reversed with proper diet and exercise.

    So, yes, it is possible to get in at least another 20 years of active backpacking if you are only in your late 40's.
    _________________________
    May I walk in beauty.

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    #151979 - 06/27/11 06:16 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    ringtail Offline
    member

    Registered: 08/22/02
    Posts: 2296
    Loc: Colorado Rockies
    I think you will find that you are a youngster on the forum. I was fifty when I decided that I needed to lighten my pack or I would not be able to to this anymore. 13 years later I am still hiking.
    _________________________
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
    Yogi Berra

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    #151987 - 06/27/11 07:43 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    I'm 61. I used to backpack with a friend who would now be in his early 70s and still backpacks (he moved away, so we don't hike together any longer.)

    My new hiking buddies are both in their 60s, and we still get out about every two months for two or three nights.

    You're still a kid, so get out and enjoy. smile

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    #152014 - 06/28/11 09:53 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    My gf started backpacking at 61 and loves it. She has improved so much since that 1st time out. I started her out with a short overnight trip and kept building on it. her longest hike so far is 3 days/2 nights in the Mt Rogers area...she is hooked smile

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    #152030 - 06/28/11 03:12 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Ewker]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    That's an easy place to get hooked. I'm hoping to get there again this fall.

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    #152062 - 06/28/11 11:06 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Glenn]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2742
    Loc: California
    I find that many older backpackers quit not because they cannot walk, but because they start to prefer their creature comforts. Agility dwindles so getting up off the ground and living in a tent gets uncomfortable. And mentally, it just gets easier to stay at home. As you age, your "comfort zone" becomes smaller. So, a goal should be to make backpacking your new "comfort zone". The sooner you get started the better!

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    #152064 - 06/29/11 07:18 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    Well said. About 10 years ago, my two best hiking buddies moved away (one became a Navy SEAL, the other moved to Colorado), and I started finding excuses not to go out solo. After about 3 years of taking only 1 or maybe 2 weekend trips a year, I figured out what I was doing to myself, and made a conscious effort to increase my participation. About 4 years ago, I relapsed a bit when I learned to play golf ("can't go backpacking; I promised to play golf on Saturday"), but now I'm back up to 6-10 trips a year.

    I feel much better now.

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    #152068 - 06/29/11 09:04 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: wandering_daisy]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
    I find that many older backpackers quit not because they cannot walk, but because they start to prefer their creature comforts. Agility dwindles so getting up off the ground and living in a tent gets uncomfortable. And mentally, it just gets easier to stay at home. As you age, your "comfort zone" becomes smaller. So, a goal should be to make backpacking your new "comfort zone". The sooner you get started the better!


    My gf prefers her hammock (JRB bridge) to a tent. She sleeps great in it and can even sleep on her stomach. When we are out I have to wake her up most mornings..lol

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    #152069 - 06/29/11 09:07 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Glenn]
    Ewker Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/17/09
    Posts: 222
    Loc: Tennessee
    Originally Posted By Glenn
    That's an easy place to get hooked. I'm hoping to get there again this fall.


    yep you can hooked there easily. This time she got to see the baby ponies running around. One pony had twins and to see those two folds running around was awesome

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    #152154 - 07/01/11 01:54 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    phat Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 06/24/07
    Posts: 4107
    Loc: Alberta, Canada
    Originally Posted By HFlier
    I am starting to wonder - is my mind younger than what my body can handle? Is it reasonable for me to expect to get in a good 10-20 years covering some places like Glacier, Alaska and others? Or am I dilusional?


    Nope. you're not. I'm younger than you (42) - but you're probably in better shape. I'm a fat computer nerd with a streak of stubbornness and determination and a long history of crawling around the bush.

    You better have a good 10-20 years in you because I intend to.

    Once you're *comfortable* outside, really, it's just walking. if you're not trying to run a marathon, and you don't mind getting up with the dawn, you can do some very impressive hikes and some very nice places at your own pace, and enjoy them immensely.

    I like dragging fat out of shape nerds into the bush. once they figure out they're not going to starve, or be cold, or die in what I'm having them take, and it's just walking - they're hooked.

    With any kind of modicum of conditioning (which it sounds like you have) you'll do just fine! just get out there!





    _________________________
    Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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    #152273 - 07/05/11 12:16 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Ewker]
    Tracy from CA Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 07/05/11
    Posts: 10
    Hi everyone smile this is my first post here in the backcountry forum. This thread is of particular interest to me as I approach that "over the hill" category.

    I just HAD to comment after reading this quote...

    Originally Posted By Ewker
    My gf prefers her hammock (JRB bridge) to a tent. She sleeps great in it and can even sleep on her stomach. When we are out I have to wake her up most mornings..lol


    I am with your gf - hammocks are AWE-SOME!! I am a 46 year old female and I recently tried sleeping all night in a hammock (a Byer of Maine Mosquito Hammmock) on a camping trip out near Yosemite. I have always had trouble sleeping (even at home) because I'm a chronic insomniac. The first night camping I used my Therm-a-rest Luxury map on the ground and I tossed and turned all night and spent most of it awake. The next 2 nights I used my hammock and was amazed that I actually SLEPT! I woke up refreshed, happy, not sore, it was fabulous! The second night in particular I literally slept all night long (never even waking to pee!) and only woke because the sun was in my eyes around 8 something A.M. I found it interesting that I woke up so content and happy, and yet the rest of my family rolled out of bed later than me and they did not look rested AT ALL. My 20-something sons in particular had puffy tired eyes and they were unusually grouchy. We had other hammocks so I tried to tell them to try it out, but we didn't have bug netting for them so it didn't work out because we were camping right next to a stream.

    I am an absolute convert now and am looking up more information for hammock camping. I am outfitting my ENO hammock with bug netting and also getting tarps. I will be buying my sons some nice hammock systems for Christmas this year so we all can sleep in comfort. My nice new tent is unfortunately going to be gathering dust from now on.

    If anyone is considering giving up camping/backpacking because they find it hard to get up off the ground in the morning or they have trouble sleeping at night you SERIOUSLY NEED to at least try it out. After my own hammock experiment I read a news article where researchers are studying the effects of sleeping in hammocks and they found many people slept deeper and more soundly in a hammock. I believe that research to be true based upon my own experience in one.

    Tips for Hammock Comfort:

    You will want a bug net, either attached or one you can add separately. Most travel hammock makers sell bug netting that is compatible with their hammocks. Byer of Maine sells a VERY affordable Moskito Traveller Hammock for only $31.35 via Amazon.com (Check the size carefully, this may not work for really tall people. I'm only 5'6" and it worked perfect for me). There are much better hammocks on the market (I got my eye on the Hennessy systems for my sons).

    You will also want a hammock rainfly in case you encounter bad weather. I don't have a rain fly yet but am ordering one now from Hennessy Hammocks (the XL asym one). Lucky for me the first time I slept in my hammock the skies were perfectly clear (and beautiful as well, saw a few shooting stars before I drifted off to sleep).

    You will still want to use a thermal pad: first of all bugs can't bite you through the underside of the hammock if you use a pad, and second your body compresses your sleeping bag ruining it's warming properties underneath, so you need a good thermal pad that is large enough to wrap up the sides a little as well, because in a hammock the sides get somewhat compressed as well.

    The Proper way to sleep in a hammock is to be slightly diagonal (Brazilian style?). I was able to get basically completely horizontal if I wanted that way.

    A hammock is able to help sufferers of acid-reflux sleep better. I have that and I found I had no trouble at all in my hammock because I was able to keep my head and chest slightly elevated.

    You don't need a pillow if you use a hammock, it's perfectly comfortable without one.

    And that's about it so far. Just wanted to add my two-cents worth in case it helps someone else experience a more comfortable nights sleep in the outdoors.


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    #152651 - 07/13/11 04:51 PM Am I nuts? >>>>>YES!! [Re: HFlier]
    OldScout Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/17/03
    Posts: 501
    Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
    49 years old? You ain't nothing but a young snot-nosed whippersnapper. You got many years in those legs and saying you're getting close to "over the hill" is just an excuse.

    In fact, I am convinced there are many older members on this website who are not only "over the hill" but ahead of me and pulling away from me on the trails. (55 years old)

    And, yes, there are many, many, many out-of-shape people your (our?) age. Just follow that old inspirational poster "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down."

    One thing, don't confuse general "in shape" with hiking in shape. I lift weights MWF, swim laps on TThur and mountainbike ride on Sundays. I recently joined my wife walking the dog for two miles and got shin splints!!!! Gotta get those legs moving.

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    #152653 - 07/13/11 06:19 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    Dryer Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 12/05/02
    Posts: 3569
    Loc: Texas
    55 here and it just gets better. 49 ain't old...it's the new 25. grin
    _________________________
    paul, texas KD5IVP

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    #152669 - 07/13/11 11:57 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Dryer]
    balzaccom Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 1719
    Loc: Napa, CA
    59 next month, and still kicking.

    In fact, we have a saying around the campfire:

    OPKA!

    Old People Kick A$$

    And when we hike past some young kids struggling up a slope...we smile to them and then mutter to ourselves: OPKA!
    _________________________
    balzaccom

    check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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    #152701 - 07/15/11 12:29 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: balzaccom]
    Jeff Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/06/09
    Posts: 41
    Loc: Nevada
    I am 54 and my goal is to be a better hiker every year so when I retire I can hike the PCT. The hiking is much easier when you take your son and he is 29. I am lucky that my wife and son are doing a 3 week JMT hike in mid August starting at Cottonwood pass. I am lighter and fitter than I was 10 years ago. We all use poles to keep the wear and tear on the knees down. The gear is lighter and better and we find we need less gear for comfort so the pack weights are much better than when I had to lug my kids gear plus mine. 10 miles a day carrying the family gear was a lot harder than 25 miles a day with only my gear. My biggest limitation now is the amount of time off. When I retire I won't have that problem. I don't plan to sit around on my butt and whine about being to old to hike.

    My inspiration is a pair of 80 year old dudes we meet on to of Glen Pass in 2008. They have been doing the JMT every year since the 1970's. They just do less miles per day as they get older. Not a problem when you have the time.


    Edited by Jeff (07/15/11 12:34 PM)
    _________________________
    Jeff MyBackpackTrips

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    #152947 - 07/21/11 12:41 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Jeff]
    skcreidc Offline
    member

    Registered: 08/16/10
    Posts: 1590
    Loc: San Diego CA
    Quote:
    My inspiration is a pair of 80 year old dudes we meet on to of Glen Pass in 2008. They have been doing the JMT every year since the 1970's.


    My wife and I have run into similar situations; a married couple in their late 70's heading up the switchbacks from Silver Lake to do a loop to by Thousand Island Lake, and a group of five 80+ year olds doing the JMT we ran into on our way up to Muir Pass. I am 54 also and just try to take care of myself and keep moving.

    What is over the Hill? A downhill section, that's what!

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    #152954 - 07/21/11 02:53 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: skcreidc]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6372
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    That's what my daughter told me when I turned 50, adding that, as any skier knows, downhill is more fun! I've been inspired by what she said ever since.
    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #154318 - 09/05/11 05:59 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    JPete Offline
    member

    Registered: 05/28/09
    Posts: 304
    Loc: Eastern Ontario
    HFlier and others,

    Been watching this thread, but held off responding until I had something good to say.

    I'm 76 this year, and for the last two years, have done very little hiking. I've had leukemia for years, but it didn't effect me much until recently. My blood pressure has been creeping up very slowly for some time, but it stayed under diet/exercise control.

    Then I got hit with a self-perpetuating anemia that is a fairly common complication of the Leukemia. I ended up in the hospital via the ER. The doctors used some pretty nasty drugs (Prednisone, 100 mg/day) to get it under control, and then started rather agressive chemo. The good news (very good news) is that the chemo was successful, and the Leukima is now in remission. But the drugs left me with a hard-to-stabilize diabetes, much elevated blood pressure, and barely able to walk.

    This whole siege started when I bugged out of a planned 16 day thru-hike of the Ozark Highlands trail after the third day because I realized I was too weak to be in the woods by myself.

    But the point of this post is that I am hiking and canoeing again. Locally, so far, but may try the Arkansas trip again in the spring, and I've been out several days checking GPS coordinates on a nearby trail. I'm even seriously thinking about doing the AT thru again at 80 (did it at 60 and 70)

    So, answer to the question posed: Yeah, I got pretty darn slow for awhile, but I don't think I'll stay that way.

    Hope there are lots of others here who can say the same. What's the line, "we don't stop hiking cause we get old, we get old because we stop hiking.

    Go for it folks. Best, jcp

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    #163561 - 03/08/12 10:48 PM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    OldJohnDewey Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 02/16/12
    Posts: 11
    Loc: BC Canada
    Hflier. I am only mid fifties (just a kid) and recently joined a masters swim club. Some of the 70 and 80 year olds in the club can put many younger folk to shame. "Better to wear out than rust out" is their motto. Same applies to hiking methinks.

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    #163650 - 03/10/12 12:49 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: HFlier]
    Swimswithtrout Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/03/09
    Posts: 48
    Loc: Colorado
    Not "quite" 60 yet, just turned 58, but I entered my first indoor rockclimbing competition for my 50th birthday. I entered in the Mens Expert group in a highly competitive field here on the Front Range of CO, a veritable hot bed of climbing and who's who's.

    I won.

    The 2nd and 3rd place finishers ages didn't even total to mine.


    Edited by Swimswithtrout (03/10/12 12:50 AM)
    _________________________
    Want to see the Wind's ?

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    #163689 - 03/11/12 10:02 AM Re: What is over the hill? Am I nuts? [Re: Swimswithtrout]
    Kent W Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/15/09
    Posts: 607
    Loc: IL.
    I really enjoyed reading these post. I will be 48 Mar 31. My sons 29th was yesterday. I called and told him Happy Birthday do you know your only 11 years away from your midlife crisis!
    Pop Hiked till he was 72. His last trip was Isle Royale. He said it about killed him, It wasnt the backpacking it was the Cancer.I know one thing best advice to continue backpacking as we age. Get light and stay light,and bye all means where geography makes a Hammock functional,Use one. They are the best, go to bed sore and wake up fresh.
    Swims you are the man! Good for you ,you have every right to be proud! That is awsome.
    I am proud of my self just to be backpacking and getting some excersise. It also makes it special that my oldest son enjoys doing it with me! I wish all the kids did,but no complaints.

    It is better to try and fail than to never try at all!


    Edited by Kent W (03/11/12 10:03 AM)

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