Almost Over the Hill Hikers
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    #158614 - 12/12/11 10:13 AM The rest of my backpacking life...
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    Just got back from a trip to Grayson Highlands that got cut short because a couple of us exceeded our limits. (Trails that weren't running water were sheet ice or snow-covered - only took 18 pictures over 2+ days because we were busy trying not to fall. Forded a couple of rushing knee-deep creeks, and got pounded by wind one night. After falling a couple of times, the other guys I was with and I decided discretion might be the better part of valor, and cut the trip short. However, it was nice to know that I do have at least a modicum of the mental resilience that was the topic of another thread.)

    I didn't "enjoy" myself on this trip - the details of the hike took up all the time and attention. However, on the drive home, talking to the other member of our hiking group that's about the same age, job, etc. as me, I did manage to define what I want the rest of my backpacking life to look like - and that's something I've struggled with for the last couple of years.

    I'm in my early 60's, still active in my profession, and have fairly significant demands on my time from family (not so much kids as elderly parents, and wanting to spend time with my wife doing things), employees, clients, and friends. These keep me from chasing after the skills and conditioning I need if I want to take really challenging trips. Those other demands are also making it increasingly harder to get 4 or 5 days off to go backpacking; if I can get away that long, I want to visit my grandkids or do something with my wife. I'm not complaining about those other demands; I willingly accept them and, for the most part, enjoy them, too.

    But, in seeking a balance in my life, I've now concluded that what I want out of backpacking, over the next 20 or so years I might have left to participate, is not adventure. I want stress relief and, for want of a better word, "fun"; high adventure is not what I'm looking for just now. Backpacking will, for me, now be a recreational hobby rather than a chance to grow and change (and it has made me and my life different than it would have been otherwise.) I've come to peace with the fact that, for me, there will be no more trips to the AT (at least not mountain trips); they are beyond what I can keep myself in condition for. My trips will be easy hikes and pleasant camps in southern Ohio, southern Indiana, and south central Kentucky. Places like the Red River Gorge, Mammoth Cave, Zaleski, Hoosier NF, the Knobstone Trail, the Twin Valley Trail (Dayton, Ohio) and a variety of state parks that offer backpack camping give me a host of places to explore and relax.

    There will continue to be a lot of interaction with new hikers, but I'll be more of a "basic training" instructor than a "tech school" resource. As I told my AT-thru-hiker friend as we hiked out Saturday, I see my job as helping people learn to be comfortable and competent enough in the woods to send them along to guys like him to become true backpacking fanatics. And, based on a quick overnight trip I did a few weeks ago with such a group, I find that I enjoy that role a lot.

    After bailing on the trip, I thought I'd be very upset with myself, but I found that I've actually felt like a pressure was removed: I no longer feel the need to say "Yes" to a Big Trip. I now can take the trips I want to take, and the trips I can have fun with and relax along the way.

    Come to think of it, that's not a bad lesson to learn from a busted trip.

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    #158616 - 12/12/11 10:23 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn]
    Pika Offline
    member

    Registered: 12/08/05
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
    Glen, you speak of the direction that I am heading as well. I'm in my mid-70's and, with one exception, I will seek peace, beauty and solitude from my backpacking trips in the future. My one exception to this is that I still plan to hike the John Muir Trail one more time in 2013. I will have to spend quite a bit of time to physically prepare for the trip; my endurance has slipped a bit the past few years. But, being retired, I have the time to do the workouts I will need to do. Other than that, I plan to take it a lot easier for whatever time remains of my backpacking years.
    _________________________
    May I walk in beauty.

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    #158618 - 12/12/11 11:21 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Pika]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    I'm in the same boat with Pika, and I am all for peace, beauty, and solitude, but there are still a few fairly strenuous things I need to do - trails in the Gila Wilderness, and I have a secret desire to be the oldest summiter of Baboquivari, surpassing Robert Forbes, who climbed it when he was 83. He had accomplished the first officially recorded ascent in 1896.

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    #158625 - 12/12/11 02:04 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn]
    billstephenson Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/07/07
    Posts: 3889
    Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
    Glenn, you've done an amazing job of describing what it is I seek from backpacking, and what I tried to relate in that "Mental Toughness" thread.

    I am, and have been for many years now, as "tough" as I want to be. I don't backpack to stay tough, or prove I am tough to anyone, especially myself. I backpack to enjoy the outdoors. That's it, that's the only reason I do this.

    That's why I plan my most of my trips around great weather, not just a chance of decent weather. That's why I'll cancel a trip without a bit of regret if the weather forecast isn't great.

    I'm planning another trip with ULhiker (Jim Ennis) for next week. Last night he sent me a route for our trip and after reviewing it I asked him to cut the trip miles down by about 1/3. He was only planning on about 5 miles a day, but the terrain is vicious, and after he looked at the elevation profile he agreed we'd probably do better to cut the miles down too (I was really thankful for that wink ) .

    It's not that we "can't" do those miles, for me, it's that we'd be zooming by some incredible scenic spots with little or no time to stop and enjoy them, and we'd be busting our butts to do that. Every time I've done that I've regretted it very much.

    In my heart, I am an explorer, not an adventurer. That is a key difference in how many of us approach backpacking, and even though we may never have even really considered it those two approaches are what define how we involve ourselves in the sport. It defines how we enjoy it and what we expect from it.

    I've said it here before in passing, but never really tried to describe it here, but I don't really "Hike". I hardly ever have. Instead, I've always wandered and rambled. That is another key difference.

    For the most part, "Adventurers" hike, and "Explorers" wander and ramble.

    Glenn, I believe you are an explorer at heart, and probably always have been.

    Quote:
    After bailing on the trip, I thought I'd be very upset with myself, but I found that I've actually felt like a pressure was removed: I no longer feel the need to say "Yes" to a Big Trip. I now can take the trips I want to take, and the trips I can have fun with and relax along the way.

    Come to think of it, that's not a bad lesson to learn from a busted trip.


    I'd say the best lesson ever, and I'll hoist a drink in a toast to that...

    "And to' our health we drank a thousand times, it's time to Ramble On."



    Bill
    --
    www.OzarkExplorer.com
    _________________________
    --

    "You want to go where?"



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    #158626 - 12/12/11 02:05 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: oldranger]
    OregonMouse Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/03/06
    Posts: 6399
    Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
    I still have a few more "strenuous" trips to do (although at the leisurely rate of 5-6 miles per day), but I have to face that not only am I getting older but also my dog Hysson is getting up in years. I don't mind climbing hills (my "back yard" place for getting exercise is the Columbia River Gorge, noted for steep trails with lots of elevation gain), but it's at a rather leisurely rate compared to most of the folks out there. And I certainly won't go if it's snowy or icy! Although, interestingly, my slug-like but steady rate up long switchbacks often gets me to the top before a lot of faster folks!

    Glenn, I suspect that most of your problem is trying to go too far too fast in what sound like extremely inclement conditions! Slowing down, rather than giving up places like the Appalachians altogether, should take care of the problem. Maybe stick with better weather, too! Hiking in slippery-slidy conditions uses twice as much energy (much of it nervous energy) and is hardly conducive to "fun"!

    _________________________
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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    #158627 - 12/12/11 02:15 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: billstephenson]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    I think you may have nailed it: "exploring" does seem a lot more like what I want (and have often done in the past.) I think Colin Fletcher referred to it as "mucking around a bit" (hope that gets past the auto-censor feature!)

    I also was interested in your comment about cancelling a trip if there's a crummy forecast - I've been doing that with my little local trips for a couple of years.

    None of this takes anything away from dedicated hikers - especially thru-hikers. Having had a very small taste this last week of what they have to do, and treat as normal, for several months on end, I stand totally in awe of their accomplishments.

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    #158633 - 12/12/11 03:11 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    We are fortunate that the outdoors is such a vast and versatile canvas on which we can accomplish so many disparate objectives.

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    #158663 - 12/13/11 01:20 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: oldranger]
    hikerduane Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/03
    Posts: 2123
    Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
    I'm looking forward to retirement, so I can slow down. With limited time so to speak when doing a trip, I have to be back to my vehicle a certain day to get home and work. However, I've been planning bp trips so I do have a few days at the end of my vacation to go home and take care of stuff there and replenish any fat lost by chowing down on ice cream and junk. My present way to slow myself down on trips, is to plan longer mileage trips so I have to stay out longer, no short days so I can exit a day earlier. My plan isn't working, I somehow still manage to leave early. I had a 9 day trip planned last August, doing 80 miles. I did it in 8 days and could have knocked one day off easily and I had a few tough days thinking, why am I pushing myself so hard. Like the rest, I have nothing to prove, just that I can out do many younger folks I guess.
    Duane

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    #158675 - 12/13/11 03:31 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: hikerduane]
    billstephenson Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/07/07
    Posts: 3889
    Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
    Quote:
    Like the rest, I have nothing to prove, just that I can out do many younger folks I guess.


    That used to be a real incentive, but these kids today don't get near as offended by that as we used to.

    Now they just shrug it off and say something weird like, "Yeah, but how many subscribers do you have on your Twittle account?".

    I don't know what to say to that. I don't even know what that does, much less how many I need or how much they weigh. crazy
    _________________________
    --

    "You want to go where?"



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    #158710 - 12/13/11 11:13 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: billstephenson]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2751
    Loc: California
    Count me in as an "explorer". I do get cabin fever in the winter and do a lot more close-to-home repeat trips just to get out. I like to poke around little nooks and crannies, but have yet reached the mental state of enjoying just sitting at camp. So far my age has not put a dent in my tendency toward hyperactivity. It is hard to see myself as "retired". I slipped from full time work to part time, then basically unemployed. The plan was to go back to work after 5 years of part time work, but that is not going to happen with today's market. The best thing about being retired and backpacking is that I can take my sweet time getting going and driving home. I also can plan weekday trips and avoid crowds. But on the backpack itself, I still like challenging days. The only reason I can still do the same type of trips that I did when I was much younger is that my pack is getting lighter! I do not think it is an "either", "or". I can still have peace and solitude AND a long challenging day. I have however pretty much quit serious alpine climbing and now use my climbing skills for off-trail travel. I quit climbing because too many deaths of friends and aquaintances freaked me out, not for physical reasons. I do not enjoy being scared. I can do without adrenelin rushes. But moving gracefully on rock still feels good, just not on the sharp end of the rope with 2,000 feet of air beneath me.

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    #158839 - 12/16/11 10:18 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wandering_daisy]
    Kent W Offline
    member

    Registered: 10/15/09
    Posts: 607
    Loc: IL.
    Om I think you hit the nail on the head! I love the Smokeys region.It is within a days drive for me but a bit strenuous. I am still among the working class. Apon retirement, well now we have created a new animal. Do I need to Hurry? Do I need to be home next Monday or Friday or month! No only to notify loved ones where I am! Happy Trails

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    #158892 - 12/18/11 10:09 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Kent W]
    balzaccom Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 1730
    Loc: Napa, CA
    This is a really nice thread that captures so much of what these boards are about! For me, it's not about outrunning the youngsters, although that can be fun. It's really about getting out into stunning scenery with the person I love the most---my wife. And she seems to feel the same way.

    Sure, we'll have our adventures, but we won't be stupid. And we have nothing to prove.

    This all reminds me a bit of my other great passion, cycling. I am not interested in racing. Yeah, I ride fast, and have ridden with guys who do race, and I did OK. But there comes a point when you realize that at your age, winning a race means selecting the right group to race against, rather than really being the fastest. You'll never win the Tour de France, so the only way you are going to win is to find a race where everyone else is slower.

    Or you could just ride because you really love it.
    _________________________
    balzaccom

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

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    #158933 - 12/19/11 11:40 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: balzaccom]
    wandering_daisy Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/06
    Posts: 2751
    Loc: California
    If I choose to go fast or cram a lot into one day of backpacking has NOTHING to do with trying to beat someone or compete with youngsters. It is all about the personal satisfaction I get from my own accomplishment or simply that I LIKE to move fast. This does not disappear just because I age. My current "fast" or "far" is backed off what I did in my youth and will continue to get less fast and less far as I age. I do not feel discouraged if I have to do less as I age- I am grateful that I can still do what I can! Enjoyment is what I am after too. Some of us simply do not enjoy a short hike as much as a longer one. I just do not want to give the younger members of this forum the idea that aging, per se, means they have to significantly slow down. If you stay in shape and are lucky enough to avoid significant health problems you can do some pretty hard core stuff into your early 60's. I will give you an update of that comment for the late-60's when I get there!

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    #158937 - 12/19/11 11:57 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wandering_daisy]
    balzaccom Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/06/09
    Posts: 1730
    Loc: Napa, CA
    Agreed. And if those younger members think that, they are welcome to join me on a bike ride....if they can keep up!
    _________________________
    balzaccom

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

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    #158942 - 12/19/11 12:55 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: balzaccom]
    PerryMK Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/18/02
    Posts: 1155
    Loc: Florida panhandle
    I was beginning to think maybe I had the wrong approach. I've always looked for good weather to hike. Sometimes I would even plan several hikes a few hundred miles apart and when it came time to go I would pick the one with the best weather. That said, I have been caught in unexpected inclement weather an forunately was prepared. I never hiked to show I was tough or to prove anything. I always hiked for enjoyment.

    My only big hiking goal is the AT when I retire. I imagine I won't be able to do that in a weekend of nice weather though.

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    #158947 - 12/19/11 02:42 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wandering_daisy]
    billstephenson Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 02/07/07
    Posts: 3889
    Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
    I agree with W_D too. I often say I don't commit to, or plan, a certain number of miles, and I generally don't. Often what I do is go wandering around all day through pretty tough terrain and I can get pretty worn out doing it. I do that a lot. I don't often rush around, I meander, but I often keep moving all day long.

    I've taken hours rambling over just a few GPS measured miles, but was climbing up or down steep hills the entire way, pushing my way through brush and bramble, crawling over and under downed trees, and back tracking to work my way around some kind of obstacle or another. So, at the end of the day, I can be pretty exhausted. These are the kinds of trips I take when I'm feeling antsy and full of wanderlust. They are the only cure I know.

    Because that has always been one of my approaches to day hiking and backpacking, trails always seem comparatively easy, for me, in fact, they feel a bit like cheating and a sort of luxury I shouldn't let myself succumb to. The steep hills are still tough to climb when I'm on a trail, but they sure get climbed a lot quicker.

    But I do go back to super scenic spots I find on my aimless rambles with the intention of spending time there. On those trips I will sit and relax more, and explore in fine detail a smaller area without carrying a pack. Around here, it's not uncommon to find a hidden cave entrance that's only a few feet in diameter, or a spring that creates a pool of water that perks and gurgles water that disappears underground just a few yards away. It's said that there are potentially thousands of caves here still undiscovered. The Entrances come and go too. One may collapse and be hidden and another may be exposed that's been hiding for no one knows how long. There are places here that are so full of wonderful nooks and crannies and hidden springs that they almost demand your attention to their finely detailed beauty.

    For me, those trips have a similar experience of feeling to what it was like to hike to a grove of Sequoias. Maybe it's just me, but once you get inside them it was different, and for lack of a better way to describe it, it is magical, and you feel it quite strong. On those kinds of trips I don't get worn out. They are relaxed and leisurely. Quite the opposite from the the first described, and just as necessary to maintain myself.

    _________________________
    --

    "You want to go where?"



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    #158968 - 12/19/11 07:26 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wandering_daisy]
    Glenn Offline
    member

    Registered: 03/08/06
    Posts: 2617
    Loc: Ohio
    I agree, age is not the driver for slowing down. (The age information I gave in the original post was to give you some idea of where I am in my own life, not to imply that age was inherently a limiting factor.) Of the factors that drove my own decision, it was other demands, amount of time I can devote to conditioning, and my own determination of what I want to get out of the activity - in short everything BUT age - that led me to choose to change the type of trips I'm going to take over the rest of my hiking life, so they gave me a better balanced life.

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    #158974 - 12/19/11 09:00 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wandering_daisy]
    oldranger Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/23/07
    Posts: 1735
    Loc: California (southern)
    If my experience is any guide, you will still be getting out, and doing quite well, when you hit your mid-70s. You will, however, be aware that you are no longer twenty-five....

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    #171324 - 11/02/12 06:18 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: oldranger]
    wildthing Offline
    member

    Registered: 01/11/02
    Posts: 982
    Loc: Victoria, B.C.
    Experience means we get reminded every hillock and down dale that we are no longer 25! Heavy dose of reminder in the morning especially if you lift your leg too high before you get out of the tent and get those pesky cramps.

    However, I do think the challenges of backpacking when you're 60 or 70 are partly mental and partly physical. It is a good discipline to keep going and do a good day's hike despite what conditions or age feels like on your body! That being said, I'm not keen on slippery hiking due to knee problems, just too many chances to twist things. I'm good for cold, wet and uncomfortable as long as I can keep going. Secret is, never stop!
    _________________________
    Listen to the trees in the wind

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    #171444 - 11/04/12 10:38 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: wildthing]
    Glenn Roberts Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 12/23/08
    Posts: 1377
    Loc: Southwest Ohio
    It's a year later, and my plan is working out very well. I've taken 3 or 4 local trips on the Twin Valley Trail I mentioned, and found that I had a great time. One of these days, a buddy and I are going to do a 3-night trip and cover the whole 30+ miles in one gulp. I've also assisted with a couple of beginning backpacker courses there.

    I just got back today from a 2-day trip to the Rockcastle River area along Kentucky's Sheltowee Trace (and some connector trails to form a loop.) Ten of us went, including some of the folks from those beginner trips. We had a ball, though we only covered 10 miles. Spent some time along the River, in its natural state - something not seen for the last 50 years since the creation of Lake Cumberland, which impounds up the Rockcastle River (dam repairs made them lower the lake by 100 feet 2 years ago, and the bathtub ring is almost gone from the river.) Some bite in the hike, in the form of a couple tough uphills, but pleasant company and good weather. I found I can still handle the uphill (only stopped to catch my breath once), and did a good bit of relaxing in an area I had never visited.

    Best of all, I'm planning my next hike already.

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    #171548 - 11/06/12 01:20 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
    rionada Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/19/02
    Posts: 493
    Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
    Nice Glenn!

    So, any plans to do "the big trip"?
    _________________________
    i really don't think that applies to me.

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    #171566 - 11/06/12 03:49 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: rionada]
    Glenn Roberts Offline
    Moderator

    Registered: 12/23/08
    Posts: 1377
    Loc: Southwest Ohio
    No, no plans for a "big trip" just yet - been talking, in very general terms, to a couple of folks about a possible Isle Royale trip sometime late next summer, but that hasn't progressed beyond the "You know where we ought to go sometime?" stage.

    Have at least one small, local trip on the calendar for early January, thinking ahead to March (or maybe February) - but it's definitely fun again!

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    #171613 - 11/07/12 11:57 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn Roberts]
    rionada Offline
    member

    Registered: 04/19/02
    Posts: 493
    Loc: Hervey Bay, QLD Australia
    Wonderful!
    _________________________
    i really don't think that applies to me.

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    #174111 - 01/20/13 11:21 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: rionada]
    JAC0302 Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 01/20/13
    Posts: 5
    Loc: SOCAL
    I'm brand new here, and my "hiking" experiences are 180 degrees out from some in many respects, but a lot of the comments posted really resonate with my. I'm going to be 44 soon, and I've never taken the time to adventure or explore at my own pace. That's perhaps because the adventure I experience in my day job, raising children the past 17 yrs, and having a wive who has never been an outdoors person dissuaded me from getting out there and doing it.

    These posts remind me that I love sleeping under an open sky and pondering life at the end of a hard day, and future happiness may just well be a function of getting out there and doing it.

    Thank you.

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    #174348 - 01/26/13 05:34 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: JAC0302]
    jbylake Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/15/12
    Posts: 202
    Loc: Northern KY USA
    Wow, if I had to "quote" the many things in this thread that I'm going through, I'd have a 3 page post.

    One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life, was, finally, and very recently, face the fact that I'm over the hill, physically. Most of this is due to prior injuries, and now some mental acuity lost and of course, age.

    I'm not ususually an openly emotional person, usually more reserved than outgoing, but this aging experince feels like one giant slap in the face from God.

    No more "off-trail torture", no steep climbs without stopping to catch my breath, several times, just more casual strolling.

    I used to love the challenge of taking on more than I thought I could handle, but those challenges are all over for me, now.
    It's like someone cut my legs off. Regrets and triumphs are mixed. Being a very "mobile" person during my career in the military, I got to explore places I would never have been able to afford as a civilian. However, I could never get the time to do the AT or JM trail, just pieces of it (JM). Lots of backpacking in CO, also Korea, the Sahara, and many other unusual places.

    Now, finally retired and "worn out" finances prevent exotic trips, and my "newly found" physical limitations prevent a lot of trips I never got to take due to obligations to the military or civilian employer.

    I want to try one more trip, that I think would be a challange, even for a younger person, maybe towards or deep into next fall, which is the John Muir trail (the KY/TN) version, which is about 60 miles. Most of my friends are still working, so I'll probably have to do that solo. It'll be dangerous, for a person my age, something I wouldn't have thought twice about when younger, but I figure if I can average 6 miles a day, or slower if need be, it can work out.

    So back to Glenn's origional post, and some other's thoughts, I will have to slow down and enjoy the view, but it's really hard to "let go" of my youth. My body is worn out, and beat up, but my brain keeps wanting to fight me and tell me that I'm still the young man I used to be. Funny how the brain pulls tricks on me.

    So, I'll just have to hold my head up, and take things a bit easier, and let those pesky girl scouts, and herds of turtles, give me that glaring, angry, "get out of the way" look, as they pass me on the trail. The joke's on them. Time doesn't stop for anybody. wink

    Oh, one last thing. Except for squad functions, "group car camping" alcohol never went with me. Period. I wonder...well a couple or three liters of wine in collapsable bottles couldn't hurt...or soothe things that do... laugh

    J.

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    #174455 - 01/30/13 11:16 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: jbylake]
    BoFlatlander Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 01/30/13
    Posts: 2
    Loc: Here today
    I'm not a big proponent of bringing alcohol on the trail, but I have no problem with a glass of wine at the end of the day to ease those aches. Just wish it was more portable.

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    #174458 - 01/30/13 01:06 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: jbylake]
    skcreidc Offline
    member

    Registered: 08/16/10
    Posts: 1590
    Loc: San Diego CA
    Before she was Mrs. skcreidc, I took her on her first backpack. We went up to Mt. Ritter/Banner area starting at Silver Lake. Those of you that know this route also know that the beginning rises about 2k ft, most of it switchbacks, up to Gem Lake. The beginning section is a stout route. About half way, Agnew Lake, we passed a husband/wife couple in their mid 80's working their way up to spend 6 or 7 days up in the High Sierra. I remember them being in good spirits and quite an inspiration for the two of us. Since that trip, Patty and I have run into others in their 80's; vibrant and throughly enjoying the trail life. That is where I want to be in my 80's. Moving at my own pace and still enjoying these wild areas. If we are made to do anything, it is walk. And ALL you people are my inspiration to just get out there. Pika in particular lately; 77 and still getting on it!
    goodjob

    At 56, I still love doing lots of off trail and I have plans to do things I may not be able to do any more. Up until recently I was confident I still could these things. The last 8 months I've been playing wack-a-mole with health issues; you know get one fixed only to have another pop up. As it does with everyone, past injuries have been catching up with me. But you put your head down and do what you got to do and move forward. I know eventually I will be getting out again, even if it is not on the schedule or the pace I had hoped. For instance, a number of snow trips I had planned have been put off till I feel better. I know I can still push myself, but that boundary is not where it once was; and that is OK. These things are personal goals and do not matter in the larger scheme of things. Just getting out is enough to put my mind at peace. It seems to me whether your style is fast or slow, or rambling off-trail or hiking on trail really isn't the point. The point is to connect with the wild places you enjoy and love. And as long as you are a good steward, all else is superfluous.

    Quote:
    Oh, one last thing. Except for squad functions, "group car camping" alcohol never went with me. Period. I wonder...well a couple or three liters of wine in collapsable bottles couldn't hurt...or soothe things that do... laugh


    In the interest of packing lighter, I now occasionally bring Scotch. Not because I'm so hoity toity about Scotch, but because I can really only take a few sips then I'm done. That is all I need to take the "edge off".


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    #174459 - 01/30/13 01:18 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: BoFlatlander]
    BrianLe Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/26/07
    Posts: 1146
    Loc: Washington State, King County
    Quote:
    "I'm not a big proponent of bringing alcohol on the trail, but I have no problem with a glass of wine at the end of the day to ease those aches. Just wish it was more portable."


    If you're a light hiker and not too discerning in terms of what sort of alcoholic beverage you consume, an alcohol stove and everclear can make a good combination. Bring just barely enough standard (denatured, i.e., intentionally poisoned) alcohol fuel for cooking needs. Carry spare fuel in the form of Everclear (or other brand of the same thing). If/as it turns out you don't need all or any of the spare fuel, I like to mix it at a 7 to 1 ratio of water to alcohol and then add something like Crystal Lite to flavor it.

    If you've been hiking hard all day and you're at a higher elevation than your normally live at, it doesn't take a great deal to get a pleasant buzz. And that, I think is the "more portable" (for me "lighter") solution.

    In fact, I almost never do this; really depends on the particular trip. But that or some sort of other concentrated alcohol (Scotch was just mentioned) are definitely the best ways to keep weight down if you want to imbibe.

    I have hiked with friends who carry those special wine bladders, but I just don't see it. I like a nice glass of wine on occasion at home, but to carry it on my back all day and every day on the trail makes no sense to me.
    _________________________
    Brian Lewis
    http://postholer.com/brianle

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    #174482 - 01/30/13 07:44 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: BoFlatlander]
    jbylake Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/15/12
    Posts: 202
    Loc: Northern KY USA
    Originally Posted By RobertFalfa
    I'm not a big proponent of bringing alcohol on the trail, but I have no problem with a glass of wine at the end of the day to ease those aches. Just wish it was more portable.

    Actually that was really tongue-in-cheek humor, sort of. I wasn't really advocating bringing mass quantities of alchohol.. crazy

    J.

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    #174512 - 01/31/13 11:57 AM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: jbylake]
    JPete Offline
    member

    Registered: 05/28/09
    Posts: 304
    Loc: Eastern Ontario
    I'm among those of you still trying to hang on. Haven't been on here in awhile because I've been away, but not hiking. I was finally getting it back together last fall after a couple of years of struggling with leukemia. Thought I had it licked. Then, as noted above, something else cropped up. It was a bit too easy for me to catch whatever was going around, and I came down with a nasty dose of bronchitis which became chronic. I'm back up to two miles most days, with the occasional three, but I'm still talking about another thru-hike in a couple (maybe three) years when I'm 80. Hang in there folks. I know what it feels like, but if one keeps at it, it's still doable (but yes, a little slower -- no more 26 mile days). Best, jcp

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    #174513 - 01/31/13 12:07 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: BrianLe]
    BoFlatlander Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 01/30/13
    Posts: 2
    Loc: Here today
    I'm so ambivalent about this. The idea of using Everclear as an alternative fuel seems hilarious. And practical. Does it really work? Do you worry about mixing the two up? Why not go with all Everclear?

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    #174525 - 01/31/13 02:54 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: skcreidc]
    Backpackhavn Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 12/18/12
    Posts: 13
    Loc: Texas, USA
    Being out in nature can be such a relaxing experience. I agree that everyone should set their own pace and that older hikers can still have a fun experience on the trail: http://ezinearticles.com/?Older-Hikers-on-the-Trail&id=7467061
    _________________________
    May every hiking and camping experience be a fun adventure!

    http://backpackhavenblog.com
    http://www.backpackhaven.com/Home.html

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    #174535 - 01/31/13 05:17 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: BoFlatlander]
    BrianLe Offline
    member

    Registered: 02/26/07
    Posts: 1146
    Loc: Washington State, King County
    Quote:
    "I'm so ambivalent about this. The idea of using Everclear as an alternative fuel seems hilarious. And practical. Does it really work? Do you worry about mixing the two up? Why not go with all Everclear?"


    It does really work. Denatured alcohol is just pretty pure alcohol (as is Everclear) that's been intentionally poisoned so as to make it something you can't consume, just use as paint thinner and the like (and alcohol fuel).

    I don't worry about mixing the two up; denatured alcohol has a unique nasty smell to it, plus I use very different containers. If I carry Everclear (rare), I take maybe 4 oz or so.

    Why not go with all Everclear? Stuff is expensive. And last time I looked (few years ago) I wasn't allowed to buy it in my state, picked some up in Oregon when visiting friends.
    _________________________
    Brian Lewis
    http://postholer.com/brianle

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    #174546 - 01/31/13 10:47 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Backpackhavn]
    jbylake Offline
    member

    Registered: 09/15/12
    Posts: 202
    Loc: Northern KY USA
    Originally Posted By Backpackhavn
    Being out in nature can be such a relaxing experience. I agree that everyone should set their own pace and that older hikers can still have a fun experience on the trail: http://ezinearticles.com/?Older-Hikers-on-the-Trail&id=7467061

    Hey, I'm getting older, not dead!!! mad................Just kidding, good article...that covers a variety of options for people with different abilities and needs.

    Good Post... thanks
    J.


    Edited by jbylake (01/31/13 10:48 PM)

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    #179624 - 09/07/13 04:24 PM Re: The rest of my backpacking life... [Re: Glenn]
    D Lee Offline
    newbie

    Registered: 07/12/13
    Posts: 10
    Exactly!

    Where I live, we could use more senior citizen hiking habitat though.

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