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#173590 - 01/07/13 01:24 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: balzaccom]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Just checking. Actually, based on my experience, maybe that was contributing to your problem-too many miles. I developed chrondomalacia in one knee because of too many miles (about 100-200 a week), so once I backed off, it went away, plus I had a physical job and spent a lot of time in the water scuba diving, so it all added up.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#174596 - 02/02/13 10:08 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
djtrekker Offline
member

Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 43
Loc: Virginia
I'm also new, but welcome! You are young yet!!!!
I'm 60 and just took up my backpack love again in 2004. Going strong.

My bad back was aided by a good backpack with good hipbelt, properly fitted to me. Feels like heaven to wear. Keeping the core body in shape is crucial to the back. Back muscles, abdominals, laterals, need exercise. You don't need a gym necessarily, just find some good exercises to do for strength and flexibility. Lots of walking!
I agree with earlier post, too, that I would make certain via doctor that my back doesn't have a malady that requires medical attention. I thought mine might, but found I had just gotten soft. I use a gym and walk a lot.

This thing is fun, backpacking. I'm into gadgets, so what can I say - heaven! You don't have to be though, and it isn't that expensive either. Start by walking some trails, stay out most of a day, move to an overnighter, relax and enjoy. You know what they say, just do it!

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#175173 - 02/19/13 08:54 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: djtrekker]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Out snow shoeing and snow camping again this weekend, this time with three younger guys in their 30's. One I've done a few trips with, summer and winter. He called me a tank, I just keep rolling along, not pokey, just after climbing straight up a steep hill or two on shoes, it takes it out of you. However, they were the first ones to bed that night, I stayed up and read and wasn't even sore the next day.
Duane

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#184790 - 04/30/14 10:21 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: hikerduane]
ndwoods Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 572
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
61 here, hubby 63. Hubby has congenital back defect...gap in his discs that has pained him his whole life to some degree. Odd thing is that backpacking actually makes his back feel BETTER! He says the back rests just right against his back...
_________________________
http://ndeewoods.com/ and http://wilderstatepark.com/

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#184946 - 05/07/14 09:39 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: ndwoods]
intrek38 Offline
member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 430
Loc: Hesperia, Calif
Following a few thru hiker journals and I figure these would fit in here.
Drag'n fly is attempting to become the oldest woman to thru hike the AT (record is now 71) and will turn 74 in September.
www.trailjournals.com/freckles

I met a thru the other day on the pct who hike with this women with an amazing goal/challenge ahead of her.
Gotta Walk
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=443273


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#185711 - 06/13/14 03:05 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
Djwine Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: topeka, ks
Sure hope you aren't too old. I'm 71 & am leaving for the scout ranch in NE NM (Philmont) for a 10 day trek with my grand son & other scouts.

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#185770 - 06/17/14 09:33 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: Djwine]
dzierzak Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 43
Loc: WV
Originally Posted By Djwine
Sure hope you aren't too old. I'm 71 & am leaving for the scout ranch in NE NM (Philmont) for a 10 day trek with my grand son & other scouts.


When and what trek?
We are 623B1 on trek 22. I'm not quite as old as you - 65...

Ed

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#191733 - 08/28/15 04:46 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
Djwine Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 3
Loc: topeka, ks
We were crew 617 B. Trek 15. What a fabulous trip.

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#192270 - 10/20/15 01:14 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
ndwoods Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/02
Posts: 572
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
There is no too old to get started
_________________________
http://ndeewoods.com/ and http://wilderstatepark.com/

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#192272 - 10/20/15 10:07 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: ndwoods]
tramp Offline
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 79
Loc: WV
If you think you can't............you're right. If you think you can you're right too.

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#192314 - 10/24/15 01:03 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
Outcasthiker Offline
member

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 60
Loc: Tennessee
My Dad is 77 and still backpacks with me in the Smoky Mountain National Park every year. He is on two different hiking clubs as well.

Get out and enjoy the beauty of nature!
_________________________
Never Pass Up a hike!

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#192944 - 12/21/15 09:41 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 281
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I liked many of these responses. My advice is to gradually build up to longer trips. I walk up the hills in the neighborhood when it is raining and i can't go out hiking. With a pack and boots if I'm getting ready for a long trip. I hike once a week in the woods, some times with considerable elevation gain, mostly easier trails. Sometimes over night, mostly day trips that last 6 to 8 hours. I am older than you and because I train regularly younger people never fail to mention how inspiring it is to see an old guy doing so well.
_________________________
Jim M

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#199655 - 12/02/17 06:22 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
EMT Dave Offline
member

Registered: 11/24/16
Posts: 65
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By Abnrml1
Brand new to the board here and I wanted to ask a question. How old is too old? I'm in my early 50s and haven't done any packing since I got out of the Marine Corps 30 years ago. I've been battling with lower back problems for about 10 years now and my wife thinks that I am crazy for even thinking about starting this up again.

I am sick of just existing in this house. I told my wife that life without living is just death without dying. So how old is too old to get started?


I am 65 and you are naught but an infant. Read the last version of The Complete Walker and some of the newer and more timely books to gear up and get going. Go light but not ultralight until your skill set is up to speed. Try and get your physical condition improved first. Carry your new pack for hikes in town loaded with water bottles, if necessary getting your load to where it will be.
Start with overnights
Ideally, find yourself a companion with some experience to fill in cracks and get you going. You should start out in smiling weather so as to not discourage yourself and over test your new skills.
Hey, if you are in the northeast, get in touch. If I am not humping patients, I am good for a couple of nights. Seriously.

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#199656 - 12/02/17 06:26 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: intrek38]
EMT Dave Offline
member

Registered: 11/24/16
Posts: 65
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By intrek38
Following a few thru hiker journals and I figure these would fit in here.
Drag'n fly is attempting to become the oldest woman to thru hike the AT (record is now 71) and will turn 74 in September.
www.trailjournals.com/freckles

I met a thru the other day on the pct who hike with this women with an amazing goal/challenge ahead of her.
Gotta Walk
http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=443273


I regularly saw hikers in their 70's this past summer in Berkshire county, MA.
Granny Gates was hiking until the year before her death in her mid-70s. Her "tent" was a plastic shower curtain and she wore canvas sneakers, ate Vienna sausage and her "pack" was a canvas sack she carried in her hand.

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#199677 - 12/03/17 05:10 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
HPD Offline
member

Registered: 12/22/16
Posts: 64
Loc: Colorado High Plains
Originally Posted By Abnrml1

I am sick of just existing in this house. I told my wife that life without living is just death without dying. So how old is too old to get started?

I know this post is old but the advice is still the same - Your body will tell you! Work your way into and see what happens.

I got back into it some years back and ended up doing a lot of what I'd call big trips over the last couple decades. I felt like I was in my best shape ever in 2014 when I did a couple long ones, including the Grand Canyon and the Wind Rivers. Then, some of my parts started failing. Only done one trip since, this past summer. Screwed up a couple toes on that one which kept me from going back to the Winds in August.

Dealing with my 2nd detached retina in 18 months now, so I have a pretty good feel for what it's like sitting around the house-it sucks!
But I still have hope for at least one more trip to Winds - man, I love that place! Gonna try and work my way back into it and see what the body has to say about it.

I've always felt that backpacking was mostly a mental thing. Guess I'll find out how far that goes.....
Bill

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#199962 - 12/22/17 09:25 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: Abnrml1]
EMT Dave Offline
member

Registered: 11/24/16
Posts: 65
Loc: MA
On consideration I think the real issue is health. How good is it? Are you OK with walking the distances you want to over the terrain you wish to walk? Do you have a health condition that could result in death in the wild which could be easily treated in civilization? Do you have unstable angina? Do your blood sugars plummet with exercise?
Being out of shape need not be a reason to give up the sport as long as your health permits. Just be honest with yourself and your companion.

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#200298 - 03/02/18 03:26 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: balzaccom]
slammer Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/02/18
Posts: 4
Loc: AL
Hello all, I'm 52 and got back into backpacking (did it in my 20's) in the last two years. Aside from being limited to about 10 miles a day I've had no issues. I could probably increase that if I can afford some more ultra-light equipment. My packs still a bit heavy.

I did enjoy an incident last year, I was way the heck down some trail in the smokies or possibly on the AT, I forget. I run across the two guys way the heck older than me. They refereed to me as "Young Feller". I don't recall the last time any one referenced me that way.

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#200315 - 03/03/18 10:46 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: slammer]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2797
Loc: California
You ARE a young fellow! At your age, I got back into alpine climbing after years of raising kids and going to graduate school (to get a good job so I could pay for those kids college, LOL). I then quit climbing at about 65, not because I could not do it, but because all my climbing partners "aged out". I now backpack because I can do it solo. Now, a few weeks from 69, my summer plans are a 300+ mile off-trail thru-route in the Wind Rivers.

Two main differences from ten years ago; pack weight and maximum distance in a day. I limit each leg to 10 days, and take a few days off between. I am not "UL", but my starting pack weight is about 30 pounds (including a bear cannister) (20 pound base weight on my back) for a 10-day trip. I go light on food becaue I fish a lot. I usually do 7-8 mile days off-trail or 10-15 miles on-trail. I did a 21 mile, 11 hour day (with 3000 feet gain) two years ago, and it really did me in!

I also have to limit my downhill to about 4000 feet loss, or my knees get painful. I can still go up 5000 feet in a day. I also have to be willing to just stop and camp if I feel my body is getting over-worked. Some days are just "off" days.

My theory is that as I age, I keep in shape off-season by doing more gentle excrcise - mostly walking the dog 3-5 miles a day and 20-mile bicycle rides. No more running for me. My friends and family think I am obsessed, but I am VERY careful to keep my weight down. Never want to get more than 5 pounds over my ideal weight. I am also lucky to live where I can backpack in the winter, although more overnight stuff.

My eyesight is one of my worst health problems. I compensate by making sure all my gear is bright colored, otherwise I loose it! Also need bifocals, which makes boulder hopping a slower process than when younger.

I am going to get an InReach this summer, as I realize that I am getting more likely to get injured.

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#200316 - 03/03/18 01:50 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2964
Loc: Portland, OR
No more running for me.

Wisdom encapsulated! Solicitude for one's knees is paramount if one wishes to continue backpacking as long as Pika. I often remark to my wife how lucky I am never to have participated in competitive sports as a young man.

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#200331 - 03/05/18 03:15 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: aimless]
JustWalking Online   content
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 185
Loc: PNW
No more running for me.

I just got back from running the Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg. Well, ambled the half might be more like it. I was shooting for 2:30, came in at 2:26.

But unlike you old timers, I'm still young, I only turn 60 this year. :-)

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#200336 - 03/05/18 12:30 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: JustWalking]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2797
Loc: California
Everyone is different. I stressed my joints a lot in my teens and 20's (lifting and carrying weights that were extremely heavy for my size and a lot of mountaineering with steep downhills) and tend towards arthritis, so in my case, quitting running was a no-brainer.

The years of running, regardless of age, may be a bigger factor. I started running and backpacking when I was 16. Back then we had horrible running shoes- no cusioning at all!

All I am saying is that you can stay in shape for backpacking with less stressful exercise, if needed.

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#200338 - 03/06/18 02:30 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: wandering_daisy]
JustWalking Online   content
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 185
Loc: PNW
"All I am saying is that you can stay in shape for backpacking with less stressful exercise, if needed."

Most certainly! I wasn't trying to contradict anyone, sorry if it came off that way. Was just having a bit of fun. My running days are on borrowed time, I can feel it in my knees big time. :-)

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#200353 - 03/08/18 11:25 AM Re: Too Old? [Re: JustWalking]
slammer Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/02/18
Posts: 4
Loc: AL
I am still running for exercise but not very long distances. I do a 5 mile run and a 3 mile trail run per week and I find that keeps me going. As for knees, I seem to have been blessed with knees of steel because they never bother me even on long down hill stretches.

I just get tired after 8 miles or so. I might beat that if I went on some longer hikes to acclimate better but so far 3 days is the longest I've been able to get free. Working for a living sux.

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#200355 - 03/08/18 12:32 PM Re: Too Old? [Re: slammer]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2797
Loc: California
Agility is also very important to avoid "getting too old to backpack". I actually know several people who quit backpacking because it became just to difficult to live on the ground and get in and out of a tent!

Exercise that combines agility and strength have been important to me over the years, such as rock climbing, taking care of toddlers (always squatting to get down to their level), house work (yes scrubbing floors) and gardening. I find that men generally are more focused on strength and aerobic and less on agility (at least my husband is!). As a woman, one of the harder things for me is to gain upper body strength to effectively use my trekking poles.

And there is nothing like backpacking to get in shape for backpacking. Just take it easy and build up at first.

As we age, we sometimes lose perspective on agility. If you have grandkids, just watch them and you will realize how old and stiff we have become!


Edited by wandering_daisy (03/08/18 12:34 PM)

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