Futureatwalker. Personally I would not leave it that late. Several of my friends are over 60 and many of them seem to have developed some kind of physical impairment.
I'm living proof of that. I'm 42 and have been very active all my life. A year ago I discovered that I have osteoarthritis in my left hip, the legacy of a childhood accident. The doctors are suggesting a partial hip replacement now with a full one down the track ... the point is it was a complete surprise to everyone, including the three specialists I'd consulted about my sore back (it was referred pain). The operations will probably work out but there's always the risk that they won't and then there's the whole getting fit again thing ...
But like you I also have very young children (I started late) so there's a lot I won't do because I hate being away from them.
Loc: intermountain west
Just turned 50; also getting back to it after about 30 years. I'm looking forward to trying out the newer light packs. I keep watching the developments in lighter, thicker sleeping pads-as a side sleeper with Hips I want depth for comfort. Right now all I can manage is day hikes, but in a coupla more years look out! I am trying to take good care of my joints so they will still be good to go when I am.
Ah Yes. Reminds me of a story of someone's grandfather. When my time to leave this earth comes, I hope I die peacefully in my sleep like he did. Not screaming hysterically like the other people in his car. Happy Trails...
I am 45. My vote would also be not to leave it too late. The problem is finding the time of course. It would be nice if employers, including the employers of the self-employed, were a little more flexible. I think if people could take 6 months to a year off in their 40s for something like a thru-hike it would pay great dividends in the long run. That's another thing I have against mandatory retirement at 65. People should spread the work out more. Sure you should slow down some after 65 to take time for more things, but it seems nuts to go from long hours with little vacation to zero hours overnight. It seems we live in a world of kitchens designed by men, and lives designed by corporations.
I'm an early baby-boomer. Took up kayaking three years ago because a bad knee would not let me hike. Had a knee replacement a little over a year ago so I'm back on the trail and loving it! Will continue as long as I am able. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
#22528 - 08/01/0712:06 PMRe: Are you an old backpacker?
I'm 51 and still hiking away. When the kids were smaller it was difficult to go very far. But, now the boys are 23, 20, 18, and 13 and love the outdoors as much as I do. I've convinced them that since they're in their prime of life it's only fair that they carry heavier packs than mine. we just spent a week in the cloud peak wilderness area of the Bighorn Mts. of Wyoming. It's a fantastic area and I got by all week carrying about 10 pounds less than the rest of them. It's payback time for 15-18 years ago when I'd be carrying gear and them. Toastie
mockturtle-- No, I'm 62. Well, yes I do have knee trouble, so no more running. Please tell us about your experiences of knee replacement vis a vis hiking, backpacking, aerobic exercise program, biking,.... I took my Dad through bilateral knee replacement when he was 82, not an easy experience, but he did regain mobility. Thanks, Walt (still on the trail episodically)
My orthopedic surgeon put NO limits on backpacking <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> . Running and jumping are out. I only had my right knee replaced, as I had a six-year-old injury that was only getting worse. Obviously, I try to keep my weight in good control [both mine and my pack's <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />]. I like to keep my total pack weight at 30#, a weight I find quite comfortable. My aerobic conditioning [such as it is] consists of carrying my fully-loaded backpack up and down as many hills as I can find. Since I live in the mountains, finding steep grades is not difficult.
In a way, I wish I'd had the replacement done sooner, but then I might never have taken up kayaking, which I still thoroughly enjoy [I do backcountry camping from my kayak and find it satisfying to be able to camp somewhere only accessible by boat].
#22532 - 09/05/0705:16 PMRe: Are you an old backpacker?
Just turned 72 and still going strong. I said strong, not fast. I have slowed down greatly, but now I see many things that I used to miss. Leaving next Friday for a short (11 miles RT) to a favorite spot in the Sierras. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
Two weeks ago at age 61, I summited Mt Whitney (14,495') & returned in one long day. My two sons planned this; we started at 3:30AM w/headlamps & reached the summit at 12:30, back down at 7PM. Wasn't so bad for me & a great experience, something to add to my obituary.
I am 67 and just finished four days of solo hiking in Michigan and I will have to admit that at the end I felt old. I do not feel as old today but recovery time is getting longer and I have more aches and pains at the end. My hardest lesson to learn is that I am no longer 20 years old and 15 to 20 mile days are going to have effect. Some day I will probably learn. Every time I say I am not going to do it that way again and every time I end up doing it that way again.
Gordy, I know the feeling! Seems like I keep playing the same notes and expecting a different melody. Partly, I think, because I've forgotten my aches & pains by my next hike. So the promise that I'll never go through this again seems distant and misguided. Since I hike mostly with younger people, there's a desire not to be the 'weakest link', too. In a solo hike [my favorite] there's no excuse other than plain ol' denial. Maybe we just can't face the fact that we need to slow down. I'm thinking 10 miles a day, depending on terrain, should be my limit. We'll see if I can stick by it! Maybe you could try it, too. Let me know what happens!
I already know the answer. I have started out with goals of 10 miles max and 6 hour days and flower smelling expeditions but every time I end up forgetting the goals or Murphy imposes his rules. Sometimes there is some practical limit like this trip I got to a water source about 2:00 PM and I knew the next source was 15 miles away so I packed up three quarts of water and set off. The next thing I ran into was a sign which said temporary reroute, follow the yellow ribbons. About a mile later the yellow ribbons disappeared so I just took a cross country route which I knew was going to hit a road. By the time I was done for the evening I had blown an extra 1-2 hours and still had about 11 miles to the next water source and it was about three miles after that before I got to a spot where I could legally camp.
But my intentions were good on this trip. Intentions just met reality. As usual I said I will not do this again and as usual I was planning the next trip on the way home.
Thanks for all of the interesting replies on this post.
I'm 63, still backpacking and still making homemade gear. I have several friends (men and women) in the 60-70 range who still hike with me. My 62 year old wife is still backpacking.
One thing I note, reading the replies, is that I have cut back more on my miles than many of you. I like to hike 4 hours or 8 miles (whichever comes first) per day. I rarely exceed this. When I return home I'm feeling good, not sore at all.
When home I usually spend 2-4 hours per day working around the house or at the gym. This amount of daily exercise seems to put me in good shape for the 4 hours of backpacking that I typically do per day.
One of my backpacking partners still prefers longer days of hiking. When we go together we usually camp at the 4 hour mark and then he goes on extra hikes around the camp area. That allows both of us to get what we want.
Not 60 but will hit that milestone in another couple of months. Personally I'm thinking that I have another 10 years at least. A week long trip now is probably 40 lbs lighter than what it would have been 20-25 years ago. That for sure helps. I'm transitioning to a hammock for summertime use where I can to ease the soreness in my hips from lots of abuse over the years.
Skiing of all types, backpacking, sea kayaking and keeping up with leather-lunged sexegenerian women on Sierra Club hikes is the reason I work out constantly. Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in April is next -right after my two weeks skiing in Colorado this Feb. -March.
I figure I've got at least another 10 years of backpacking in me..especially after the new helium-assisted packs hit the market!
"He (she) who wears out the most toys wins."
Edited by 300winmag (09/06/0804:05 PM)
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."