Am I an old backpacker? I've been backpacking since I was 28 years old. I'm 61 right now, turn 62 next October and RETIRE as of September 30, 2006!

Retirement plans include Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2007 and kayaking some of the Inland Waterway along the Gulf Coast with my dog (half Blue Heeler half Cocker Spaniel) when I can find a couple other kayakers who want to do the same, sometime after the Thru Hike.

I also plan to do a lot of "rails to trails" biking in the Southeast. I'm moving to L-A (Lower Alabama) where there are 4 great-weather months and 8 hot-as-hades months, but since my daughter is giving me another grandbaby in 2006 and potentially more than one (they've got two now), it seems like a great area to live. I can kayak in the hot months and bike in the cooler ones.

THEN, when my niece graduates from college (2009), I'm taking her to Italy for at least two weeks, where we'll stay at campgrounds and hostels while we sightsee Rome, Florence and the Italian Alps. I'll only be 64-65.

THEN, I'm hoping one of my grandchildren will want to Thru Hike the Appalachian Trail when he or she graduates from High School, and I plan to be support and do some hiking with him or her (could be as early as 2009 or as late as 2024, based on this last grandchild. I'll ONLY be about 80 years old in 2024.)

You are NOT old unless you want to be. And of course, having good genes helps -- the women in my family has a tendency to live to be 96 - 103, so that Hike when I'm 80 years old could happen. (My parents are both 82 and going stong.) (see for more info about a retirement option)

HAPPY 2006 everyone!
Auntie Coosa
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