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PGH1NC
01-19-2017, 11:08
I am new to this forum. I am scheduling a section hike this summer on the AT in Shenandoah N P.
with my two adult sons. I have read much of the technical (gear, training, a bit, AT culture, etc.) Being in my mid-70s, I am perhaps, among the more "elderly" members of this forum.

I am curious to learn what other "mature" members have as advice, suggestions, experiences for someone "over the hill."

I have done marathons, Warrior Dashes, triathlons in my late middle age, and continue to cycle, hike; but backpacking is a new experience. I summited Katahdin in 1977 (the day the fire broke out), and again in 2010. It was much easier in '77.

Gambit McCrae
01-19-2017, 11:27
I am not an...experienced gentleman like yourself, but I have see many people hiking, and thru hiking older then you. My suggestion would be to do routine walks with your pack on before your trip, an overnighter or 2 with some challenging terrain and gauge that as to how far you can go on a daily basis, and possible as well, decrease the second half of your trip daily mileages if you see fit to due to wear and tear thru the hike. The good thing about SNP is that skyline drive is passed many, many, many times. If there is a big climb you don't care to do? who cares just put a thumb out and catcha ride up to the next trail head, if the sons want to do the climb, it would give you some time to relax under a shade tree while you wait for them :) Have a great trip and post a group photo after your hike!

Traillium
01-19-2017, 11:30
I'm only 67, so I've a few years to reach your maturity.
Last May, I thruhiked the 890km/500+miles of the Bruce Trail in Ontario. From hiking with Kookork, I learned early on the value of going slowly but starting at sunrise and going until supper time with lots of little breaks. Afternoon micro-naps of 20 minutes or so were very welcome too!
Thinking back to my cross-country skiing days, the wonderful Herman "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen is reported to have said something along the lines that the reason he kept skiing in his old age was so that he could keep skiing into an old age. It must have worked: he died at the age of 111+ years. (I saw him on skis when he had just turned 100 years old.)
Like you, I'm new to hiking and I'm continuing backpacking and walking as long as I can.

Hosh
01-19-2017, 12:13
Certainly not too old to enjoy backpacking. Your physical activity is commensurate with someone in shape. Hiking uses different muscles, lots of exercise routines published, although like all sports doing it gets one into "football" shape.

Most people find lighter pack weights lead to more enjoyment. You'll find some contrarians on this site but it's people holding on to the old days or packing for every contingency or packing their fears.

Lot's of advice on gear, shot for a sub 12# base weight, less if you have the budget. With a group of 3, there are lots of ways to share and consolidate things, cook kits, first aid/survival kits, shared food & menu planning. Usually sleeping together is a cost effective way to lower weight per person, although it has it's challenges. Shoot for sub 2#'s per person on tents.

If your buying gear, select your pack last. It is a major weight contributor and other gear, tent, sleeping etc, will dictate how much volume you need.

A good place to start:
http://www.hikelight.com/articles.html

jimmyjam
01-19-2017, 13:03
I met a man in his mid 70s thru hiking the trail for his third time. And he was out walking most 20 somethings. I also met a 70 something man from Italy thru hiking who did half the trail the year before and liked it so much he came back to do the whole thing. I see lots of over 60 section hikers.

jimmyjam
01-19-2017, 13:05
Take your time , dont over pack and enjoy yourself is the best advice I have.

booney_1
01-19-2017, 13:11
get the best sleeping pad that you can!!! Over the last 60 years the ground has gotten harder and harder!!

Seriously, today's sleeping pads offer amazing comfort at a reasonable weight.

garlic08
01-19-2017, 13:13
You probably have many tools that younger people may not have. If you have money, use that appropriately for newer, better, lighter gear, for luxury during town stops, etc. If you have strong sons, ask them for support in carrying heavier stuff--handicap them, if you will. If you have a ton of mountaineering experience, use that to know when best to eat, rest, seek shelter, turn back, etc. You may know your body's needs better than younger people, and may have less downtime due to injury or overuse.

RangerZ
01-19-2017, 13:14
get the best sleeping pad that you can!!! Over the last 60 years the ground has gotten harder and harder!!

Seriously, today's sleeping pads offer amazing comfort at a reasonable weight.


+1 on that. My Christmas present ThermaRest ProLite Plus made a real difference this past weekend.

PGH1NC
01-19-2017, 15:01
Thanks for the advice so far. So far I have the Big Agnes Fish Creek HV UL2. It is light and I will appreciate the extra space. Also have Thermarest Prolite Plus. Used an older one 20 years ago and the old bones will appreciate the extra half inch.

I am considering the Osprey Atmos AG 65 L. A bit heavier than some, but I think the fit will be worth it. Comments? I have carried with some weight on a trail for a mile and seemed comfortable.

I like the idea of lots of breaks and their carrying my gear! Hmmm. maybe I can get them to see this thread. ;)

Gambit McCrae
01-19-2017, 15:21
Might wanna talk to this wolf guy from Damascus, hese like 97 I think?

SouthMark
01-19-2017, 15:27
I turn 70 this year and in 2010 I met a lady on Barren Mountain in the 100 mw who was 84. She was carrying a full pack.

Maineiac64
01-19-2017, 15:28
Thanks for the advice so far. So far I have the Big Agnes Fish Creek HV UL2. It is light and I will appreciate the extra space. Also have Thermarest Prolite Plus. Used an older one 20 years ago and the old bones will appreciate the extra half inch.

I am considering the Osprey Atmos AG 65 L. A bit heavier than some, but I think the fit will be worth it. Comments? I have carried with some weight on a trail for a mile and seemed comfortable.

I like the idea of lots of breaks and their carrying my gear! Hmmm. maybe I can get them to see this thread. ;)

I like the Atmos AG 65, very comfortable, plenty of room, but it is nearly 5lbs. After doing a lot of research many people really love lighter packs by ULA and Zpacks. I am switching to zpacks arc haul zip which will save a lot of weight. I am anxious to find out how it compares comfort wise but the reviews and feedback seem to show it should be very good. The wait right now for a new zpacks pack to be built and shipped is only 1 week.

1azarus
01-19-2017, 15:47
I really want to underline Garlic's advice... you should have whatever you need to be comfortable, AND you should never carry more than 20 pounds -- 10 would be ideal -- seriously. So, go for the cushiest sleeping pad and let the kids carry the food, the stove, the shelter, the first aid kit... and have a wonderful time. then tell us all your stories!

1azarus
01-19-2017, 15:48
...and if you can keep your load down to 10 pounds or so, you can consider under two pound backpacks.

Gambit McCrae
01-19-2017, 15:56
I really want to underline Garlic's advice... you should have whatever you need to be comfortable, AND you should never carry more than 20 pounds -- 10 would be ideal -- seriously. So, go for the cushiest sleeping pad and let the kids carry the food, the stove, the shelter, the first aid kit... and have a wonderful time. then tell us all your stories!

I completely agree, time for the kids to give back! lol

la.lindsey
01-19-2017, 16:04
You sound like you're plenty active. I hiked some recently this winter with a 20000 (yes, 20,000) miler who was in his 70s. He rode his bike to the trail from Oregon.

Carry your pack and full gear. Be sensible about your weight and mileage. Shenandoah NP isnt terrible terrain, so I think you'll be ok. People hike the trail alone older than you, in worse shape than you. Just go slow, enjoy the views, and take advantage of the waysides (not a luxury we had over the winter!) to lighten your pack load some.

Enjoy!


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GoldenBear
01-19-2017, 16:17
Like you, I'm an older-than-average back-packer. I didn't even start this activity till I was in my 50s, but I've stuck with it despite giving myself a secondary trail name of "Snail's Pace."

First of all, age BY ITSELF will not the problem, so much as being out of shape. After a stress electro-cardiogram, my doctor noted that he's had patients, 30 years younger than I am, who were gasping for air at a level I considered moderate. However, I have experienced the following problems:

A. When I first started real back-packing, I kept trying to prove I was just as fast a hiker as (1) I had been decades ago and/or (2) people decades younger than I was. Neither is likely to happen! After slowly realizing this simple fact, I just adjusted my expectations for how far I can travel in a day. When I started planning my hikes with the idea that I was going to achieve 12 to 15 miles AT THE MOST, and then only by hitting the trail at 6am and continuing till it was getting dark, my hikes went a lot more smoothly. Make plans based on your PRESENT level of fitness, not on a level that you HAD or you WISH you would have today.

B. As you get older, you can no longer take your body for granted. Your fitness level will decline (has declined?) pretty precipitously unless you exercise regularly. So take up the exercises that will improve your fitness for the hikes that you plan to take. Last year I bombed out in my first attempt to hike in the Whites,
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/entry.php/8584-You-choose-a-title!-(Part-1)
mostly because I was fit ONLY for relatively flat terrain, but NOT for constant uphill & downhill. This year I'm getting my legs in shape BEFORE I hit the Whites again.

C. I don't know if this a problem or not, but the inevitable recognition of my mortality caused me to be a LOT more cautious. I remember being on top of Old Rag in Shenandoah a few years ago, practically clinging to the rocks lest I fall to my death -- and then remembering that, as a kid, I would have been running on these cliffs. Whether this heightened fear is an impediment to your speed, or a good way to survive, I don't know.

D. A problem I avoided, but COULD have had, is the temptation for elders to "prove" that we aren't elders. This can manifest itself in acting as if our bodies or minds are just like the ones we had -- and others have today -- in younger days. Hey, if getting drunk during an all-night party IS something you enjoy doing, then go ahead -- but DON'T do so to pretend you're still able to party like you did in your teen years.


I should mention some pluses that I've found for people hiking in our golden years:
A. If you're financially comfortable in retirement, you can hike without either having to count pennies or dread a loss of working days. Want to spend a night in a motel by yourself -- go ahead, you can actually afford it! Don't want to hike in an area because of bad weather -- no problem, just go another week! In other words, your deficit of fitness is (somewhat) balanced by your surplus of money and free time.
B. The $10 Senior Pass (my college buddy calls it the "Codger Card") covers admission to all federal lands for the rest of your life -- meaning you never have to worry about federal admission fees. If (like me) you don't think being old (and nothing else) entitles you to any monetary privileges, simply pay for the senior card and then donate the cost of an American the Beautiful Pass to a national parks charity.
C. Whether or not you actually DO know more about the outdoors when you have grey hair, people will THINK you are more of an expert. So people are a little more willing to listen to your reminisces. Just don't EVER begin with the words, "When I was your age..." -- those five syllables cause immediate shutdown of listening.
D. It is inevitable during one's golden years that one will give lots of thought to "what world will I be leaving to the young children of today?" For elderly back-packers, this will (well, at least it SHOULD) lead to a greater desire to NOT destroy the experience of natural beauty. Vandalism, littering, disturbing the peace, leaving a large trace -- all of these become less & less tolerable, particularly for one's own actions. Being a good steward of the lands that others have passed on to you becomes a MUCH easier habit.


I will end with my opinion that Shenandoah is the PERFECT place to do a section hike. If you find you're in over your head at any point in your hike, just walk ten minutes to Skyline Drive and call it quits -- no harm, no foul. But if, like me, this back-packing thing gets in your blood, in a few years you'll be giving advise to other seniors!

RockDoc
01-19-2017, 16:26
You will find much company in our age group, my friend.
Age groups on the AT fall mainly into two groups because of the way our society works. One is young, 20's mostly, hiking during a break from school and jobs. The other is 55+ seniors, including a lot of retired folks. Both of these groups are quite large. I think in many cases the elder group is the larger one.
It's a bit peculiar because there are big cultural/generation differences between the two groups, but there they are spending a lot of time together. I know which one that I prefer to spend time with, the one with long life experience and great appreciate for everything.
I've hiked with Cimmaron, who was 83, and Attilla the Hun, who was well into his 70's and quite ill. But both covered a lot of miles and I think had great enjoyment of every step.
So please go hike. You might no be the oldest hiker on the trail, perhaps to your surprise.

Hosh
01-19-2017, 17:01
I like the Atmos AG 65, very comfortable, plenty of room, but it is nearly 5lbs. After doing a lot of research many people really love lighter packs by ULA and Zpacks. I am switching to zpacks arc haul zip which will save a lot of weight. I am anxious to find out how it compares comfort wise but the reviews and feedback seem to show it should be very good. The wait right now for a new zpacks pack to be built and shipped is only 1 week.

I would agree, Osprey is a fine Colorado company, makes good products and stands behind them. However, they're heavy and you might find 65 liters is too much volume. Based on your tent and selections, you're going light and little. Figure out a sleeping bag/quilt and then consider a pack. I used a cardboard box to figure out my total cubic inches after stuffing it with my base gear. I then used 1.5 to 2.0 liters per day for food (pretty sure, couldn't find my notes, maybe others have input.)

Odd Man Out
01-19-2017, 17:04
... The other is 55+ seniors....

Hey wait a minute. I'm a senior???

Backpacking takes time, money, physical ability, mental resilience, knowledge, and experience. But few people bring all these to the table. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. What you lack in one area you make up for in another. I am hoping that when I get to be a REAL senior, what I will lack in physical ability will be made up for in all the other areas (where seniors can actually have an advantage).

garlic08
01-19-2017, 17:10
And remember, "Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!"

oldwetherman
01-19-2017, 19:42
Here's a link to a story about 82 year old twin sisters that just completed section hiking the AT.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/humankind/2017/01/18/80-year-old-twin-sisters-hike-appalachian-trail/96686462/

rafe
01-19-2017, 19:45
I'm 64 and am maybe slowing down a bit. Nine years ago I could still pull off consecutive 15 mile days, long-term, on the easier portions of the AT (the mid-Atlantic states.) These days I aim for 12 miles/day. But in truth it's been a couple years since I've done more than a few days in a row in the woods.

The AT footpath can be rocky, rooty, and treacherous in places, so maybe take it slow for a bit 'till your knees and ankles get used to that stuff. Hiking poles help a lot with that, especially for us seniors, and especially with the load-on-the-back, which will be new for you.

I'm a slow, cautious hiker. Speed is not a priority. Safety is. I want to be doing this 'till I'm really, really old.

From your intro, I don't think you'll have too many issues with the aerobic part.

Recalc
01-19-2017, 20:31
I’m 66 and attempted a thru hike in 2015, finishing it in 2016. My crash and burn at Gorham was a blessing in disguise. Here is my takeaway:

* I wanted to hike like a young person and my marathon and half-marathon experience allowed me to think I could. There are senior hikers who can hang with the faster crowd, but not me. It took about 1,900 miles to get that through my head and caused more frustration than it should have. Your marathons, Warrior Dashes, triathlons should serve you well.
* My 2016 finish through Maine consisted of low mileage, shelter free days. Lunch breaks were not hurried, and I would soak my feet in streams during the day on occasion. The hike was no longer a forced march, and I even was able to label Maine as “fun”.
* A lot of time was spent preparing for my hike doing gear research on the internet. I thought everybody is hiking ultralight these days (they aren’t), so I took the “best of” gear choices from various UL lists. Most of my choices were spot on, and I still keep my pack weight down, but one has to live with the gear and have the skills to go with it. Got everything right round one but the shelter. It’s a learning process.
* My training for backpacking trips has changed. Weight training and stretching are now an important part of my training. It has increased my enjoyment of the activity.

You are anything but “over the hill”. This is a rewarding hobby that I’m sure you will enjoy.

cmoulder
01-19-2017, 20:57
And buy the best, lightest gear that works for you, keeping in mind another ancient proverb: "That IRA ain't gonna spend itself." :)


And remember, "Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!"

Shutterbug
01-19-2017, 21:01
I am your age -- will be 74 in July. I try to limit my pack weight to 35 lbs, but if I am out for more than a couple of days I sometimes carry 40. I definitely agree with those who suggest that you keep your pack weight down, but some of the suggestions are too low.

My main caution would be to be more careful about falling. At our age, bones are more brittle. When I was younger, I expected to trip and fall two or three times a year. As I have matured, I have become more careful. I always use hiking poles and have slowed my pace a bit.

When I hike alone, which I often do, I make sure I have a way to contact my family. I often hike in areas where cell coverage is limited, so I carry a Delorme Inreach.

To stay in backpacking shape, I walk 10,000 steps each day. Three times a week, I do high intensity interval training and 20 to 30 minutes of weight lifting.

And, one of the best ways to stay in shape is to backpack often. For 2017, I have two Grand Canyon hikes, the Inca Trail and a section hike on the PCT scheduled. I hope to hike the Wonderland Trail again, but they are not accepting permit applications yet.

PS: At our age it is even more important to keep body weight down than it was when we were younger.

Storm
01-19-2017, 23:16
Hiked through thru the park last year. Not as easy as some people say but not too bad. I started in Buena Vista, Va. and hiked to Harper's Ferry. This was my third section on the AT. Only advice I can give you is to be in as good of shape as possible and to listen to your body. I get miles in by hiking longer, not faster. Knees give me some problems but other than that I am holding up pretty good.
Are you near East Canton? Went to high school there.

Cookerhiker
01-20-2017, 00:07
I don't think I have anything to add that hasn't been covered but I want to echo a few things in particular. One, listen to your body and don't think you need to keep pace with any other hikers, old or young. It's your hike and you hike it at the pace you enjoy. Two, be more cautious than you might have been 30 years ago, especially on steep downhills on rocky terrain (and wet rocky terrain is the worst). Third - and you're already doing this - keep aerobically fit before your hike - you'll enjoy it more.

It's been more than 2 years since I did a real backpack. Hoping to thru-hike the Long Trail this year but need to get in much better shape.

Feral Bill
01-20-2017, 00:16
There are plenty of us "coots in boots" out there. I met a couple on the Wonderland Trail last fall, 65 and 75, having a great time. Keeps weight reasonable, don't over push on miles, and have fun. And don't be shy about using the offspring as pack stock. On the WT trip, my son carried some extra at times. It helped, especially as motivation.
My son and me Chris and Rich
3795937960

Grampie
01-20-2017, 11:11
I thru-hiked at age 67. Most of the time my pack would weigh 28-34 lbs. It took me a little longer, 201 days, but my hike was problem free. My advise would be; Limit your daily miles to around 10 for the first few weeks. Eat something often, every 2 hrs or so. Listen to the aches and pains that will come. It's your body telling you to change something you are doing wrong. Take care of your feet. Foot problems put a lot of hikers off the trail. Don't hike more than 8-10 hours a day. You will need the extra rest. Don't use trail runner type shoes. Use a boot with mode support and a stiffer soul. Happy trails on your adventure.

Traillium
01-20-2017, 11:27
[QUOTE=Grampie;2120746 a stiffer soul [/QUOTE]

I know this is a misspelling of "sole" but as is, I thinks it's also apt.

I think of a 'stiff' soul as hopefully coming with maturity and wisdom, a strong stable resilient inner core.

I'd stress that resilience idea as well. A 'stiff' tree also survives because it is flexible, bending but returning, adapting yet growing, always developing.

Shutterbug
01-20-2017, 12:00
... Don't use trail runner type shoes. Use a boot with mode support and a stiffer soul. Happy trails on your adventure.

Different people have different perspectives. My advice would be just the opposite. I wear only Vibram 5 Finger shoes. Ditching the heavy boots was the smartest thing I have done.

You are new here, so you haven't heard my story. A few years ago, I was in the bottom of the Grand Canyon wearing some very expensive hiking boots with a stiff sole. My feet were killing me. I had a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers Shoes in my pack for camp shoes. I took off the heavy boots and put on the Vibrams. I have never gone back to boots. I didn't realize what a difference it makes!! Getting rid of those heavy weights on my feet has been liberating. My advice is to at least try some minimalist footwear before you make up your mind.

I have hiked thousands of miles in Vibram 5 Finger shoes without any problems.

rafe
01-20-2017, 12:21
On the issue of boots... I'm with Shutterbug on this. Mostly.

Every ounce of weight on the feet works against you. Much, much more so than ounces on your back. On a typical AT day, you lift your feet 20,000 times or more.

The notion that stiffer boots give "ankle support" doesn't hold up. Your ankles need full flexibility in order to walk, especially over irregular terrain, which is most of the AT. The only boots that offer real ankle support are ski boots, and you can't walk properly in those, for exactly that reason. The best ankle support is a pair of trekking poles.

The one place where I miss those old stiff leather boots, with their deeply lugged Vibram soles, is on slippery, steep rock ledges.

These last few seasons I've gone with a compromise: mid-height fabric boots. Vasque Breeze, specifically, but there are many similar boots in other brands.

Dealing with mud, muck and days on end of wet trail, there's no good solution. Trail runners will soak through quickly, but won't get that much heavier when they do, and will dry out quickly. Heavier boots will take longer to soak through, but will hold more water weight when they do, and will take much longer to dry out again. Pick your poison.

Cookerhiker
01-20-2017, 13:18
On the subject of "ankle support"...

I learned something when I visited a podiatrist for my right foot tendonitis which had been bothering me for months. The pain was on and around the ankle, meaning on the sole and also the sides of the back part of my foot. The first thing he did was squeeze the back sides of my (walking/cross-training) shoes and recommend that I replace them with firmer sides.

The important thing for "ankle support" wasn't high tops - rigid or otherwise - but rather firmness of the sides at the bottom on either side of the ankle, below the ankle bone. Along with some other recommendations, I changed my shoes and noticed a lessening of the pain before long.

I recently needed a pair of winter hiking shoes and settled on Keens. While they happen to be high-cut, the important feature was the firm lower sides. That is now my first criteria when purchasing shoes of any kind - squeeze the back lower sides.

ldsailor
01-20-2017, 13:46
I'm 67 and did 530 miles of the AT last year from Springer to Marion, VA. If there is one overwhelming regret I have about the hike, it is the weight of my backpack. I had an Osprey Atmos 65. It is a great backpack with plenty of room for everything, and therein lies the problem. You don't want to take everything with you. Besides having difficulty hiking up mountains with as much as 43 pounds on my back (after reprovisioning), it was also hard going down the mountains. I sprained my ankle and one of my knees hurt like crazy.

From my experience I learned what every experienced hiker already knew and told me, but I didn't listen. The lesson is go light. Find a light backpack, a light sleeping bag, leave most of what you think you need at home and if you can keep your backpack to no more than 32 lbs with water and provisions, you will have a much better time of it with much less chance of injury.

I'm going back this year, and believe me, my backpack will be much lighter.

Feral Bill
01-20-2017, 16:42
As Idsailer mentions, the downhills are where you are likely to do damage, and heavy packs compound this. A reasonably light pack and great care help a lot.

Shutterbug
01-20-2017, 18:29
This thread -- Senior Hikers -- causes me to miss Weary. For years, he was the authority on all senior issues. I miss his posts.

Cookerhiker
01-20-2017, 18:42
This thread -- Senior Hikers -- causes me to miss Weary. For years, he was the authority on all senior issues. I miss his posts.

Agree - I always found his perspective wise and useful. I count myself blessed that I met him once in person.

4eyedbuzzard
01-20-2017, 18:49
... And don't be shy about using the offspring as pack stock.
As the OP is 74, his "pack stock offspring" could be well into their 50's - not exactly spring chickens themselves.

PGH1NC
01-20-2017, 19:50
They are in their upper 40s.
Not sure if I can persuade them to carry any of my stuff.
I can't take away their allowance . . . but . . .:)

4eyedbuzzard
01-20-2017, 20:12
They are in their upper 40s.
Not sure if I can persuade them to carry any of my stuff.
I can't take away their allowance . . . but . . .:)
You could try this approach

37967

Feral Bill
01-20-2017, 20:13
Turn it into a competition?

Slosteppin
01-20-2017, 21:11
I would not consider giving advice. We are all different, what works for me might not work for you or anyone else. I'm not a thru hiker and never wanted to do so. The only part of the AT I've hiked is most of Maine, with my 2 younger sons. I've also done 2-week hikes in NH, PA, FL, MI, WI, MN, and ND. I can comment on a few things that work for me. I prefer to hike with the lightest shoes that fit and are comfortable. I always use hiking poles. Most of my gear is part of a system; my cooking and eating system, my sleep system, my shelter system... My pack is a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider 3400 and weighs 28 oz. Everything I carry for a week long hike fits inside my pack. I will suggest one thing both from experience and talking with other hikers - be gear independent. No matter how you divide gear with your sons carry everything you need to survive.

TEXMAN
01-20-2017, 21:56
Since you said section hike I will let you know my experience..I section hike every year and should finish the AT this year after starting in 2009 ..... Every start is the same ... it takes 3 days for your body to stop complaining about what you are doing to it ....so my advice is don't try to schedule long miles for the first few days ..and by long miles at my age I mean over 10 ...
Once your body is acclimated you'll find the hiking easier but the first few days are always tough....
Good luck, I loved the Shenandoahs

ChuckT
01-21-2017, 17:32
"Coos in Boots". I like that!

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ChuckT
01-21-2017, 17:35
Coots, spelling nanny got me again.

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Feral Bill
01-21-2017, 18:11
"Coos in Boots". I like that!

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Thanks. I use trail runners now, but I don't have a rhyme for that.

PGH1NC
01-23-2017, 10:48
Thanks for the suggestions, thoughts and experiences posted this past week. The topics of pack weight, training, daily mileage and expectations are well noted. This thread and another about "recovery time" put a good perspective on things. Good "heads up" info from "experienced" hikers.

Wyoming
01-23-2017, 16:14
PGH

HI. Another old guy here. I am not sure that I can add a lot to the above other than some experience and ideas.

I have about 18,000 miles in at this point and a couple of thru hikes.

Re getting ready. As I am sure you know as well as me, the body does not respond at age like it did when young. It is really asking for problems if you show up to start and are not near to full condition. This is not a big deal for youngsters but it is critical not to be out of shape when you start if you are older. The breakdown of muscle tissues during exercise and then the rebuilding when you rest to a stronger state is so slow when you are older that it is really easy to cross the line where you cannot get stronger. In my case I seldom hike less than 30 mile weeks during any point in the year. When I am planning on doing a long packing trip I start to ramp up about 2 months ahead of time and, for a really long hike of say 300 miles or more, I will have my weekly mileage up to at least 80 or so with maybe a week at 100+ with a pack for most of that about 2 weeks before I start. I toss in days of up to 25 miles with significant elevation gains and losses. So when I hit the trail I have no issues with 20+ miles days right from the start. This is likely more than you would be interested in but my point is that base training miles directly translates to an easy enjoyable hike, vice the incredible amount of suffering one often sees in those (even youngsters) who show up out of shape.

Re: shoes and feet. You are the best judge for yourself. Lot of folks push their favorite options, but following such advise is asking for trouble. The only thing I would state definitively is that you do not need any shoe which has a top higher than a regular trail runner or hiking shoe unless you are going out in the snow in winter. As to which kind of shoe works best to keep you healthy without foot problems that just depends on you. It may well be that a training weight trail runner is perfect for you, but I would stay away from the racing weight one as an older person is going to have a very high injury rate with them do to their providing virtually no foot protection. Or like me you might find that as you have gotten older stepping on the couple of hundred little sharp rocks every day (these are far more of an issue than big rocks) just eventually destroys your feet if you do not have a hard soled shoe - there are lots of light weight hiking shoes with hard soles. But, if you have not done it yet, go to several stores and try on lots of different shoes to find what you think you like best (take a few small 1-2 inch sharp rocks to stand on in them for testing purposes). When you are happy with a shoe buy it and spend a few gradually building up your walking time in them (never take a new shoe and put in long miles even if you are in shape as this is asking for an injury). Then walk in them exclusively and put in lots of miles. If they are working out - be happy. If not - repeat process until you are happy. It is worth saying here that a lot of the back and forth talk about the weight of shoes is over come by events these days (no one wears 2 lb hiking per shoe mountaineering boots any more while backpacking - as I did 45 years ago). I wear a light hiking shoe with a hard sole. If I switched to the really popular Altra LonePeak trail runners I would only save a total of 5 ozs per shoe. This counts but it also depends on how many miles a day you are hiking. I have no trouble doing every day in the low 20's and can do days of over 30 without getting sore legs. If I wanted to try 40 mile days I would likely switch. But I know with the shoes I have now I am far less likely to get hurt so I stick with them. YMMV

Pack: You really do not need a pack for any reason which is over 3 lbs (you are not going into the mountains in the winter). There are lots of good packs at that weight. You can get way under that also, but comfort (which is more important for someone your/my age as being uncomfortable at age works its way into injury eventually since our bodies do not recover at night like younger folks.) goes away fast as packs get under 3 lbs. A very popular pack for someone with your basic requirements is the Ospery Exos 58 which is about 2 1/4 lbs and can carry a load up around 30 lbs comfortably. My most recent pact is the Z-Pack Arc Blast at about 1 1/2 lbs and I would not recommend it for an older person as it becomes uncomfortable at much over 20 and painful at 30. Hip belts are really critical for older folks. But like anything, take your gear which is going in the pack to the store and load packs up and put them on. This often eliminates packs which just don't work for you in a few minutes. Once you find one where you go "ahh!" then leave it on and walk around the store for 15 minutes with a max weight load in it (they have little sand bags for this which you can toss ontop of your gear). Buy what you like the best as always and understand that sometimes you will end up not liking it for some reason later (me and the Z-pack for instance). If you hike a lot you wear out gear so this process never ends :)

Take it easy on yourself. I can still do big days (one 35 mile day last summer) but I have a huge base and am never out of shape a long ways and I have a good feel for how I am doing. Don't walk too fast or push hard as it is not necessary to cover a lot of ground. If your base speed is 2 mph and you hike 10 hours that is 20 miles which is more than most young people do. If you hike 8 that is 16 which is plenty fast enough to do a full AT thru hike. If you can still go 3 mph...well I am impressed. If your companions are just walking away from you and you all want to hike together then you get in front of them and go your own pace to protect yourself. I hiked hundreds of miles with a young woman last summer who can do repeated 40 mile days and this is what we did. If she started off in front of me she just disappeared and I would find her waiting for me up the trail a ways.

You will need more water than most younger folks if it is hot out due to the fact that older people slowly lose their bodies ability to sweat efficiently. Take this into account as getting real dehydrated is much harder on you and can cause lots of problems. Unfortunately this also means a slightly heavier pack due to your larger water requirements. On the flip side older bodies don't need quite the calorie input that younger ones do - we must be more efficient :) IN my case I consume about 400 calories less per 20+ mile hiking day now than I did 15 years ago - so that makes a lighter pack. I also don't feel starved like I used to.

I get cold easier than when I was young and you may also. If this is the case then be more cautious when venturing into harsh conditions as hypothermia can creep up on you a little easier than it used to.

Have a good time.

Wyoming

Traillium
01-24-2017, 01:05
Lots of great advice in the conversation!

ChuckT
01-24-2017, 06:10
This discussion is food for thought for me.

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1234
01-24-2017, 07:32
"go for the cushiest sleeping pad and let the kids carry the food, the stove, the shelter, the first aid kit... " I will add insulated, i happen to like the REI stratus insulated, it has wide edges to keep me from falling off. I often suffer leg cramps, so in prep for a hike and while hiking I take potassium and magnesium, get the expensive stuff, I also drink natural vitality natural calm a magnesium supplement every day. I take gelatin and glucosamine with msm and hyaluronic acid weeks prior to hiking. I stop nose spray and all antihistamines as I think they dry out cartridge in joints. I do wear earplugs they do help one sleep as shelter areas are noisy. Break in any footwear with at least 100 miles. Use pocket rocket type stove and carry small canisters, 1 each. Plenty of water in the park, I would plan on carrying a liter and tank up at EVERY source and soak your feet in the cold water, it is worth it. It is no race shelter to shelter is perfect, be sure to stop and get the $5 blackberry milkshakes, well worth the effort be sure to take the ez path to the waysides, not the straight downhill. ie read your guide book for info. Awol's book. have fun and enjoy

advantagecp
01-24-2017, 11:48
Age groups on the AT fall mainly into two groups because of the way our society works. One is young, 20's mostly, hiking during a break from school and jobs. The other is 55+ seniors, including a lot of retired folks. Both of these groups are quite large. I think in many cases the elder group is the larger one.
It's a bit peculiar because there are big cultural/generation differences between the two groups, but there they are spending a lot of time together. I know which one that I prefer to spend time with, the one with long life experience and great appreciate for everything.


I have made four "backpacking" trips to Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) in the last four years, ranging from six weeks to three months. I went in thinking I wanted to avoid the young, grubby backpackers. Guess what. I love those kids. I made a ton of friends, ranging from hard core hippie types to young hard chargers taking one last trip before joining the professional / corporate world. I had fun with old travelers and young travelers. I am 57.

What I learned in those travels is that the common bond of being a budget traveler, open to experiencing the world, transcends age differences. In some respects, I had more in common with a group of European hippies that I hung out with for a week on Don Dhet (4000 Islands in southern Laos) than I do with my poker buddies at home in North Carolina.

I expect that the AT will be the same. I look forward to meeting everyone out there.

Wyoming
01-24-2017, 16:08
"... I often suffer leg cramps...

This is not an uncommon problem and it is often unrelated to the remedies you mentioned you are trying. I have this issue now that I am older. I too thought it was related to electrolytes, dehydration and so on and tried all of the fixes to no avail. I would even cramp out when swimming and not just when walking and would have bad cramps when asleep. Went to the doctor, had blood tests and everything. No problem identified or fix found.

One day at the pool I was complaining again after cramping out at about 1 mile and this guy says to me. "My brother is the strength and conditioning coach at Texas A&M and he makes all of his athletes wear compression sleeves when playing as it dramatically reduces cramping."

Hmm. So go down to Dick's and buy a pair and hop in the pool the next day with them on and swim 2 miles. No cramps. That night no cramps. Everyday I wear them no cramps. Days I don't wear them ..cramps. I wear them all the time now when I hike. The legs are so much fresher and have more endurance and I don't get cramps at all any more where I was getting them almost every day and almost every night.

YMMV but you might consider giving this a try. I actually run into a fair number of older hikers doing this. Since I always wear shorts when hiking they can see mine and bring it up that they are wearing them under their hiking pants (for some reason most older hikers seem to wear pants - guess I have pretty legs :)

Wyoming

Plain Pete
01-24-2017, 19:30
Great stuff! Thought I'd chime in. I am a 75 year old section hiker. Have had cancer and quad by-pass. Hike your own hike! Let the young guys speed by. The faster you go, the less you see. Some on this forum recommend ultra light stuff, and I do have some. I use what fits me. I have used Granite Gear packs and they seem to hold all I need. I try to be comfortable at night with a cushy pad and warm bag. I find that at my age, I get cold much quicker. Walking sticks are an absolute must. Shoes are an individual choice. I wear an 8 EEEE shoe, so my choices are limited, but I prefer low cut hiking shoes.
As others on this forum mentioned, I limit my mileage to about 10 per day unless I'm feeling frisky.

Patrickjd9
01-24-2017, 23:33
get the best sleeping pad that you can!!! Over the last 60 years the ground has gotten harder and harder!!

I'm not even 60 yet, and have noticed this as well. There must be Leprecauns sprinkling invisible concrete everywhere. I can't imagine camping on the trail without an inflatable pad now.

handlebar
01-25-2017, 12:30
And remember, "Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!"

If WB had a like button, I would definitely have used it on this one:D--- although it seems to me those posting here, including the OP, are NOT OLD. While hiking the Arizona Trail a few years ago, I had just topped out about a 1000 foot climb in full sun where the temperature was high 70s or low 80s. I came out on a dirt forest road at that point for a couple miles. Along comes a 40-something on an ATV out scouting for an upcoming hunt. Says he, "Hey old man, are you OK?" I was taken aback and replied, "Well you young whipper-snapper, I'm fine; and by the way I'm not old, I have simply reached ADVANCED MIDDLE AGE." Then I yogied a cold soda. No soda, but the beer perked me up even Though I had to add the empty to my trash bag.

Point being if you stay in shape and keep active, you can backpack well into your 8th decade. Even though lots of people the age of the posters here are old, these folks are "advanced middle age."

Lots of good advice here, much of which I had to learn the hard way. One of the disadvantages of being advanced middle age is that we tend to b set in our ways. It took me years and about 7000 miles to swap out my heavy leather boots for trail runners. It als o has taken a long time to get my base weight down to 17 pounds. That forces me into a pack that weighs about 3 pounds since I tend to carry more food and water than many. My Granite Gear pack carries 35 pounds pretty comfortably.

I second the advice given about not trying to match the speed of the 20-somethings. I find out that I need to start out slowly in the morning or after a long break but, once I get moving, I can keep up with younger folks, even fit 20-somethings, on low grades, but not on steep ups and downs with poor tread. That said, I really like hanging out with younger hikers. I think some of their enthusiasm and youthful outlook rubs off on me.

Steep climbs put heavy demand on heart and lungs and at 71+ mine aren't strong as they were when I was 40. Steep downs take a toll on the knees and, on rough tread could lead to a fall. Old bones are indeed more brittle and a break takes longer to heal at 75 than it did at 25. I really slow down on steep descents. I always use trekking poles. My shoulders and arms can help my legs on climbs offload some of the weight from my leg and foot joints on descents. On flats using the poles to push off can extend my stride.

Shenandoah NP is a great choice for your trip. It has fewer long, steep climbs and the wayside can give a break from dehydrated food.

goatee
01-25-2017, 13:21
I also suffered with leg cramps everyday until I met a college football player on the trail who said at training camp, the coach makes them drink Alka Seltzer before practice to prevent leg cramps.At 66 yrs old I'll try anything.At the next trail town I bought a box and for me that was the solution.Your mileage may vary.

ScareBear
01-25-2017, 13:31
I also suffered with leg cramps everyday until I met a college football player on the trail who said at training camp, the coach makes them drink Alka Seltzer before practice to prevent leg cramps.At 66 yrs old I'll try anything.At the next trail town I bought a box and for me that was the solution.Your mileage may vary.

The Alka-Seltzer without pain killer has the same ingredients as rehydration salts. Exactly. Except no sugar.

GeoffHobe
01-27-2017, 18:09
Hi Dad (I'm the oldest of the two sons). Looking forward to the trip this summer! I very much remember my hike up 75% of Katahdin in '77 at the age of 8-3/4. I just couldn't quite reach that next hand hold to continue on with you.

it is a good thing your younger son (2 years younger than me) just bought an Atmos 65, so he should have plenty of room for some of your things. I'll be getting something in the 50 range (and much lighter!). so your extra items need to visit his pack instead of mine:)

if there are going to be any contests between us siblings, it will be an occasional speed race, or to see who can get camp setup first and eat first; not to see who can carry the most of dads gear.

thanks for all the advice everyone to help make our trip a success.
G

SawnieRobertson
01-28-2017, 15:49
Am I the oldest poster on White Blaze who is still dreaming?

PGH1NC
01-28-2017, 16:31
Swanie,

You just might be! Are you dreaming or doing?
Our Stark County Bicycle Club instituted a special recognition class for members over 80. They now get lifetime memberships.

They are still active riders and still quite fast, well many of them, anyway. One rode 160 miles on his 80th birthday!

How do you keep active?

ScareBear
01-28-2017, 18:55
Some ski resorts let you ski free over 70 or 80...

Plain Pete
01-31-2017, 19:15
Am I the oldest poster on White Blaze who is still dreaming?
You are myhero:p

ChuckT
01-31-2017, 20:13
How old?

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PGH1NC
01-31-2017, 20:18
His data states 83.

ChuckT
01-31-2017, 20:35
Older 'n me.

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SawnieRobertson
01-31-2017, 23:23
Hey, I am not a "his." Just a woman who is "in heaven" when she is hiking.

SundanceCO7
02-01-2017, 20:21
I found the AT in Shenandoah NP to be fairly easy, even with a full pack (age 61). The AT crosses Skyline Drive almost 30 times, plus there are a few times where the AT skirts the Drive at a trailhead. You might consider reserving one or more of the PATC Cabins in the park (PATC.net). < Apparently families do this, and the cabins are well equipped. I just completed a winter section hike there and stayed in 4 of the cabins, one each in the North and South Districts, and two in the Central District. It was all quite nice, just cold in December. I was alone most of the time and enjoyed the solitude very much. The feeling was different in the winter in 2016 than when I did a 25-mile trek with my young boys back in 2006. I found the winter views to be spectacular, the trees were bare, so I had nearly continuous views east and west.

It would be hard to exactly schedule your hike combined with cabin reservations if you go that route, but if you have car(s) you can shuttle yourselves around and make it all work. Shelters / Huts will likely be crowded in the summer, plus there are likely to be many summer day hikers out on the AT. There is also lodging available in the park during the summer. Godspeed!

stumblegasp
02-04-2017, 18:07
If this horse isn't dead yet (from a guy only in his mid-60's)...

It takes trial and error to find what works for you, be that shoes/boots, stoves, food, clothing. "Hike" your town daily with a weighted pack. If you can, go out on some one- or two-night trips, in all weather. That will test your gear, familiarize you with working it (e.g. setting up in a downpour), and help you get into shape. And it's fun.

I find that hiking poles help a lot with stability/safety, and can save energy. Borrow a pair to try out on a weekend backpack.
The advice of Ray Jardine (now in his 70's) made the uphills much better for me: don't rush. Go slow enough that your engine doesn't "go into the red." This can mean taking baby steps, but you'll be fresh at the top.

Shenandoah NP isn't flat, but the AT there is really well designed and maintained; no boulder-hopping required! The tentsites around the shelters (called "huts" in SNP) usually weren't great (tilted and rocky), but you'll pass some nice, established "stealth" sites. These need to be 1/4 mi. from paved road, picnic area, etc. It's a popular trail, so as others have noted earplugs are a must, and beware the holiday crowds.

My biggest problem in SNP was reading the muted trail signage! Those small, embossed galvanized strips had me digging out my glasses every time!
I had a great stay at the Mountain Home B&B, practically on the trail at US 522 (north of SNP). A good place to start or end. The owners are very helpful.
Have a great hike. Enjoy your time with family!

PGH1NC
08-12-2017, 19:45
A week ago we finished a 9-day thru hike of SNP starting at Rockfish Gap and ending at U. S.522.

I thought I might give a report of the trip experienced by a beginner "senior" hiker.

The hike was initiated by my two sons, one of which seemed to assigned to keep track of their old dad. I am fortunate to have two that would even suggest such a hike.

Training: After purchasing an Osprey 50 L AG pack I walked/hiked 180 total miles starting with flat area trails and gradually trekking on area parks with more of a single track hilly description. The training served me well. Some cycling added variety to the training. We averaged 10.5 miles per day; I must admit that my footsteps were getting pretty short near the end of the 13 mile days. Luckily, I failed to get a ride around Little hogback Mountain, that being possibly the easiest summit of the trip.

Gear:
Pack- Osprey 50L AG worked well. Usually easy to carry, everything I used including the tent and poles were placed inside the pack. Downside was taking extra time to pack in the mornings. The belt pockets were not too useful. The zippers on the lid or brain, if open, would dump contents if trying to get into the main compartment of the pack.

Tent- Fly Creek UL HV 2P. Worked well, even keeping me and my gear dry in an overnight rain.
For an old guy getting in and out would have been easier, I think, with a side-load tent like my companion's Nemo Hornets. But the B.A. fly Creek was $150 at a REI garage sale. The only rain was day one and a short shower the last night on the trail.

Sleeping pad was a Thermarest prolite. Working well, I didn't feel any of the small pebbles at the tent sites by the huts.


We hiked about 90 miles of the AT, yellow blazing a short section just before Loft Mt. campground. We used tent sites at Calf Mountain, Blackrock, Pass Mt. and Gravel Springs and at Loft Mt, Lewis Mt. and Big Meadows campgrounds. This was a nice combination of "back country" camping and the more "civilized" hot food and showers available at the established areas. Real beds, showers and food were a treat on my birthday (75) at Skyland. The shortening of the trip allowed companions to have a day to rest and check gear before going back to work.

We met several hikers some of which bragged about doing the "dirty thirty" (no showers or laundry for 30 days). Others included two recent high school grads doing a "walk about" before starting college at Virginia Tech and a mature couple finishing the first part of their thru and flopping to Maine to start the south-bound portion of their thru.

It was an awesome hike and a great experience.

George
08-13-2017, 01:03
Might wanna talk to this wolf guy from Damascus, hese like 97 I think?

no, that is how old his beard is - but he did not start growing it till he was like 10

Ethesis
08-13-2017, 12:03
no, that is how old his beard is - but he did not start growing it till he was like 10

Glad for both updates (how the section went and how old that beard is).

I am doing sections but want to through hike in 2019. I just need to hit 63 and retire.

Old Hillwalker
08-14-2017, 06:45
For many of us, 70 is the new 50. In less than a month I will be continuing my section hiking of the GR 11 in the Spanish Pyrenees. I will be sectioning the central part for about three weeks and then transitioning onto the Camino de Santiago GR 65) for my second thru-hike on the Camino. I'm planning for about 45 days to thru the Camino. I did it in just under 30 days three years ago, and missed a lot. The stats on the GR 11 are as follows: Total distance around 540 miles, total elevation change 128 thousand feet. I'll turn 78 on the Camino in November. Report with videos to follow....

Rex Clifton
08-14-2017, 07:54
For many of us, 70 is the new 50. In less than a month I will be continuing my section hiking of the GR 11 in the Spanish Pyrenees. I will be sectioning the central part for about three weeks and then transitioning onto the Camino de Santiago GR 65) for my second thru-hike on the Camino. I'm planning for about 45 days to thru the Camino. I did it in just under 30 days three years ago, and missed a lot. The stats on the GR 11 are as follows: Total distance around 540 miles, total elevation change 128 thousand feet. I'll turn 78 on the Camino in November. Report with videos to follow....

70 is the new 50 is BS! Know your limitations. If you try to keep up with the twenty somethings you are going to have a bad outcome, and probably break something you don't want broken. I hike only around 7-10 miles a day, with allot of lollygagging along the way. As they say in boxing, there's only one fighter who is undefeated and untied, Father Time!


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ChuckT
08-14-2017, 07:57
Amem

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PGH1NC
08-14-2017, 08:54
For many of us maturing (growing older) gracefully is a matter of planning, genetics and luck. There may be major exceptions like "Old Hillwalker" and the 80 y. o. thruhiker, but most of us plan to stay "in shape'' to some degree still while paying attention to our new limitations. I remember going up Katahdin at age 35, almost literally bounding from rock to rock. Again in my late 60s was more difficult but very doable.

I noticed the only times I had difficulty keeping up with my upper 40s companions was on the longer steeper ascents in SNP. With less overall strength and a lower maximum heart rate (that is why there are age groups in races and different max. heart rates listed on aerobic equipment) I shouldn't have expected to keep up with them in that situation. I noticed that if I stopped for perhaps 30 seconds, my legs got a fresh supply of O2 and I was ready to go again.

I was also very aware of limitations while on rocks, needing strength to raise myself or lower myself on those parts. I used a pair of trekking poles religiously, effectively hiking in "4-wheel drive" 2 legs, 2- poles. They kept me from falling multiple times.

I am fortunate to have a friend (slightly older) with whom I bike or hike about once a week. We are maybe 10-15 % slower than other bikers our age. We will even stop to get a drink or stretch. But we finish and have fun.

So I agree with "Rex" know your limitations, deal with them, get out and have fun.

Feral Bill
08-14-2017, 12:08
For many of us maturing (growing older) gracefully is a matter of planning, genetics and luck. There may be major exceptions like "Old Hillwalker" and the 80 y. o. thruhiker, but most of us plan to stay "in shape'' to some degree still while paying attention to our new limitations. I remember going up Katahdin at age 35, almost literally bounding from rock to rock. Again in my late 60s was more difficult but very doable.

I noticed the only times I had difficulty keeping up with my upper 40s companions was on the longer steeper ascents in SNP. With less overall strength and a lower maximum heart rate (that is why there are age groups in races and different max. heart rates listed on aerobic equipment) I shouldn't have expected to keep up with them in that situation. I noticed that if I stopped for perhaps 30 seconds, my legs got a fresh supply of O2 and I was ready to go again.

I was also very aware of limitations while on rocks, needing strength to raise myself or lower myself on those parts. I used a pair of trekking poles religiously, effectively hiking in "4-wheel drive" 2 legs, 2- poles. They kept me from falling multiple times.

I am fortunate to have a friend (slightly older) with whom I bike or hike about once a week. We are maybe 10-15 % slower than other bikers our age. We will even stop to get a drink or stretch. But we finish and have fun.

So I agree with "Rex" know your limitations, deal with them, get out and have fun. Yes indeed.

Old Hillwalker
08-14-2017, 12:44
[QUOTE=Rex Clifton;2164790]70 is the new 50 is BS! Know your limitations. If you try to keep up with the twenty somethings you are going to have a bad outcome, and probably break something you don't want broken. I hike only around 7-10 miles a day, with allot of lollygagging along the way. As they say in boxing, there's only one fighter who is undefeated and untied, Father Time!

Firstly I said "some of us" but I do fully agree with Rex and others about expectations and limits ? That is exactly what I do most of the time. For those who have hiked the White Mountains of NH, that is where I lived and been have been hiking since my boyhood. First mountaintop solo overnight in NH was in 1954. Haven't stopped since.....I will probably pass out of this mortal coil while hiking. On my overseas hiking trips I always carry a notarized card in the local language with final disposition instructions and carry the Austrian Alpine Club (AAC-UK) insurance which covers accidental death, injury and recovery/rescue. For non winter conditioning I hike from my house directly to and up a small bald mountain every other day. Round trip 7 miles and a around three hours total.

For those who like maps: House N44.54948 W70.32359 Mountain: N44.54226 W70.35808

Here is one of my favorite hikes at age 70 http://samohtw.blogspot.com/

SawnieRobertson
08-03-2018, 22:00
"Things" in my life are beginning to line up for me to be able to hike on the AT for 2019. My plans are quite modified from those of the past 2 decades. My hiking partners will be my car(s) and my service dog Polly. I was trying to figure out how to accomplish the car thing about 3 years ago, even using little mini cars to figure out how such a thing could be done smoothly when SLOW AND STEADY was published. Ahhh. It works. All that is needed is a second auto and a steady pace of 10 mpd. My reason for wanting the 2 autos and aiming at 10 mpd is my dog. We could be within less than 10 miles from any need she might develop. Also, we will be capable of moving up and down the trail to where it is "Cool Breeze" acceptable. That is the nebulous plan.

Elaikases
08-03-2018, 22:20
"Things" in my life are beginning to line up for me to be able to hike on the AT for 2019. My plans are quite modified from those of the past 2 decades. My hiking partners will be my car(s) and my service dog Polly. I was trying to figure out how to accomplish the car thing about 3 years ago, even using little mini cars to figure out how such a thing could be done smoothly when SLOW AND STEADY was published. Ahhh. It works. All that is needed is a second auto and a steady pace of 10 mpd. My reason for wanting the 2 autos and aiming at 10 mpd is my dog. We could be within less than 10 miles from any need she might develop. Also, we will be capable of moving up and down the trail to where it is "Cool Breeze" acceptable. That is the nebulous plan.

There are a lot of people who have leapfrogged with cars.

Drive north, hike south. Spend the night at the car. Drive north, hike south. 10 miles a day or so. Never need to carry more than one day's food and water. If you always camp at your car, you can always leave the tent/hammock there. Makes for a lighter pack.

Odd Man Out
08-04-2018, 00:54
On my last SNP hike I was nearing Big Meadows when I came across a group of about 6 elderly woman. I would guess they were about 70 years old +/-. They were all dressed in bright pastel colored hiking clothes, had very nice packs, shoes, etc... They really seemed to know what they were doing. They were by far the best looking group of hikers I've ever seen. They were cruising the opposite direction of me having a great time. I stopped to chat but only very briefly. I now regret not taking the time to learn a little more about them and get a picture. I want to be them when I grow up.

Elaikases
08-05-2018, 11:23
"Gear:
Pack- Osprey 50L AG worked well. Usually easy to carry, everything I used including the tent and poles were placed inside the pack. Downside was taking extra time to pack in the mornings. The belt pockets were not too useful. The zippers on the lid or brain, if open, would dump contents if trying to get into the main compartment of the pack.

Tent- Fly Creek UL HV 2P. Worked well, even keeping me and my gear dry in an overnight rain.
For an old guy getting in and out would have been easier, I think, with a side-load tent like my companion's Nemo Hornets. But the B.A. fly Creek was $150 at a REI garage sale. "

Nice review.

I've encountered a number of people who switched to the AG because it fit them better than other packs. I can respect that.

I've also seen people happy with Fly Creeks (it is a popular tent on the trail) and if you are the only user, front entry isn't as bad.

I've hiked the Big Meadows/Skyland route and have to confess that we used the showers, etc. Even did laundry.

I'm only in my sixties, but I really enjoy these reports.

futureatwalker
08-05-2018, 16:25
Just my 2 cents...

1) Walking. Do as much as you can in preparation.

2) Weights. If you don't have these, buy a cheap set from Walmart. We all lose muscle mass as we age (sorry; the truth). Resistance training is particularly beneficial in this regard, although of course take it super slow.

Have a great hike!

Corley
08-06-2018, 07:11
I volunteer at SNP and am glad to talk with you or your sons about your upcoming hike. I'm a bit younger, but some days I feel like I'm 100+ years old. One of the great things about backpacking in SNP is you don't have to carry much food or water. Resupply is available at the waysides and campgrounds as well as potable water. You can send me a priivate message or email puckettcorley@gmail.com.

PS - there are lots of bears in SNP so remember to bring a bear bag/rope or a bear cannister.

Longboysfan
08-09-2018, 13:50
get the best sleeping pad that you can!!! Over the last 60 years the ground has gotten harder and harder!!

Seriously, today's sleeping pads offer amazing comfort at a reasonable weight.

I second that.

I'm always finding the place where the ground is rock hard.

SawnieRobertson
08-19-2018, 11:54
I turn 70 this year and in 2010 I met a lady on Barren Mountain in the 100 mw who was 84. She was carrying a full pack. I wish that I had her address, contact number.