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COWBOY
12-14-2003, 11:03
:jump I was wondering if there is a thread or furum for exchange of info for senior hikers? I am 69 and met several "mature hikers" both times I hiked on the AT. Would be interresred in thier preparation both phyical and tricks to fool an old body into thinking "hike" also ways they cut weight. I don't do high milage days. Thanks Cowboy

Doctari
12-14-2003, 16:27
First off, talk to your doctor. Granted, chances are He/She will tell you that you can't do it. Let the MD know, yes I will/can & ask for a complete physical so there are no surprises. Get a yearís supply of what ever meds you may need. 69 isnít that old, just slightly older than dirt (LOL). Only 20 more than me. A competent doctor will recommend a mild exercise program at the start. Walking is what you will be doing, lots & lots of walking, up & down BIG hills, carrying a substantial load. Do you have arthritis? Start on Glucosamine NOW. Heart trouble? This is where that talk with your MD comes in. Diabetes? MD again. (Yes you can hike with Diabetes, ďNeedlesĒ did a thru in 99 I think it was) Remember that we donít heal as well as when we were 30ish, and some strength training can help that.

As to a lighter load. Start off with a smallish pack, this will do two things, you will not be able to pack as much so will not. And, the pack itself will be lighter. Then look at all the posts on how to lighten your stuff here & at backpacker.com/
Some hints of my own: Alcohol stoves rule. Get a light tarp or tent; silnylon is the best protection per OZ (My personal tent preference is the Nomad), #1 Hint: be absolutely BRUTAL paring down what you need as opposed to what you want. Do you really need that 4 Lb pair of binoculars? If itís just you, do you really need a 3 person tent. And is a forstinule all that important? (I donít know what a forstinule is, but it sounded good) A 5 Lb first aid kit???.

Get the point? Keep this in mind: the more comfortable you want to be in camp the more uncomfortable you will be on the trail. And: The more comfortable you want to be on the trail the less comfortable you will be in camp. That last is not necessarily so, I had less camp stuff on my last trip, but was less tired at the end of the day so was more comfortable in camp.

Doctari.

bunbun
12-14-2003, 17:00
:jump I was wondering if there is a thread or furum for exchange of info for senior hikers? I am 69 and met several "mature hikers" both times I hiked on the AT. Would be interresred in thier preparation both phyical and tricks to fool an old body into thinking "hike" also ways they cut weight. I don't do high milage days. Thanks Cowboy

Cowboy -
Curiosity - any relationship to the Cowboy Cafe in Dubois, WY? We didn't find out the owner of that fine establishment had hiked the AT with his son until we were 30 miles out of town and headed south on the CDT. That was a little late - but we'll be back there again in '06.

Hmm - almost forrgot - I'm 64. To answeryour questions -
1. My long distance pack weight is 18# or less, some people go even lighter.
2. keep on hiking (every week if possible)
3. decide what you want to do (and when), adopt the mindset to do it, and then "just do it." My mindset about thruhiking is that only death or dismemberment can stop me from finishing. That's not a suitable attitude for everyone.

Anything specific I can help you with, just let me know.

Kerosene
12-14-2003, 18:33
One of my favorite aphorisms, attributed to George Bernard Shaw:

You don't stop playing because you get old,
you get old because you stop playing!

I take it to heart every time I get on a soccer field playing against 18-year olds!

Jaybird
12-14-2003, 18:39
Cowboy:

why not ask senior hikers?
there are plenty out there...
my friend, "Model-T" would be glad to talk with you or give you some advice...
he is 67 & has thru-hiked 3 times (1990, '94 & 98) & has written a book about his experiences called: "Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery".
Its a funny look about hiking the A.T. (and an accurate one!)

his website is: www.ModelT.homestead.com
(which also has his mailing address & phone number there)

I agree with the above posts...think...LITEWEIGHT....
think minimal.....try several 3 or 4 day hikes...or even week-long hikes...before you become that thru-hiker....


good luck!
Jaybird

Doctari
12-14-2003, 21:37
AAAAKKK, I ment to say "6 months med supply'" not 1 year. Sorry. And after some thought, a perscrition that lasts that long will be sufficiant ;)



Doctari.

bailcor
12-14-2003, 23:12
I am 65 Cowboy and I really think it comes down to what kind of a 69 you are? I know people in their 40's that have hips and other joints replaced and have had heart attacks at very early ages.

I have said before that a 20 year old can stay in shape by rolling over in bed. It's a bit different when you get older. I am by sheer luck of a good gene pool a good 65 year old.

I walk and run 30 - 40 miles a week. I also have a weight program of 4 - 5 workouts a week lasting 45 minutes to an hour. A moderate, cumulative lift for me is 30 - 35 tons. A high workout takes me to 50 - 60 tons. I began and end the day with 200 stomach crunches.

I recently hiked from the AT train station in NY to Great Barrington, MA.. About 75 miles. I averaged 15 miles a day with a 28 pound (food & water included)pack on my back. I never experienced the slightest pain, ache, or discomfort during the 5 days.

So it depends Cowboy as to what type of a 69 you are?

If you are not on a workout regimen, start one. A young person can let the trail get him into shape. An older person should not chance it and should be able to enjoy the adventure without being worried about their back, knees, or heart giving out.

The only way to go is light concerning your pack weight. My Winter pack weights 14 pounds without food and water. You litterly must make everything in your pack, earn it's way in there. Just remember the First Aid Kit is about the only thing that you don't use every day.

Another thing Cowboy most of us older guys have those slightly enlarged prostates. So take a pee bottle with you when you go. I put mine in the webbing of my pack and mark it with a big X. Make sure that you deposit it well away from any water or shelter.

Hope to see you out there Cowboy

smokymtnsteve
12-15-2003, 10:05
good job bailcor :D :banana :jump

Grampie
12-27-2003, 10:36
Hi Cowboy,
I guess I'm a senior hiker. I did a thru when I was 66 years old. I would recommend a couple of things. First, start taking glucosemine. Don't wait until you start having knee problems. Than it may be too late. start doing short days. Six to eight miles. Take a "0" every five or six days. At least for the first couple of months. Eat well. I found it to be usefull to eat something every two hours.
I don't think pack weight means all that much. I started out with aqbout 45 lbs. Including food for five days, water and winter stuff. Finished with about 35 lbs.
Make sure that you have enough time. It will probably take you longer than the younger folks. It took me 201 days. Being older it takes a little longer to get into "trail shape". It took me about 300 mi. I averaged 11.6 miles per day for the hike. The last six weeks I was doing 14 to 18 mile days. You have to start slow and build up your daily miles. Too many older hikers try to stay up with the young folks. Hike your own hike.
Life is good. Get out and hike. Age doesn't matter.

COWBOY
12-27-2003, 11:17
Thanks all , I did make the mistake of trying to keep up with my son on my first two attemps. This time I'm going alone and have no time limits. I'm just stuborn and have to try again ,my kids do not approve so I'l' go it without their blessings. They are a little old fashion about what a Grandmother should be doing. Taking care of grandkids and knitting being top of the list.

Brushy Sage
12-28-2003, 21:52
Cowboy, I want to add my observations. I hiked 600 plus miles in 2002 at age 72/73. The hostel at Neel's Gap gave me a party, as I arrived there on my birthday. I trained for a year, had some medical work done, put all my furniture in storage, and had no address other than wherever I was on the AT. As I came north breathing the pollens that emerged with springtime, I developed bronchitis, and had to go on antibiotics. I never did recover my strength, and at Pearisburg, VA, I decided to leave the AT rather than winding up in the hospital. My sons and I meet annually, now, and hike some sections of the AT. And I am active with the Carolina Mtn Club, doing trail construction and maintenance. Good luck!

Brushy Sage

Chappy
12-29-2003, 00:58
Cowboy, I want to add my observations. I hiked 600 plus miles in 2002 at age 72/73. The hostel at Neel's Gap gave me a party, as I arrived there on my birthday. I trained for a year, had some medical work done, put all my furniture in storage, and had no address other than wherever I was on the AT. As I came north breathing the pollens that emerged with springtime, I developed bronchitis, and had to go on antibiotics. I never did recover my strength, and at Pearisburg, VA, I decided to leave the AT rather than winding up in the hospital. My sons and I meet annually, now, and hike some sections of the AT. And I am active with the Carolina Mtn Club, doing trail construction and maintenance. Good luck!

Brushy Sage

My friend...you are an inspiration, especially so with your volunteerism! The spirit can keep the flesh moving, even when it's weak.

weary
12-29-2003, 12:08
I celebrated my 64th birthday, three weeks into my walk from Springer to Katahdin in 1993, two years after retiring from a largely sedentary job. Last April I retired as Overseer of the first 60 miles of the "100-mile-Wilderness" in Maine. I continue to maintain my 3 miles of AT and side trails on Whitecap, and edit the MATC newsletter, and the Maine Chapter AMC, newsletter.

18 months ago I had a heart valve replaced with a piece of pig skin and was given some medicine that turned parts of my lungs into scar tissue. But I still think I could probably do a successful thru hike, if I could only get someone to do my newsletters and run my land trust. (We sign papers tomorrow for the purchase of another 68 acres on the shore of a wild pond, a project I've been working on since 1973.)

I've never jogged or exercised for exercise sake. Nor did I train for the trail in '93. But I do walk a lot and live an active life. As soon as an important phone call comes in, I need to take advantage of the sunny day and saw up another cord of fire wood.

It's my contention that the AT is more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. But everyone, regardless of age, needs to recognize that the human body from time to time breaks down. In '93 a strange nerve disorder forced me to take 10 days off and the approach of winter forced me to bypass much of southern New England in order to reach Katahdin.

I suddenly found I could walk, but neither sit, nor sleep. Scratching a mosquito bite became agony. My doctors diagnosed a sciatica nerve problem. DelDoc once suggested a different nerve system. Regardless, the condition disappeared after 10 days, never so far to return. I resumed hiking in New Hampshire for the final 300 miles to Katahdin.

Weary