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  1. #41

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    This is true, have the book, read it twice and loved it both times....

    She really had a hard time but she never let it ruin her spirit....she was tough...keeping up with that young marine as long as she did.

    In all seriousness, it is an inspiring book.



    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat View Post
    Another great book is "In Beauty May She Walk," by Leslie Mass. She hiked the trail at the age of 59.

    http://www.amazon.com/Beauty-May-She...y+may+she+walk
    Life is not about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

  2. #42

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    Hoorah! Retired here as well.....please tell your husband thank you for his service.

    I love your attitude on here, it is refreshing. But more than anything, your signature quote totally rocks!



    Quote Originally Posted by Lnj View Post
    I am 43 and my husband is retired Army. He has had roadmarch experience, which he deems even harder than backpacking, with all the new gear options and stuff. I had never so much as slept in a tent in my life until about 2 years ago, but once I was out in the woods, I was addicted. Now I spend every weekend I can on a trail somewhere "in training". My husband and I will be section hiking, as we cannot take enough time off to do a full thru. We plan to start the GA section SOBO at the end of May. The more I study, the more I am sure we will not make it to Amicalola in the 9 days we are giving ourselves, but no matter. We will go slow and do what we can do each day and get as far as we can get, but most importantly, we will be out there doing it and having a blast! Can't wait.

    I have found that the age range of AT hikers seems to be the high school/college/first time real job age of early to mid 20s and then retirement age. Not too terribly many people out there that are in the life building/family starting/mortgage and career responsibilities age range at all. So it seems if you missed the early shift (like I did), then you are just in time for the late shift.

    Do your homework, be careful and have fun. Nothing will make you feel like the rock star you are more than when you make your fears shut up and sit down.
    Life is not about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.

  3. #43
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    01-12-2015
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    tallahassee fl
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    I took my sister on her first backpacking trip last fall . I'm 62 she is 63. We did 30 mi. Standing Indian loop, including a very stout climb up Albert mt. She did great and has started buying gear. Go for it.

  4. #44
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    05-17-2014
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    Saint Rose, LA
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    I didn't start until I was 58!

  5. #45

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    i started at 58, walked for 80miles before i had to leave over what turned out to be a minor back injury. i had some foot pain, but im ready to go back. be on the trail God willing on June 1st.

  6. #46
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    Spring Lake, MI
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    I started hiking 10 years ago when I randomly won a backpack!

    The following weekend, I went out with my husband and kids. I haven't looked back since!

    In fact, I put on way more miles than any of the kids or the hubby!

  7. #47
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    05-15-2013
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    Silicon Valley, CA or Tahoe or SEKI
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    I went on my first backpacking trip about the time that Bill Bryson's book came out about 1998. My sister and I both read it and she declared that we had to go for a walk in the woods. I was 40 and she was 39.

    I got two external backpacks for $5 (for BOTH!) from Thrift Town. And we squashed car camping sleeping bags in there and stuff we might need for overnight.
    We went out for one night in Big Basin. I loved it. My sister... not so much. Unfortunately, neither did my husband, nor my son.

    Over the next 14 years, I managed to force my husband and son on a few overnight trips to Angel Island (in the middle of San Francisco Bay) or Yosemite or Pt. Reyes.
    I really wanted to go out more, but it never really occurred to me that I could go by myself. I had always had thought of backpacking as something you did with other people.

    In 2011, I was hiking Mission Peak (elevation gain 2000 ft in 3 miles) here in town and was taking a break on the most difficult of the 3 trails. This tiny, elderly, Japanese woman, wearing a "trail volunteer" vest, comes trotting up and sits down next to me. We are talking and she tells me that she is 79 and just finished the JMT starting at Onion Valley and ending in Yosemite.

    Our conversation went like:
    Sako: I just finished the JMT. My husband picked me up in Yosemite.
    Me/Denise: He didn't go with you on the trip?
    S: Oh no. He is too old and frail!
    D: You went alone!?!?!
    S: Well yes, I did. (But she said it with a tone like, "It's just walking. It is no big deal.")
    D: Wow. My husband would never go for that.
    S: Why? Because you are so young and pretty? (She actually said that... I was 53 and stinky sweaty, gross... and I look like I've been out for 3 weeks, even on day hikes.)
    D: Ummmmm... okay... Let's say that is the reason. Sure. We'll go with that.

    So, the next summer, I decide I'm going out, while I'm still "young and pretty" since I will only be getting older with every passing year. I went on a solo 9 night 90 mile trip on the Tahoe Rim Trail and had a blast. I took the same external frame backpack I had gotten for $2.50. (It is on the ground, next to me... in my photo.)

    My husband wanted me to go on the TRT Thru Hike (which is now $1700, but was "only" $1200 back in 2012). https://www.tahoerimtrail.org/index....ams/thru-hikes I had been on a TRT Women's over night trip and I knew that I did not want to be confined to a group for two weeks. And I also thought it was really dumb to pay over $1,000 to have people walk with me.

    He offered my son $1,000 to go with me... but my son didn't want to go backpacking for 10 days, not for love nor money. He wanted me to find strangers on the internet to go with me. I didn't know about WhiteBlaze, plus.... Really? You want me to find weirdos on the internet to sleep with me in the forest for 10 days? Seriously? Since I didn't know where to find backpacking internet weirdos, I went by myself.

    The only bad part was that my SPOT worked on the Mt. Rose Hwy... and never worked again. My husband was texting me like crazy, saying, "Please stop! Please come home!". I wore out my phone battery texting back, "No. I'm fine!" (I had TONS of phone reception on the East side of the lake. You can see Reno and Carson from much of the trail.) When I had no more phone battery, I gave day hikers my husband's phone number and asked them to call and say that they had seen me and I was fine. And this method actually worked really well.

    Only other bad thing was that I had so many blisters. It was horrible. But, I figured it out.

    But anyway, I called my husband from South Lake Tahoe and said, "You have to stop texting me and telling me stop. I'm having soooo much fun!!!" But he had a hard time understanding me since I was sobbing and hiccuping and snotting.

    In the end, my sister thought I was bad-ass and she gave backpacking a second try at the age of 54. And she loves it. We both go out about 30 days a year, now. Sometimes together, and sometimes solo.

    Oh... I was also mistaken for a homeless person. By a homeless person. Guy offered to let me sleep under a big rig with him in South Lake Tahoe (Ewww!). And after that, my husband bought me a new backpack.

    He is still freaked that I go out alone, but not freaked enough to go with me. And I keep returning back home, so he is getting used to it.
    Last edited by DLP; 06-09-2016 at 12:13.

  8. #48
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    DLP... such an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing. My husband will never let me go alone, not even on a day hike. He is concerned that I will fall (which in truth, has happened a few times lately to no real detriment to my body) or get really injured and no one will be there to help me. Thing is, he goes with me, but honestly hates it. I mean sometimes he enjoys a good day hike, but the overnights he tolerates for my sake. I have tried and tried to convince him, to no avail yet. I will keep trying. I think I would enjoy it SOOO much more if I was all by myself. I just like to look around and appreciate everything my eyes can take in....this sometimes leads to falling down and scraping a knee, but anywho...He likes to push through the pain and keep moving... it's the Army coming out in him. He is on a mission and I am on a walkabout. It means we usually fuss the whole time. not really fighting or arguing, but him constantly saying we need to go and looking at his watch and getting that look on his face and me constantly saying I have to stop and catch my breath and I'm not in any hurry. It truly takes a lot of the joy out of it for me. The only scary part of it for me would be the nights. However... ear plugs or an ipod with earbuds is the answer to that! Just can't hear all the wildlife scurrying around me and fall asleep.

    Thanks for your post.
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lnj View Post
    My husband will never let me go alone, not even on a day hike. He is concerned that I will fall (which in truth, has happened a few times lately to no real detriment to my body) or get really injured and no one will be there to help me.
    I've also fallen. I think that it is a fairly universal experience. I actually fall much less when I'm alone, as I am super careful. I fall and get lost more with other people as we end up distracting each other.

    I've also learned that I am not good at multitasking and I don't eat or adjust my backpack or often really don't look around while walking. My worst fall was in Yosemite and came around a corner to a breathtaking view and exactly at that moment a tree root reached up and grabbed my foot and threw me to the ground. Now I sing this song to myself about watching for rocks, roots, etc and don't fa-fa-fa-fa-fall. This works really well.

    Maybe a meet up group would work for you? I recommended it to another woman on this site, and it worked really well for her. (Disclaimer... I have no personal experience...). We have local Women's backpacking and hiking meetup groups http://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Backpacking-Women/ , but I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area with 9+ million people. My sister has also gone on several snowshoe trips via meetup. I went on a couple of trips sponsored by the TRT and really enjoyed it. They were super relaxing trips as groups of beginning backpackers often move at a slower pace (in part, cuz they bring Costco bags of trail mix and whole rolls of TP on over night trips. )

    Worst case... keep dragging your husband along.
    Last edited by DLP; 06-10-2016 at 15:06.

  10. #50
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    DLP-Thank you for posting your story. I'm about to venture out on my first solo hike on the AT. I have gone with my hiking partner and friend for overnight trips on the AT for the last 3 years, but she can't do it this time. I am actually looking forward to hiking my own hike. I have only told a few people that I am hiking solo as when I mention it to well-intentioned friends they beg me not to do it! Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for posting your story.

  11. #51
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    You are welcome! Glad it was helpful. Actually, the person who is the inspiration is the tiny, Japanese lady who sat next to me!

    Have a great trip!
    Last edited by DLP; 06-11-2016 at 12:55.

  12. #52
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    Paoli,Indiana
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    hiked a lot when younger getting back into it now that kids are out LOL I'm 46 and loving it ..I have a husband that worries too and he does go with me some times but mostly it is me and my dog Lou I want to do a overnight / week before the summer is over
    Still round the corner there may wait , A new road or a secret gate

  13. #53
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    hiked a lot when younger getting back into it now that kids are out LOL I'm 45 this yr and loving it ..I have a husband that worries too and he does go with me some times but mostly it is me and my dog Lou I want to do a overnight / week before the summer is over
    Still round the corner there may wait , A new road or a secret gate

  14. #54
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    I had day hiked and camped my entire life. At 46, my sister and I while on a Maine vacation, said to our husbands, "We should hike on the Appalachian Trail". Their response? "That'll never happen". Well, we have completed two sections. At 47, I did 23 miles into Harper's Ferry. This year at 48, we started at Harper's and did 45 miles into Pennsylvania. Both times, we said that we wished we had done more. Next year, our goal is to complete Shenandoah...107 miles. I wish we had started much sooner in life! It's very addicting!

  15. #55

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    Started at age 42 now 62...still going.

  16. #56
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    Default First Nepal and next AT

    Quote Originally Posted by kimbur96 View Post
    Hello Ladies, I am 48 and just went through a bunch of major life changes in the last year. But to sum it up in s sentence I am now single and what to start trying some new things. I have car camped, and done day hikes but never any backpacking or overnight hikes, but I want to start. I do a lot of trail running here in Florida and had the chance to do a multi day run through the Colorado Rockies last August. I LOVED it out there. The mountains, the meadows, the being alone in nature it was my happy spot. So I want to start doing some multi day hikes. Looking forward to hearing your experiences and sage advice.
    I am an avid runner, but didn't appreciate the sublime joys of the hiking trail until about eight years ago on a 14-day trek in the Himalayas. I did a few shorter hikes in the following years around Europe. I'm now 58 and setting my sights on the AT -- planning to leave Nobo March 2020. I'll be 60. Can't wait to meet some other "older" (only in the chronological sense) women as we make our way north. I really enjoy the solidarity and sisterhood of my previous hikes. Sure the AT will be even better.

  17. #57
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    Hi Blissful,
    I decided to take up backpacking in order to celebrate my 50th birth year by section hiking the AT. I have lots of questions if you would be willing to answer.
    1) what are absolute must haves in your backpack while hiking the AT? I know it can be very wet. I have rain pants and jacket, but should I consider a poncho? I am also curious about the amount of clothes and kinds. I saw a video about the 13 essentials, but it was really geared towards men and I am not sure if there is any difference with women.
    2) suggestions for 4 day and 7 day hike amounts of food. Again, I have seen advice for men, but do you have any suggestions for women who may have a different caloric requirement.
    3) Besides actual hiking and backpacking, do you have any suggestions for strength and endurance training prior to a trip?
    4) How much does the weather ie rain.. effect one's ability to get mileage in? I am trying to do an average of 10 miles a day.. some days a little less, some days a little more.. the most is 13.
    5) Are there any concerns I should have, as a woman, on the trail? I have already started taking estrogen (ie birth control) to stop my menstrual cycle just for this year.. I can't imagine having my period on the trail.. uggh. I have mace and a knife which I think is sufficient for self defense.
    Thanks for any advice you can give me!!

  18. #58
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    Iím 54 and plan to section hike this spring for about 4-6 weeks. This will be my first time for anything like this, so excited.

  19. #59

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    I'm 59 and planning my first thru-hike for March. It's scary and exciting at the same time.

  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldielocs View Post
    Hi Blissful,
    I decided to take up backpacking in order to celebrate my 50th birth year by section hiking the AT. I have lots of questions if you would be willing to answer.
    1) what are absolute must haves in your backpack while hiking the AT? I know it can be very wet. I have rain pants and jacket, but should I consider a poncho? I am also curious about the amount of clothes and kinds. I saw a video about the 13 essentials, but it was really geared towards men and I am not sure if there is any difference with women.
    2) suggestions for 4 day and 7 day hike amounts of food. Again, I have seen advice for men, but do you have any suggestions for women who may have a different caloric requirement.
    3) Besides actual hiking and backpacking, do you have any suggestions for strength and endurance training prior to a trip?
    4) How much does the weather ie rain.. effect one's ability to get mileage in? I am trying to do an average of 10 miles a day.. some days a little less, some days a little more.. the most is 13.
    5) Are there any concerns I should have, as a woman, on the trail? I have already started taking estrogen (ie birth control) to stop my menstrual cycle just for this year.. I can't imagine having my period on the trail.. uggh. I have mace and a knife which I think is sufficient for self defense.
    Thanks for any advice you can give me!!
    Long post alert!!!

    I can answer many of your questions and it looks like no one has addressed them directly so far.

    -Side note: I do hike with my bf (we have hiked together for 20 years now) so the links to my gear list reflect that we share some gear

    1. The most important things you can have in your pack are the LIGHTEST gear that fits in your budget and can keep you safe. There are some aspects of going UL that cost more but there are also plenty of options to save too. When purchasing your gear you should expect to spend more money on your quilt/sleeping bag, shelter and backpack (aka the big 3). Those three items are the basis of your safety and trail comfort.

    Gear that goes out with you will depend upon the section itself, the time of year and expected weather. I will include a few gear list links that you can use for starters. With all that said donít let gear bog you down or keep you from going out. As you get more accustomed to Trail life you will find things that work better or stuff you want to trade out. I love thinking about gear..Iím an admitted gram weenie BUT I also know that the lighter the pack in itself is a form of safety, especially on tough climbs, slippery rocks and long mile days.

    Here is a link to a post from my Long Trail thru from this year. There are links to our gear lists there.

    2017 SOBO Long Trail Trip Report (Sept 12-Oct 4)
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha...7&share_type=t

    Here is a good 13 lb base weight gear list that you can find at any good outfitter:

    https://www.geargrams.com/list?id=43697

    You can use these as a reference for what items you need for a section hike. Also while this list is lightweight, it can easily become UL by making a few of your gear purchases from cottage vendors to get lighter.

    Another important point for gear is none of it matters if you donít know how to use it. So practice practice practice...in your back yard, on an overnight trip, multiple night trips...get to know your gear. Sleep in your back yard in 20 degree weather or set up your shelter in the rain and then sleep there. It is the best way to figure out in a safe environment what works and what doesnít.

    2. Food and calories...itís a broad topic that I can only really comment from my own perspective but I have spent a long time dialing in food amounts and choices. Much will depend on how you intend on getting food during your section hike. I have been making and dehydrating our hike meals since our AT thru hike in 2001. I love everything about preparing our meals. I wrote a lengthy post about some resources I have used here:

    Just about at 20lbs!
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha...0&share_type=t

    There is also info in there about making food choices in town. Donít sweat the calories and eat more healthful items than junk both on trail and in town. You are likely to always be in a deficit but that is what town is for!

    When I thru hiked the AT I was 25 and at that age I could eat both on trail and in town all the bad stuff and still be ok. We had our dehydrated dinners but Iím talking about everything else...yes pop tarts Iím looking right at you. As I continued hiking AND getting older I hit a point where quality was WAY more important than quantity. About 10 years ago I realized hat food did nothing for me on Trail. I was eating and hitting a wall. I went to a good mix of healthy and calories and now I can hike longer and stronger because my body gets what it needs on trail. Now our food is so dialed in I know that I need to carry 1.25 to 1.35 lbs per day of the right food and I will not be hungry (relatively...I mean it is hiking) and I will not carry too much food either.

    3. Pre hike fitness - I would recommend walking. Get to where you can easily walk 5 miles a day several days a week. Cross train too, so make sure you are doing strengthening exercises. Focus on glutes, core, ankle and of course the other big leg muscles. Balance is important too. Of course yoga can help here, but spend time on exercises that work on the stability for ankles and the lower leg. There are a lot of ankle biter type rocks and roots on the AT.

    4. Weather and rain...they will happen. You will get wet. You will get soaked all the way to your underwear. Itís not all bad though...itís a free shower! Rain can be hard to deal with Iím not going to lie. If itís hot then less of a problem but cold and rain is something you have to be mentally and physically prepared for. This goes back to knowing your gear and understanding what circumstances to use that gear. It can affect your miles per day. I my experience rain has caused me to do 5 miles and it has also made me choose to do over 30 miles. Always listen to your body...hypothermia can happen at much higher temps than people expect. But mostly if it is raining I just do the miles I have planned for that day except Iím just wet while doing them. Donít let it worry you too much.

    5. Being a woman on trail. As I stated before I do have a hiking partner so I canít full comment on solo experience as a woman but donít let it bog you down too much. I have met SO MANY solo hikers who happen to be women. Especially on the AT there is a community and people look out for one another. You will meet people out there of all types. There may be some that creep you out but that is SUCH the exception on trail. Be vigilant not fearful. You will love your time on the trail and the people you meet can potentially be one of the best parts about hiking the AT.

    Periods on trail...they can be a hassle but itís ok. Itís not that big of a deal. If you are in birth control that suppresses your periods (Yasmin continuously for example = 4 periods a year) thatís great. You will be glad not to deal with it, but if not donít worry. There is a lot of good info on this very forum (lady specific forum) about all the ways to handle your period on trail.

    I hope this helps...I know it is long. If you want more specific advice about a topic post a new thread an you will get answers from all the sides you can imagine.

    Above all...just do it! Go hike your dream trail.

    MtnGoat


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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