Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 30
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-20-2019
    Location
    KITTY HAWK, NC
    Age
    65
    Posts
    3

    Default Advise for "older" hikers

    Anyone here have done the AT over 65 years old? I suspect the challenges are somewhat different than the younger crowd. Could use some advise. Hoping/planning to do a Flip Flop in 2020.

  2. #2
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-25-2002
    Location
    Meriden, CT
    Posts
    1,356
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    2

    Default older hikers

    Quote Originally Posted by SierraHotel View Post
    Anyone here have done the AT over 65 years old? I suspect the challenges are somewhat different than the younger crowd. Could use some advise. Hoping/planning to do a Flip Flop in 2020.
    I thru hiked the AT at age 66 years old. It took me 201 days of hiking. It took me about 4 weeks to get into hiking shape. I had no real medical problems. My advise to you would be to find someone close to your age that has thru hiked and ask for advise. Do your home work as far as pre hiking prep. You don't have to be in great shape. Walking the trail will get you their.
    Grampie-N->2001

  3. #3
    illabelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-25-2012
    Location
    Lurkerville, East Tn
    Age
    59
    Posts
    3,291
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    It's said that thru-hikers fall generally into two categories: young people just out of high school or college, and old people just retired. There are plenty of senior hikers out there. You won't have any trouble finding others like yourself. And as far as fitness goes, a fit 65-year old can probably out-hike lots of folks in the 40s and 50s.

  4. #4
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-29-2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Age
    65
    Posts
    1,020

    Default

    In 2013, I saw a lot of hikers in that age range on my thru-hike. Some made it, some didn't. Just like all the other age groups. Be in decent shape, keep your packweight low, and don't hammer too many miles at the beginning. Enjoy your hike!
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
    Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t1M/edit#gid=0

  5. #5

    Default

    I hiked with a 70+ year old guy on the trail for a month or so. His biggest "mistake" was being attached to his "comfortable" old gear, which was about 15 pounds heavier than my average weighted gear. He picked up my pack one day to hand it to me, and nearly overbalanced. He later switched out pack/tent/bag for new gear and found that new lighter gear far more comfortable, his tent far easier to set up, and his sleeping bag packed into a much smaller space. He was a whole lot more stable and less top heavy on the trail as well.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,033

    Default

    On the PCT, there was an older hiker - at least in his 60s - who started the day after I did and caught up to me at Warner Springs where we talked at the community center and I saw him later a couple of times after that. I took a nero day in Idyllwild and that's the last I saw of him - I was hiking low 20 mpd and he was low to mid 20s. There are many older hikers out there and the fit ones are just as capable as the younger hikers - in some cases more so because they are less likely to indulge/party in towns. I don't know for sure if this guy finished but I suspect he probably did (which is more than I can say for my own hike which ended up a long section when I had to go home after the first third of the trail).

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2016
    Location
    Rochester Hills, Michigan
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Iím 74, Iím on my fourth year of the trail just got into Maine this year. I try to just stay in myself. Take care of yourself donít do too much at the start

  8. #8

    Default

    I just went SOBO for 10 days at the northern end of the PCT, and met hundreds of PCT thru hikers. Probably 300+. Often seeded about one/minute for miles. All the way from Mexico, over 2500 miles in, and over 6 months on the trail. Amazing.

    A significant number of these advanced, expert hikers were 70+ years old. Some of these were also the most friendly and sociable of the thru hikers, and I got to know them a little bit. So don't underestimate what you can do in your 70's. You can still, as my friend Pecos put it "put one foot in front of the other".

    At 63, I felt like a youngster amongst these fine hikers.

  9. #9
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-25-2016
    Location
    St. Petersburg, FL
    Age
    70
    Posts
    540

    Default

    I started doing LASH's beginning at Springer in 2016. While my intent was never to do a through hike (too many other things going on to spend the time), I do want to finish the trail in as few years as possible. My longest LASH was 715 miles. What I learned is being in shape means a whole other thing when hiking in mountains. I've lived in Florida most my life and there are no hills here. The point is train on mountains. You have an advantage living in NC, so hit the mountains as frequently as you can to train.

    The younger hikers will be faster than you for the most part, but that really depends on what kind of shape you're in. I was in Maine this year and met up with a 68 year old hiker who used to be a marathon runner. He kept up with all the younger hikers. Me, I'm slow and always get into camp last, but I get there. A lot of it is mental, so you have to be mentally prepared for what you are going to do. If you get bored easily or frustrated, you will probably not finish.

    I was hoping to finish this year in a 315 mile LASH through northern New Hampshire and Maine, but I pulled a ham string and couldn't lift my leg and that was that. Learn some ham string stretches. You will need them especially when you get on the north end of the trail.

    Maybe I'll see you in Maine next year.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  10. #10

    Default

    I'm 65. Starting out tomorrow from DWG to hike Nj & NY. Have 2 states completed so far. Plan, plan, plan.
    Get in shape and hike the pace you feel comfortable with. I checked with all the experienced hikers in my club and got a lot of encouragement

    Best Wishes

  11. #11
    Registered User gbolt's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-21-2014
    Location
    Dayton, Ohio
    Age
    59
    Posts
    643

    Default

    Mighty Blue on the AT just completed his second Thru Hike at age 67. His first was at age 63 in 2014. He has a Podcast and reported the entire trip from the trail this year. He drops a new show every Thursday. Other than some slack packing and a few more Hostel/hotel/town stays, he did well. Probably better the second trip than the first and also did it in fewer days. Check it out, it may help.
    "gbolt" on the Trail

    I am Third

    We are here to help one another along life's journey. Keep the Faith!

    YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCik...NPHW7vu3vhRBGA

  12. #12

    Default

    Having finished the trail at 73 after 14 years of section hiking, my advice to you would be not to fixate on comparing your hiking rate, fitness, etc. to hikers you meet, but just to enjoy and learn from their company. Know your abilities and live within them, taking risks only when necessary. Enjoy the solitude, watch for wildlife. Visit the nearby towns, walk around and chat.

    The closer I got to Katahdin, the more I focused on the experience.

  13. #13
    Garlic
    Join Date
    10-15-2008
    Location
    Golden CO or Scottsdale AZ
    Age
    62
    Posts
    5,380
    Images
    2

    Default

    Not there yet, but I recently advised a hiker my age on the AT. I realized that he, like many older hikers, had more financial resources than the youngsters. If that applies to you, it's a strength and you should use it. He used his money to stay better rested, fed and equipped. He could afford zero days to sit out inclement weather or heal minor injuries. He spent a lot of money, but he had a successful and memorable hike.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    10-11-2012
    Location
    Tallahassee, Fl
    Age
    68
    Posts
    149

    Default

    I am not sure how qualified I am to answer. I am not a thru hiker and have not done all that much backpacking compared to most here. I am 68 years old though and have done a fair amount of hiking, backpacking, bike touring, and other outdoorsy stuff. I have bicycle toured across the US a couple times camping and cooking, done other long tours, done some UL backpacking, and so on. My experience is that as I get older I find that I just need to get in shape a bit more before a trip or pay a bigger penalty unless I have the option of taking it really easy and easing into the trip. I also find that carefully planning my gear and restock points to keep my load light is very key. At my age I really do not like being a pack mule any more. Other than that I really don't feel all that limited. Of course I don't bounce back like a 20 something, but I can still do fine.

    Being retired does help by giving you a more open ended schedule on some trips. Being less strapped financially than when I was when young helps too. It is nice to know you can take a day off, get a room, or what ever. Even if you don't do it knowing you can is nice.

  15. #15
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-19-2017
    Location
    annapolis md
    Age
    68
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Reading whats been posted so far I think I'm not unique in that pretty much all of the common recommendations dont seem to apply. I'm thinking once you are well into senior territory the physiological differences are magnified between us. Those who tend to be athletic by nature loose less than those who are not for example(and even that varies a lot), compound that with the mental aspect- I'd imagine many dont want to embrace too much suck while others over compensate and performance is all over the map.

    My hiking has evolved from listening to expert advice and acting on it, to pretty much just doing what the trail dictates without concern. Net effect of ignoring conventional advice and hiking my own hike? Finding out I can do much more than I thought and still not suffer any ill effects. After 300 miles on the AT I have still not gotten sore, stiff or nor even the most minor injury despite a pack that runs well over 45lb(I'm 148lbs) when I carry extra water and even pulled a 20.2 mile day when the hiking was easy.

    And I do not believe in "training" unless you can do so on something very like the trail you will actually hike and do the same kind of distances. It takes me a week of hiking for trail legs to develop so any thing less is just going to take even longer in my opinion.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tiptoe View Post
    Having finished the trail at 73 after 14 years of section hiking, my advice to you would be not to fixate on comparing your hiking rate, fitness, etc. to hikers you meet, but just to enjoy and learn from their company. Know your abilities and live within them, taking risks only when necessary. Enjoy the solitude, watch for wildlife. Visit the nearby towns, walk around and chat.
    The closer I got to Katahdin, the more I focused on the experience.
    I would just like to note: I hiked with this woman when she was 75 and had just finished the AT. I watched her hike up Jug End SOBO carrying 2 packs while holding the hand of a six-year old in 90* heat without breaking a sweat or her stride (except to ocassionally lift said 6 year old over a boulder). I on the other hand, still a couple of years shy of 60 at the time, labored with every step and struggled to keep up. THIS can be the face of Senior Hiking. (hers, not mine )
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  17. #17
    Registered User SawnieRobertson's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-15-2002
    Location
    Sugar Grove, Virginia
    Age
    86
    Posts
    1,351
    Journal Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    I would just like to note: I hiked with this woman when she was 75 and had just finished the AT. I watched her hike up Jug End SOBO carrying 2 packs while holding the hand of a six-year old in 90* heat without breaking a sweat or her stride (except to ocassionally lift said 6 year old over a boulder). I on the other hand, still a couple of years shy of 60 at the time, labored with every step and struggled to keep up. THIS can be the face of Senior Hiking. (hers, not mine )
    Beautifully stated. Thank you from all of who find achieving "over the hill" to be exhilarating.
    You never know just what you can do until you realize you absolutely have to do it.
    --Salaun

  18. #18

    Default

    Teacher, you are too kind.

  19. #19
    GAME 06
    Join Date
    10-15-2004
    Location
    Prescott, Arizona
    Age
    65
    Posts
    695

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SierraHotel View Post
    Anyone here have done the AT over 65 years old? I suspect the challenges are somewhat different than the younger crowd. Could use some advise. Hoping/planning to do a Flip Flop in 2020.
    Hi Sierra

    As a somewhat older hiker with about 30,000 miles in I might be able to help you a bit.

    There are really only a couple (few) points that are different for us older folks than the kids scampering around. In no particular order....

    Conditioning: This issue is hugely important for us older folks and it gets more important every day we age. As I am sure you are already aware we just do not have the resiliency of younger bodies and we get injuries much easier. So pre-hike conditioning is critical. While someone young can start off out of shape and survive the aches and strains of getting in shape on trail (in reality a significant percentage of them actual fail at this poor approach), an older hiker starting out in poor condition has a high probability of hurting themselves bad enough their hike won't succeed and/or will be miserable for a long period of time.

    Start getting in condition NOW. Assuming you are starting from zero proceed this way (and if you have some conditioning jump in at whatever point you are at and proceed). Walk every day and build up to about 5 miles a day on as varied of terrain as you have access too. Take your time and don't get yourself too sore. Pick a candidate shoe for your hike and buy them and EASE into them during these walks until you can walk in them for your daily walk and also the rest of the day. Wear only those shoes as much as possible. If they just don't feel right or start to hurt your feet/knees/etc switch to another shoe. It is important to work this issue out asap (and if you need a more study shoe than a trail runner like many older folks do that is just fine). Start getting your gear selected now if you have not already. When you are up to about 5 mpd start doing a few miles with a partially loaded pack. As before build up both your miles without a pack and with a pack slowly but keep building. Don't hurt yourself. Over a period of months you will be amazed at where you end up. I see you live by the beach. Don't overdue walking in soft sand. If you can take time to zip inland and get some hills in that would be good obviously. Access to a building with lots of stairs is an option or even using a stair climber in the gym - ignore the people staring at you on the machine with a pack on. But you do need some hill climbing training if at all possible. The goal with this training for us older folks is to arrive at the terminus already conditioned to be able to hike a base daily on trail mileage with a pack which does not hurt us. For instance if you want to be able to do 10 mpd from Springer then show up having hiked for the previous 3 weeks 10-12 mpd every day with a full pack without soreness. Since you are not likely to have been able to condition for the hills of the actual AT because of where you live don't assume you will not have some issues. Trail walking induces lots of little stresses on your joints, tendons and ligaments due to the uneven terrain and ups and downs. The more of this you get in training the less chance of it hurting you when you start the thru hike. If you hurt a bit on your initial days out from Springer then adjust for that and you should be fine in a week or so. You will be able to build from there. The above is the basic system I use - though with my background I am shooting for much higher mpd numbers starting. But adapt the method for yourself.

    Pack weight: Obviously hiking will be easier with the lighter high end versions of shelter, sleeping gear, etc. It is also a lot more expensive. You have to figure out what you can afford and like to use. Think about how to carry a minimum amount of gear and have multiuse items. You do not need anywhere near as much gear as many people start out with. For us older hikers comfortable can sometimes be more important than super light - tents are the most common item to fall into this category. I have super light cuben fiber 1 person tents. I hate them as they are so confining, awkward to get in and out of and hard to set up. So I usually carry a small light two person ground sheet/rainfly setup . Take the time to work this gear weight issue to find your sweet spots. There is lots of info in other treads on ideas. Play around at home or on 2-3 day hikes with cooking/not cooking and try out all the various food options to see what you want to do along these lines. I started out long ago with stoves and cooking/heating stuff 2-3 times a day. Now it has been years since I carried a stove at all. I strongly recommend against preparing large amounts of food ahead of your hike for mailing - it gets to be a huge pain and there are almost endless options for resupply along the trail - but ymmv and do as you prefer.

    Hiking poles: imho opinion no older person should ever go without them. They will save you many falls and this dramatically reduces the chance of injury (you are going to fall down a bunch of times but with poles it will be a much smaller number). Us older folks break easier, no longer have the balance perfection of youth, can be somewhat uncoordinated when crossing streams on slippery rocks or on snow slopes, and are often awkward on ups and downs in the rocks - poles are so useful in these situations. They will definitely make an older hiker faster as well.

    Most of us older hikers have very different hiking rhythms than younger hikers. Meaning that most of us are up and hiking before or around when the sun comes up and we like quiet and being in the sack by about 9pm. When there are lots of hikers about this means that the youngsters often come crashing into the shelters and big campgrounds late and wake us up, and conversely we are getting up and crashing about hours before they want to wake up. No one likes this. My way of dealing with this is to avoid as much as possible camping at shelters or anywhere there are lots of other hikers. If you hike this way it is a big advantage as you get to hike in the cool of the morning (see way more animals) and you can just mosey along and eat up the trail without ever having to try and really motor along. It is not uncommon for me to walk into some camping area where the youngsters are just getting up and I already have 10 miles in for the day.

    Be adaptable and don't stress about mileage. The AT has such a long hiking season it is easy to do at very low daily average miles.

    Hope this helps you a bit.

  20. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-21-2010
    Location
    Seminole, Fl
    Age
    71
    Posts
    460
    Images
    26

    Default

    I started section hiking at age 62. Now at age 71 I find my most serious deficit is balance. Exercises for cardio, strength and flexibility are necessary but I find the ability to prevent a trip from becoming a fall has declined as my sense of balance has lessened. Ballroom dancing didn't seem to help much either
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •