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  1. #1
    Registered User greenlm2's Avatar
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    Default Help me get my Dad hiking!

    I've been bumping around the forum for a while, working on planning a SOBO through hike that my sister and I plan to undertake this coming summer (thanks for all the great info!). I've noticed many of you are 'later in life' hikers (is that a good way to put that?), and I'm hoping for your assistance! The entire reason that my sister and I have always dreamed of a through-hike is because ever since we were children, our father has filled out heads with lore of the backpacking he did on the AT in the 70s, and it always seemed to be a regret of his that he never go the chance to do a through hike. Now that my sister and I are planning our own hike, we can't convince him to join us. Though he has shown some interest, he always comes up with plenty of reasons not to commit, always arguing that he is just too old! I hope some of you could provide some convincing stories from your own experiences that I can use as proof that he can and should join us this summer!

    I know he will have a great time if he just gets on the trail (not to mention that he can quit at any time if its not going well), so thanks for any advice that you can provide!

  2. #2
    Registered User Egads's Avatar
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    It's a section hike - one step at a time


    BTW, how old is your dad?
    The trail was here before we arrived, and it will still be here when we are gone...enjoy it now, and preserve it for others that come after us

  3. #3
    Registered User greenlm2's Avatar
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    whoops, forgot that part. Early 60s.

  4. #4

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    If you pay me for gas, I'll throw him in the trunk of the car and dump him out at Amicalola.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  5. #5

    Default

    Geez. I gotta read the posts better!

    Ok, I'll dump him out at Baxter, then

    Maybe you could drop him off in Monson. There are some great people there, and by the time you finish the "Hundred Mile Wilderness", they may have cajoled him into joining you at that point. Just say you need his support after that "tough" hundred miles.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  6. #6
    Registered User fancyfeet's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Suggestions

    I would suggest it to your dad as an open-ended hike. Say, ask him to start the hike with you two and come along for as long as he likes. That way, he doesn't have the pressure of the whole hike holding him back. Either he can get off if it is too much or he can keep going if he is doing well. Leave the end point up to him and he might take the bait!

    Also, I find showing pictures of the trail to be a good enticement. Include some pics of older hikers and he may just decide it's worth a try. Check out the gallery here for some great options.
    If you're in a hurry, why are you walking?

  7. #7
    Registered User Slosteppin's Avatar
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    How can someone ONLY in his 60s be too old? I'm only 70 and I've been backpacking at least 8 times this year. Mostly I go solo. I wish I could get one or more of our sons to to go with me. I plan to keep going backpacking until I can't get out of bed in the morning.

    My mother is 92 and it is hard to catch her at home. My sister bought mom an answering machine to prove that we all did call home sometimes.

    Has your dad seen some of the modern light weight gear available? Backpacking is much easier now than when I started in the early 70's.

    Slosteppin

  8. #8
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Your dad really needs to have his own vision to hike it with you. If he doesn't want to commit, then let him do what he wants. He may feel this is your chance, after all, but certainly you can encourage him to be a part by having him join in on short sections, by helping with support, drops, etc. Whatever he wants to do, just support it. Don't pressure him.







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  9. #9
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlm2 View Post
    I've been bumping around the forum for a while, working on planning a SOBO through hike that my sister and I plan to undertake this coming summer (thanks for all the great info!). I've noticed many of you are 'later in life' hikers (is that a good way to put that?), and I'm hoping for your assistance! The entire reason that my sister and I have always dreamed of a through-hike is because ever since we were children, our father has filled out heads with lore of the backpacking he did on the AT in the 70s, and it always seemed to be a regret of his that he never go the chance to do a through hike. Now that my sister and I are planning our own hike, we can't convince him to join us. Though he has shown some interest, he always comes up with plenty of reasons not to commit, always arguing that he is just too old! I hope some of you could provide some convincing stories from your own experiences that I can use as proof that he can and should join us this summer!

    I know he will have a great time if he just gets on the trail (not to mention that he can quit at any time if its not going well), so thanks for any advice that you can provide!
    I have guys in my hiking club that are in their 50s-80s and they are like mountain goats.

    Probably a good way to get him hiking is to do a support hike on your thru. Have him meet you in the area, and hike a section with you. Even drag him to the Roan Highlands, Big Bald Mtn, or Max Patch for a small day hike before your thru.

    Or if all else fells, kidnap him and take him on top of a mountain and say, "You are hiking out."
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Slosteppin View Post
    How can someone ONLY in his 60s be too old? I'm only 70 and I've been backpacking at least 8 times this year. Mostly I go solo. I wish I could get one or more of our sons to to go with me. I plan to keep going backpacking until I can't get out of bed in the morning.

    My mother is 92 and it is hard to catch her at home. My sister bought mom an answering machine to prove that we all did call home sometimes.

    Has your dad seen some of the modern light weight gear available? Backpacking is much easier now than when I started in the early 70's.

    Slosteppin
    freakin' A man...keep up the good work!

  11. #11

    Default Grandma Gatewood

    Along with all of this other great advice, tell your dad that Emma (Grandma) Gatewood, was 68 when she made her first thur-hike and she carried all of her things in a bag slung over her shoulder.
    She did two complete Thru-Hikes one in 1955 and one in 1957.

    This might get him thinking that maybe he ISN'T TOO OLD after all.

    Good Luck!!

  12. #12
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    Yup, you can lead the horse to water but it's up to him to drink or not. It would be a very healthy thing for him to choose to do. I wish you luck with it.

  13. #13
    Registered User KG4FAM's Avatar
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    Model T is another one who started thru hiking in his 60s if I remember correctly. He has done it four times now and on his last on 06 he was in his 70s. He has a couple of books out as well you could look into.

    I took my dad(57) to Maine this summer and hiked Katahdin to Rangely and he loved it. Just try to get him out there and at least hike from Katahdin to Monson, or even just Katahdin. Whatever you do it is about the best quality time you can have with any person, parent or whoever.

  14. #14
    Registered User volleypc's Avatar
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    This is difficult. Without knowing your dad it would be hard to say this, but the possibility might be that he is afraid he will slow you down or keep you from being able to complete your hike. I know that with my dad he would rather self sacrifice than do the hike. There are only two ways around this that I know of. First if he has a good friend that hikes then maybe you can get him to do it as well. The best option though is probably to focus on having him meet you somewhere for a section of the trail. Who knows, one you have him on the trail you may be able to convince him to stay. Good luck and let us know the outcome.

  15. #15
    Registered User Summit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlm2 View Post
    I hope some of you could provide some convincing stories from your own experiences that I can use as proof that he can and should join us this summer!
    Tell your dad, from one old geezer to another (he's only got a couple years on me) that I'm enjoying hiking more now than ever (been doing it for 35 years). It's also important as we get older not to give up the things we enjoy doing. The law of reciprocity says "if you don't use it, you lose it." If your dad's body weight/stamina are less than optimal, don't push him too hard, but encourage him to improve on them gradually.

    If it's been a while for him, maybe do a low mileage weekend hike and let him enjoy the camping aspect to 'hook him' back into the joy of backpacking.

    I'm down 50 lbs from my highest weight (almost back to my high school weight) and walk three miles 5 or 6 days a week year-round, using trekking poles for an upper body workout as well. I've never felt better, and in fact feel younger than I did 10 years ago when carrying that extra body weight and living a more sedentary lifestyle.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    If you pay me for gas, I'll throw him in the trunk of the car and dump him out at Amicalola.

    If your going to dump a hiker at least put them out at the parking area near Springer. That way they will at least get to experience the great outdoors...

  17. #17

    Default

    Yeah, I would definitely tell him that Maine is considered by many to be the most beautiful part of the trail so he can at least hike until New Hampshire with you.. then you can tell him that the Presidential Range is considered by many to be the most beautiful part of the trail so he can at least hike until Vermont with you.. then he'll be in shape and also be in the A.T. mentality.. one step, one blaze, one shelter, one town, one state at a time.......
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  18. #18
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlm2 View Post
    whoops, forgot that part. Early 60s.
    I observed my 64th birthday, two weeks into my 1993 walk north to Maine. And I was far from the oldest person I met on my walk. Nor was I especially physically fit.

    I had done a lot of over nights, and weekend hikes and a few longer hikes over the years. But I had worked 40 years in mostly sedentary jobs and activities.

    Weary

  19. #19
    Registered User tom_alan's Avatar
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    Default

    I got into cycling when I lived in the Houston, Texas area. After living there for nine years I moved back home to Indiana. I was teaching school at the time so I had three months to find a job since I had my pay spread out for twelve months. I moved in with my parents in their five bedroom home (I have four brothers) until I found work so I could locate close to my work. When I found work I ended up living 16 miles from my parents. Well enough with my history lets get to my point.

    While living with my parents I was 31 and my dad was 61. We began riding together just about everyday. In three months time my father became my best friend. After I moved away we would always meet somewhere on Tuesday and Thursday nights and on Saturday mornings to ride. We would often ride a tandem that I own which brought us that much closer. He would ride with me and a cycling club we became part of. He bought a lightweight bike and could hang with all us “young pups”. I even saw him ride some of them off his wheel from time to time. He was just one of the “guys”. Often times we each would be out riding on our own and run across the other. We would put in several miles together than head to our own homes.

    I am now 50 years old and my Father is 80 years old. He lives two hours north of me in Denver, CO and I live in Pueblo, CO. However, at 80 years old, he still wants to and we still go out for 15 to 25 miles if I stay at their place in Denver. My dad is the closest friend I have ever had.

    JMHO ~ Start your Dad out slow. Start at a State Park or a national forest. Hike around the park than camp at their campground. Get him used to the idea of hiking and camping. While doing this start stretching out the mileage. As the mileage gets longer start introducing a camp away from anybody else. IMO ~ Make your farther your best friend and you wont be able to talk him into staying at home.
    Be good!!!
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  20. #20
    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    I too developed my love of hiking going out with my dad. Even into his late 60s (67 when killed by a drunk driver) he was very active. In fact, me being 20 some years younger than him, I had to struggle to keep up sometimes.

    This would work on me if my kids wanted to go based on my AT stories: "You have told us all those wonderful stories, on how much fun you had on the AT in the 70s. I got / get the impression you have always wanted to do a thru: Here is your chance! Come with us!!!"
    Fancy feet's idea of an open ended hike is a good one: "You can leave the trail at any time. No regrets."

    A thru is only a lot of section hikes strung together. If he hikes at his pace, with a few days off now & then, , , , ,

    FWIW: I’m 23 years older than my oldest kid & I can hike circles around him. His brother is 5-years younger & I have to wait for him too, so don’t underestimate “dear old dad”!
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

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