Forum Index » Chaff » I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers.


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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Atypical on 03/25/2012 20:36:53 MDT Print View

Stephen, it is that white beard that is going to do you in. Get a little Grecian Formula going, and you will feel like a young buck again.

--B.G.--

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Aging on 03/25/2012 21:05:43 MDT Print View

My climbing partner (and frequent backpacking partner and ski partner..hell just call him one of my closest outdoor buddies!) is turning 50 next month.

I have to remember he is only a decade younger than my Dad.

He has an active lifestyle and is better shape than most guys 20 yrs younger then him.

He's slowed down...by his standards. His standards are still better than most.

As I approach 40, I think of where my Dad was when he was my age. 210 lbs (if not more) on his 5'6" frame, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and so on.

I try to keep an active lifestyle. Overall, think I do OK..esp compared to my peers back East that I went to high school with.

More fun to be fit than to be fat. :)


Hope it continues.

Edited by PaulMags on 03/26/2012 07:17:44 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Aging on 03/26/2012 08:40:35 MDT Print View

For the "age is just a number" crowd I'll say this:
I had my first child at 24. Had my second at 37, third at 38 (and turned 39 2 weeks later). Age isn't just a number. I might have wisdom, patience and money to afford great health care but oh woiw, did I feel my "advanced maternal age" ones more. I creaked and groaned even though I was in better shape physically than when I was 24. Age will get ya simply ;-)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Atypical on 03/26/2012 09:24:05 MDT Print View

My motivation was the opposite - my dad died of heart disease when he was 52.

I should have had similar motivation, my dad's first (and fatal) heart attack was at age 51. He was a lean, mean, rock hard working machine ... 5'10" and about 145 lbs and probably could have rivaled Roger Staubach's fabled 7-8% body fat composition. I have the same paternal side genetic situation as Stephen. I never expected to see 60'th birthday ... didn't try hard too either. Perhaps the genetic dice rolled kindly for me, mom's family tends towards longer life. I started to work more at fitness when I reached 50. It ain't easy to reverse 50 years of everything that contributed to where'd I'd gotten myself to. Success is mixed and variable.

Age sixty is only a memory now but I'm committed to keeping working at it.

Folks who are expecting that age will not matter might consider John Glenn's retirement message ... "In spite of all our modern medicine there's still no cure for the common birthday". This a former marine who was in superb shape at the age of 40, likely better shape than all who are reading this.

BTW, He's 90 now and I missed seeing him by just a couple days when visiting Kennedy Space Center last month.

Also BTW, I won't dispute that some folks maintain superb fitness to advanced age. I know one. He is in his seventies now and could step on a scale today and make the weight he wrestled at in college. He IS disciplined but he acknowledges that he has to WORK at keeping his weight UP!. Decades ago I had a cycling buddy who once said "It's D**M hard work keeping my weight up (6'3", 190 reasonably muscular lbs). He was active but not to an extreme degree. Lifestyle choices are important but are not always the entire story.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers on 03/26/2012 10:09:49 MDT Print View

>I was losing my body to time and my youthful perception of myself no longer jibed with the reality of my physical form.

I can relate to that. It became impossible to get myself thru all things physical on willpower alone, as I had done for years. But Eugene may have it right, by staying active your entire life, it may not be that big of a deal to age. Those of us that let ourselves go for 20 years, siting at a desk, or had a serious illness, etc. face a much, much tougher battle trying to get back to where we want to be. It's taken me 2 years of pretty hard work to lose 20+ pounds, and to get where it's not that big a deal to go ride my bike for 60-70 miles (like I did in Moab last week. Awesome!) Still can't force myself to like running. Doing a quick trip to Big Bend this weekend, we'll see if the work has payed off.

Anyway.......to steal a quote I heard somewhere...."genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger".

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
not shocking really on 03/26/2012 10:38:08 MDT Print View

"man without an answer
like a bird with broken wings
wrapped up in his misery
forgetting how to sing"
funny quote from an 80s punk rock song.

here are the factors that contribute to my run down state:

*Marriage and the endless Honey-Do lists
*Very close with my extended family, and they consume many weekends.
*Cubicle office life makes ok money, but turns you into a keyboard T-Rex physique as well stated earlier.
*I feel like this: http://www.zazzle.com/magnet_no_cubicles_free_range_humans-147120892290992734
*You know something is wrong, when getting off the couch hurts.
*bone cartilage should not make grinding sounds.
*I used to hike and bp for adventure, not I do it to reduce stress and think clearly.
*other posts stated cancer and heart disease, and early death. All 3 in my family.
*A 16 miles summit climb that used to take 9 hrs, now needs 16 hrs (and 3 days recovery)

Edited by RogerDodger on 03/26/2012 10:40:31 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Aging on 03/26/2012 11:03:08 MDT Print View

Will aging slow you down? Yes.

The big question is, "How much and when."

Baring injury or serious illness, one should be able to hike at a fairly high level throughout your 60's. Maybe even later if you haven't been overweight for decades.

Grandma Gatewood thru-hiked the AT in at age 67 and 72. She section hiked it at age 75. She averaged 22 miles per day on a 2,000 mile hike of part of the Oregon Trail in later life.

Hulda Crooks hiked Mount Whitney 23 times between the ages of 65 and 91. During the same period she did almost 100 other peaks. Of course, she wasn't as quick in later years.

Colin Fletcher hiked/rafted the entire Colorado River (started at its source in Wyoming) at age 67. He backpacked though most of his 70's, although we don't know how much as he was rather reclusive other than his published books.

It was the rare hiker that could keep up with Harvey Butchart on difficult off trail hikes from rim to river to rim in the Grand Canyon when he was in his late 60's. He slowed down during his 70's and quit hiking in the Grand Canyon at age 80. Harvey's only exercise for over 40 years of backpacking was about 50 days per year of hikes.

These just hiked a lot. No other serious physical conditioning or exercise routine.

People have thru-hiked the PCT while in their 70's and maybe their 80's.

Over the years, I have run into many older hikers in some remote and difficult places. All of them were thin and trim.

So if your are "middle aged" and you can "pinch an inch" you may not be hiking to any great degree in your 60's, or even live through your 60's. And of course not being overweight is not a guarantee of longevity either. So look in the mirror, if you have a "gut" you might be aging much quicker than you think.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Aging on 03/26/2012 13:42:19 MDT Print View

One more addition to Nick's list of geriatric hikers, I widh I could recall his name but there's a guy who hiked the Grand Canyon R2R eighty times the year he turned 80. IIRC it was forty 3 day R2R2R trips.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Aging on 03/26/2012 16:36:08 MDT Print View

Ulrich Inderbinen Guide Zermatt 7263

Ulrich Inderbinen, Zermatt Guide, summitted the Matterhorn 370 times, was still guiding shortly before he died - of old age, at 90.

Cheers

Edited by rcaffin on 03/26/2012 16:50:04 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: "I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers." on 03/26/2012 16:40:55 MDT Print View

I'm with Eugene on the aging question (i.e. you have a lot of control over it).

And I'm with Eugene in 3 weeks on the Rim to Rim to Rim, despite being twice his age.

A coincidence? Or not?

First time I went up Whitney, I was 19 and we hiked past a LOT of people and no one hiked past us. Until an 80-year-old ran past us, tagged the top and said,
"The wife is waiting with breakfast at the trailhead", turned around, and ran down.

One of my best days of downhill skiing was a day in Utah when a guy on the lift asked, "Do you want to do some runs together?" and being focused on keeping up with him (late 70s), took my mind off the possibility of falling and I skiied a lot better.

I had the same Chemistry professor at UC Berkeley as my sister, my father, my uncles and MY GRANDMOTHER (she had him in 1917). He was 99 in my frechman chem class. Still doing research, publishing, teaching grad students. He published more after he turned 70 than before. When he turned 70, a UC Regent suggested he go emeritis like most did at 60 or 65. He told that regent he'd retire if that regent could beat him in a quarter mile foot race. Five years later, at age 75, he coached the US Olympic ski team.

Use it or lose it.

I'll grant that I have to start my training, even for a simple 30- or 40-mile day hike weeks before whereas I used to be able to cold-turkey more events.

And, yes, all body parts have a tendency to get bigger, hairier, and closer to the ground.

And I acknowledge that some people get visited by cancer, joint problems, or injuries that just plan suck.

But when Collin Fletcher landed in the ER have being run over by a car, the staff couldn't figure him out. No ID. Face of an 80 year old. Legs and health of 20 year old. Hiking every day of your life is a good thing, IMO.

I went up Half Dome last year and decided to count how many people half my age I could hike past. The answer was "all of them" - something over 200 hikers (Eugene wasn't there).

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers. on 03/26/2012 17:04:52 MDT Print View

I am thin and don't eat much, I think it affects my physical ability at times. I feel like I can never consume enough food to make up for calories spent.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: You will age on 03/26/2012 17:28:27 MDT Print View

"Sorry, Eugene, but you will age.

You can slow down the effect, but you will still age.

A good physical fitness plan, carried out, will help immensely. But you will still age.

And then there are things like car accidents, cancer, etc.

When you are 60, you won't be the same as when you are 35. Because you have aged."

True enough but, setting aside for purposes of this thread the unpredictable show stoppers, you can darn sure slow the process down by following a rigorous, consistent exercise regimen as part of your way of life. Combined with attention to diet and nurturing close relationships, this offers the best chance of enjoying your life to the maximum extent permitted by your genetic makeup and the whims of the gods, IMO. IME, as I have gotten older, the challenge increasingly becomes one of will to use what I have left as the physical ageing process unfolds, one telomere at a time. That can compensate far more than one might think for the gradual, unavoidable decline in physical abilities. Desire/passion complemented by experience, judgment, technique, and restraint still take me to high, remote places that I used to assume would be beyond reach by the time I reached 60. As the old saying goes, nobody gets out of here alive, but neither does one have to be in any hurry. Nor do they have to give up living before they're technically dead, so rock on all you old bulls and show these young bulls the way. Slowly. ;=)

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: You will age on 03/26/2012 17:54:36 MDT Print View

so everyone ages differently, just like cars I suppose, how many miles logged, and how many car accidents experienced in life, will take their toll.

I find it funny that some posts mention age 35 as the prime. I'm in trouble, because age 25-30 was my prime and then the following 5 to 10 years physiology changed. Takes more effort, more repeat attempts and pain killers to get the same trip distances accomplished.

I didn't used to have to motivate myself, or concentrate on stamina, I just did it. Now everything hurts and makes noise, and everything tries to discourage me. The mind also carries more life stress, that I have to overcome.

Yet as stated above, on some trails, I see the 70 and 80 yr old rocketeers flying to the summit.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: You will age on 03/26/2012 18:06:43 MDT Print View

"I didn't used to have to motivate myself, or concentrate on stamina, I just did it. Now everything hurts and makes noise, and everything tries to discourage me. The mind also carries more life stress, that I have to overcome."

Like I said, Roger, it's increasingly a question of will. Pain is part of life, more so as you age but, IME it comes in two flavors: 1) The kind that is annoying but can, and should be, ignored; 2) The kind that tells you to stop what you're doing right now and see a doc if it continues after a few days of decreased activity or rest. I think you will find that most pain falls in the first category and should not be an obstacle to getting back in the game. I also think that, if you get back in the game and stay there, you will find your mind is carrying a lot less stress. Acquiring a UL mind is one of the most important weight reductions you will ever achieve in backpacking.

My prime was in my 40's, BTW, but I've been having one helluva good time ever since, even if I can no longer put the pedal to the metal like I could back in the day. Even more so, as a matter of fact, as I've slowly let the "old bull" mentality take over.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: You will age on 03/26/2012 18:25:45 MDT Print View

I am confused about what the argument is even about. No one said life is over at middle age. No one can deny that the body ages. Everyone seems to agrees that both genetics and lifestyle ( ok, luck too) play a role in the well being of the aging body. I think we all agree on this one.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
hmmmm on 03/26/2012 18:26:36 MDT Print View

This thread reminds me of some of the little poems my Mother taught me... she's 85 going on 86....

"Why all this fuss about aging?
Why all this silly ado?
Every time you are a year older,
Everyone else is too!"

and this one...

"Remember friend, as you pass by;
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, soon you will be.
Remember friend, you'll follow me."

She's a wise lady... and beautifully aged....

Gracefully Aged

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers. on 03/26/2012 18:35:46 MDT Print View

Nobody gets out of here alive. So many variables in life.

This thread has been interesting. Especially since it started off rather poorly.

James Castleberry
(Winterland76)
"I have a question....in regards to photo's, thru-hikers, and "seasoned" backpackers." on 03/26/2012 19:24:02 MDT Print View

Dr. Robert Melamede has been doing research for a long time into the anti-aging effects of cannabis. http://mostlywater.org/expert_testifies_cannabis_helps_slow_aging

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re on 03/26/2012 19:26:04 MDT Print View

"To hear people here talk about "middle age" and turning 40 as if it's some pivotal point in life"
Yeah. I turned 40 this year. Never thought much about age before that, but that birthday was the first time I thought, hey I'm not actually a kid anymore.


"You can do things at 40 that you never dreamed about doing at 20. "
This part is true. Every year and every trip, I still feel like I've accomplished more than previously. This year, I'm training for my first 50K, something I never would have dreamed possible at 20. This is due more to developing mental toughness, vision, stability, and focus. Physically, strength and endurance are still developing, but recovery times are longer and there are some pains (hip flexor for me) that have become familiar adversaries.

I used to think that my metabolism was changing, but thankfully for me, a paleo style food plan has restored me to my pre college weight.

At this point, I think the biggest change turing 40 has brought is an awareness of the passage of time, and a thankfullness for the time that I do get to spend doing things I love.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Life SUCKS So Stop Kidding Yourselves! on 03/26/2012 19:31:37 MDT Print View

Young Adult - got time, got energy, no money!
Middle Age - got money, got energy, no time!
Old Age - got time, got money, no energy!