Twenty years ago I was up in Alaska for four months of driving around, camping, and backpacking when, thankfully towards the end of my stay, my foot started becoming more and more painful to the point that I could barely get out of the van. I thought I would never hike again. After seeing a great ortho surgeon who didn't believe in cutting, who prescribed PT, arch supports, and his own foot exercises, I was off and up the mountains again. Over the last five years, I have had chronic knee problems and worse achilles tendon problems, and four acute episodes. All these ills are directly related to a childhood injury. During each painfully acute episode, I thought my hiking days were at an end, but great doctors and great PTs got me up again each time. At 64 years old, every one of my old hiking buddies and gal pals have pretty much hung up their boots for anything but an easy dayhikes. Not me!
In large part through lightening my load viz. BPL and through determined efforts with the PTs, I have made it up to all my favorite summits time and again, including summiting Adams and Jefferson, the second and third highest mountains in the Northeast, just five weeks ago and twice last winter on snowshoes and creepers. I'm about to retire and want to head out west and up into the Rockies and maybe out to my old haunts in the Northern Cascades. I am willing to invest serious $ in the lightest equipment and serious time into the exercises that the PTs have given me. At some point I will need a new knee and I can only wish they could replace my achilles tendon. But I will not give up until there is absolutely no alternative. I love being out there. I especially love being up there in the alpine zone--I don't know why, but I feel so at home there. Don't give up.