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  1. #21

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    Just join the sloth hiking team.Go at your own pace and get there when you get there.

  2. #22
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    Chill. Dont let the little things piss you off. All things can be perceived as little things.

    Lose the anxiety and expectation of having to know all things or expecting to have the perfect whatever(kit, fitness, diet, budget, pace, etc) pre hike and during the hike.

    FLOW.

    If first LD hike, and especially if not in primo hiking fitness level, work your way patiently into YOUR HIKE. i.e.; dont go out too fast, too hard, or too long.

    I've seen Newb LD hikers that were 70+ accomplish thru hikes of TC trail lengths with this recipe.

    FWIW, trekking poles are what most will advise. That's good general advise. IMHO, it's better advise to work intentionally on lower impact ergonomic movements and foot placements.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefiepoo View Post
    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
    Balance can be a growing issue as we get older. A couple of things I have found useful as my sense of balance has changed over the past 10 years or so. I've noticed the first five steps starting out from a rest can be a problem not only for me, but for a lot of people young, old, and in-between. If I am going to trip, slip, or short step a drop in the tread way there is a high likelihood it will happen in those first few steps. So after watching trail buddies and others fall victim to this, I pay very close attention to the first 5-steps after any stop. It may sound silly, but most of those I hike with have adopted this easy habit, especially after a stumble and a few "I told you so's".

    To combat the effects of missteps, trips, and slips, I adopted trekking poles to help mitigate the consequences of a fall. These allow me to proceed at a decent rate of speed and in conditions that might otherwise be difficult to maintain balance without them like acorns under leaves, or hidden patches of ice, etc. When used properly I can recover from a stumble or slip relatively quickly and avoid injury.

    An interesting phenomenon I have noticed as I have gotten older is vertigo that can occur out of the blue. After miles of my eyes watching the trail and foot placements then stopping and looking up at clouds or at vistas encompassing great distances, I have noticed a sense of vertigo that can affect balance. Trekking poles as a balance tool for this particular phenomenon have worked brilliantly making them the best all-around tool when balance starts to become an issue.

    If you are not using trekking poles routinely, you may want to consider them. They are simple tools easily acquired and to me are part of the "small stuff" awareness that can prevent or mitigate injury on the trail. Using these have saved me from the otherwise unpleasant effects of trips and slips and the occasional vertigo while standing still.

  4. #24

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    A tip for when you fall or stumble: don't tense up, and don't stick out an arm to break your fall. This helps to avoid wrist fractures. And once down, stay down for a couple of minutes to get over the shock, figure out if you are really injured, and contemplate your options. This has worked for me, and not only on the trail.

  5. #25

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    Traveler makes a good observation about falling after a rest. I once took a good tumble as I turned to continue down the trail after stopping to chat with someone. In my defense, I happened to step on a wet, slimy rock.

    But most of my falls are when moving right along on easy, level trail. Those damn loose little rocks you don't see will get ya. I also find I stay a good distance from the edge of cliffs these days.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #26
    GAME 06
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Chill. Dont let the little things piss you off. All things can be perceived as little things.

    Lose the anxiety and expectation of having to know all things or expecting to have the perfect whatever(kit, fitness, diet, budget, pace, etc) pre hike and during the hike.

    FLOW.

    If first LD hike, and especially if not in primo hiking fitness level, work your way patiently into YOUR HIKE. i.e.; dont go out too fast, too hard, or too long.

    I've seen Newb LD hikers that were 70+ accomplish thru hikes of TC trail lengths with this recipe.

    FWIW, trekking poles are what most will advise. That's good general advise. IMHO, it's better advise to work intentionally on lower impact ergonomic movements and foot placements.
    Hmmm...well let us say that what you suggest is a good idea 'in addition' to the recommendation of using poles. I do what you suggest all the time and if I had thought of it when I was writing the post I would have added it in.

    But the poles are far more important and indispensable for us older guys. The age related loss of balance and coordination, especially when added to the natural tendency to break easy as you age, makes the poles critical. Slips happen all the time and they cannot be prevented by even a strong focus on foot placement.

    In my experience as an older hiker with a lot of miles in the poles are at least as important as any other thing in the kit.

  7. #27
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    Default I'm 78 and planning AT in Maryland; need advice.

    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 hope I'm doing this correctly.
    I'm 78, in pretty good shape and good health. Planning Maryland NOBO or SOBO on four consecutive days beginning November 4. Is 10 miles a day too much? NOBO or SOBO, which one is better?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by primm7@comcast.net View Post
    I hope I'm doing this correctly.
    I'm 78, in pretty good shape and good health. Planning Maryland NOBO or SOBO on four consecutive days beginning November 4. Is 10 miles a day too much? NOBO or SOBO, which one is better?
    Wow, still hiking at 78! That's awesome!

    If you're experienced, if you know what you're getting into, then 10 mpd is okay, regardless of age. Plenty of younger folks are carrying around 30-40-50 extra pounds (including me). If they can do it, there's no reason a fit older person couldn't.

    On the other hand, unless there's a reason to hurry, take your time and enjoy being outdoors. Those of us still working don't have that luxury.

  9. #29
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    07-15-2018
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    Pilot, Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by primm7@comcast.net View Post
    I hope I'm doing this correctly.
    Hello primm7. You would probably receive more responses to your questions if you posted this as a new thread rather than placing it at the end of another post.

    I just finished this section while completing my through hike. It is not too challenging regarding elevation changes when compared to the rest of the A.T., however there are a lot of rocks which can slow your pace and plague your feet. Maryland seemed to have some of the heaviest hiker traffic of any state I encountered. The trail is well maintained. I would rather do this hike SOBO and end with the descent towards HF rather than begin with that climb as a NOBO hike would dictate. Maryland came at the end of my journey and it was an easy 3 day hike. Had I started with this section I think I would have been a much happier camper doing it in 5 days rather than 4. Too many factors to give you an accurate answer to miles per day. Hope you have great weather.
    -Slumgum

  10. #30
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    I am 79. Hiked NOBO past every blaze from approach trail to 580 mark on AT. Hammock so I can quit right now, right there, almost, with water. Poles. InReach on pack. I am solo. Gym 2hrs a day, with trainer overlooking program, 5 out of 7 days when home. Rule: pack can never weigh more than 30 lbs. with food and water. No one seems to notice my age. And I never bring it up as a topic of conversation. Days out there, on the trail, always beat home days. When I was 50, I said I would stop at 60; then at 60 I said 70; then 70 I said 80. I will be 80 in February. I keep looking at folks over 80 who have thru hiked the AT. And I start forming a crazy little secret with the guide and calendar in front of me.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by primm7@comcast.net View Post
    I hope I'm doing this correctly.
    I'm 78, in pretty good shape and good health. Planning Maryland NOBO or SOBO on four consecutive days beginning November 4. Is 10 miles a day too much? NOBO or SOBO, which one is better?
    Like Slumgum said, MD doesn't have much elevation change, but it is a bit of a rocky trail so you have to watch your footing. There will likely be leaves on the trail and if they are wet, they are very slippery. At your age, taking falls is your greatest threat.

    MD is a designated camping sites only area, so your mileage will be determined by the spacing of shelters and the few legal campsites. The good news is none of these are more then 10 miles apart and many are much closer spaced. Getting water can be a bit of a pain, there are a few shelters where the water is a long way steeply down the side of the ridge.

    Since Nov 4th is after the time change, it will be dark really early so you must get up with the sun to maximize the amount of daylight you have. In addition to a headlamp, you might want to carry a few candles. And something to read.
    Road crossings are fairly frequent, so if it takes you longer then expected or you run into problems, it's easy to bail.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Like Slumgum said, MD doesn't have much elevation change, but it is a bit of a rocky trail so you have to watch your footing. There will likely be leaves on the trail and if they are wet, they are very slippery. At your age, taking falls is your greatest threat.

    MD is a designated camping sites only area, so your mileage will be determined by the spacing of shelters and the few legal campsites. The good news is none of these are more then 10 miles apart and many are much closer spaced. Getting water can be a bit of a pain, there are a few shelters where the water is a long way steeply down the side of the ridge.

    Since Nov 4th is after the time change, it will be dark really early so you must get up with the sun to maximize the amount of daylight you have. In addition to a headlamp, you might want to carry a few candles. And something to read.
    Road crossings are fairly frequent, so if it takes you longer then expected or you run into problems, it's easy to bail.
    As I remember gets really rocky right before you cross over in to PA.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  13. #33

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    Take your time and ease into it in the beginning of the hike, give your body time to get used to the daily demands of the trail. Smell the roses. It's just walking. ; )
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  14. #34

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    Get going while you can. It appears that my health will not be allowing any long distance hiking in the future. Don't miss out.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  15. #35
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    Orangeville, Ontario, Canada
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    I just completed a seven day hike on the LaCloche Silhouette Trail in Killarney Provincial Park north of Lake Huron/Georgian Bay near Sudbury in Ontario. Iím 69. I was with two other experienced hikers thankfully. Lots of very steep ups and downs, rocky, and slippery. Gorgeous!
    The trail quite kicked my butt Ö
    I realized that Iím far too stiff and physically inflexible. My reaction times are noticeably slowing down. I lack the power and the agility (that I used to have) to respond to sudden mishaps. My cardiovascular fitness is lower than it should be. Iím ageing Ö
    Since returning home, Iíve started a serious program of stretching and flexibility and balance exercises. Iíve upped my daily walking distances. Iím pushing my cardiovascular and strength levels. Iím feeling better.
    What are you other older hikers doing to maintain your physical abilities? What works for you?

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefiepoo View Post
    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
    Several people have mentioned balance issues. I lost my sense of balance due to an illness 11 years ago and even though I recovered I found that my sense of balance was never as good afterward. About 4 years ago I started using a balance disc a few minutes a day and it helped tremendously. After a few weeks my balance was probably back to 98% of what it used to be. Might not work for you but it worked wonders for me. Here is a link to one example.

    https://www.amazon.com/Therapists-Ch...38511446&psc=1
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traillium View Post
    What are you other older hikers doing to maintain your physical abilities? What works for you?
    Doing a lot of hiking. Always.

    Thankfully I live in an area where I don't have to go far to do strenuous hiking. This summer I hooked up with someone who needed a hiking partner and is working on the 4K list, which gives me incentive to go out and climb a mountain at least once a week. Otherwise it's so easy just to stay home getting fat and lazy.

    Bottom line is "stay active".
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyoming View Post
    Hmmm...well let us say that what you suggest is a good idea 'in addition' to the recommendation of using poles. I do what you suggest all the time and if I had thought of it when I was writing the post I would have added it in.

    But the poles are far more important and indispensable for us older guys. The age related loss of balance and coordination, especially when added to the natural tendency to break easy as you age, makes the poles critical. Slips happen all the time and they cannot be prevented by even a strong focus on foot placement.

    In my experience as an older hiker with a lot of miles in the poles are at least as important as any other thing in the kit.
    Nothing wrong what you're saying but I would suggest not relying on gear alone and the added wt of trekking poles compared to learning how to lower one's physical and emotional impact to themselves through knowledge and wisdom. You're literally relying on a crutch exclusively. IMO entirely too often we rely on something or someone outside of us as THE solution. If, HOWEVER, trekking poles are combined with lower impacts( reducing pack wet, ergonomic walking, conservation of energy techniques, anti inflammatory diet and trail decisions, etc) that's another viable approach as well.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Nothing wrong what you're saying but I would suggest not relying on gear alone and the added wt of trekking poles compared to learning how to lower one's physical and emotional impact to themselves through knowledge and wisdom. You're literally relying on a crutch exclusively. IMO entirely too often we rely on something or someone outside of us as THE solution. If, HOWEVER, trekking poles are combined with lower impacts( reducing pack wet, ergonomic walking, conservation of energy techniques, anti inflammatory diet and trail decisions, etc) that's another viable approach as well.
    Come on now. I didn't say anything like the bolded points above.

    Just the opposite in fact. There are cost benefits to every piece of gear. Especially for older folks with all of the issues listed in the many posts above poles are way on the benefit side of the equation. I have a very strong opinion on older hikers using poles - there is no valid reason not to that I have ever heard. Yup they add a little bit of weight (mine weight 8 oz ea - an irrelevance). But they prevent injuries all the time, they make ones hiking safer, add capabilities one would not otherwise have (they really help in stream crossings, on snow/ice, going up or down steep sections, crossing large wet rocks, walking across the sea of small loose rocks one finds in the desert, etc), and these advantages also make the older hiker faster.

    I fully agree with all the additional things one can do if they choose to. But many just will not have the energy or interest or necessary understanding to do some of the things like focusing on walking mechanics (like it sounds like you and I do), minor weight training while hiking, lots of stretching, diet (I personally can not see that this impacts what we are talking about here much at all - this would be another great discussion as there is almost no science behind the vast majority of diet advise, but I digress).

    I have no idea how old you are, but I am constantly reminded of the physical deterioration of aging. I walk every day and for a fair amount of mileage (this is not counting when I am training for a hike when I go up to very significant daily mileage - train, train, train), I weight train about 6 days a week in the gym when at home (heavy weights), I stretch, I use an elliptical about 2 1/2 hours a week as well as a treadmill set on a very steep angle at 3+ mph about 3 hours a week. I actually eat a balanced diet when at home (on the trail I follow Dr. Braaten's long distance hiking diet advise - it really works well http://thru-hiker.com/articles/pack_light_eat_right.php ). But the difference between long distance hiking at 50 and 65 is HUGE physically (even at my age I am impressed that 70-75 yr olds are thru hiking as I am not sure I will make it there). Muscle mass goes down, strength goes down, flexibility goes down, injury rates go up, balance slowly goes, endurance slowly goes, maximum possible effort decreases, coordination decreases, and so on. You cannot stop these things. Period. Do what you can to slow them and adapt to the new normal of your life. Take the poles.

  20. #40
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    Come on now. I didn't say anything like the bolded points above.

    I know you didn't. That's why I said If, HOWEVER, trekking poles are combined with lower impacts( reducing pack wet, ergonomic walking, conservation of energy techniques, anti inflammatory diet and trail decisions, etc) that's another viable approach as well.

    We already focus on foot
    placement, balance, pace, and some movements already. Why not mindfully add to that. Mindful use of trekking poles is already the goal. It's not that hard putting in so much time, energy, effort or focus as you said. In fact by putting in this effort, energy and time to add to our mindful movements we can save physical effort and energy reducing injury and fatigue just as trekking poles can allow but do more than poles provide and increase our focus. This snowballs also into needing and consuming more food and water and allows for longer duration days or higher paces or conventionalor higher kit wts should it be required. Wouldn't it be sweet if after a hike older folks didn't feel like they were fighting themselves?

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