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  1. #1
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    Default PCT for older hikers

    At 58, I'm looking to plan for a PCT hike in a couple years to mark the big 60. Anxious to see how it compares to the AT. Any 50+ hikers with experience and bits of advice? Any journals you 50+ers have put together? I don't feel like looking through all those available to see who is what age. Call it lazy in my old age.

    Thanks for the input.

    Flying Eagle from Michigan

  2. #2

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    I was in my late forties but knew many older that hiked the trail. As long as you're in decent shape you shouldn't have any problems doing the PCT. Since it's also a horse trail, it's well graded. Other than your typical trail injuries, altitude sickness and/or snow has stopped some from completing as have mosquitoes.

    If you're into diverse, mostly open trail with awesome views, you'll love the PCT.

  3. #3
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    58 wouldn't be considered terribly old on the PCT. Start in shape, carry a light load, and have an open schedule and you'll be just fine. By the way, in Oregon I linked up with a late 50s, early 60 year old man (Coach) who, on his second day out, did a 38 mile day with me and Birdie. He beat me in to Crater Lake by almost an hour.

  4. #4

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    I'm a little shocked that you consider 58 to be old. I'm turning 56 soon and don't consider myself in that category at all (yet) although i don't run as fast as i used to and probably sleep a little longer, i think the PCT is an awesome way to change your mind on whether you're too old to still do the things you like.
    Like Sly said, it's graded much easier than the AT and has much better views. Enjoy it!

  5. #5
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    A few years ago I was talking with a friend I met on the PCT. While on the PCT he commented on how his 30 something old daughter was slowing him down. I had the pleasure of camping several nights with him along the trail. He has completed the "Triple Crown"! Last time I talked to him he said his summer hike had left him tired. "No more long distace for me...nothing over 4-500 miles." I hope when I hit my mid 80"s I can say the same thing!!!

  6. #6
    Registered User SunnyWalker's Avatar
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    I'll be there in 2013 and I'll be 60. This weekend my wife and I are going out hiking. She is ahead of me. She is already 60. (Don't let her know I told you, but she is really 62).
    "Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go!" (Rudyard Kipling)
    From SunnyWalker, SOBO CDT hiker starting June 2014.
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  7. #7
    Hug a Trail volunteer StarLyte's Avatar
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    I'll give you one good example of age and hiking: Billy Goat.

    Just Google Hiker Billy Goat. One good example of age and hiking.

  8. #8

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    Lots of hikers are in their 60s. It isn't old at all. The PCT is pretty smooth and the hills aren't steep. You'll have a great time.

    You might enjoy the book A Thru-Hiker's Heart by No Way Ray Echols. He was in your age group.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    I'm a little shocked that you consider 58 to be old. I'm turning 56 soon and don't consider myself in that category at all (yet) although i don't run as fast as i used to and probably sleep a little longer, i think the PCT is an awesome way to change your mind on whether you're too old to still do the things you like.
    Like Sly said, it's graded much easier than the AT and has much better views. Enjoy it!
    Graded easier than the AT!!
    Maybe when I get too old to hike the steeps around here I'll do the PCT. I'm 66 now.

  10. #10
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Talk to Garlic here on WB. He and his hiking partner Pickle can answer any questions (I realize this an older thread).

    Both are triple crowners, put down consistent low 20s or more and (most important) have fun doing so.

    Garlic is a whipper snapper in his arly 50s..his hiking partner Pickle is in his early 60s. And I had trouble keeping up Pickle on the last day of our Arizona Trail section!
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

  11. #11

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    I met The Lone Ranger this summer and had dinner with him and his wife - funny as it turned out they were from the town my mom grew up in. They knew my mom's family and we had a great time talking. My cousin's knew LR's wife even.

    Anyways, they are retired and loving life - and he was out there hiking like crazy
    Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
    Trail Cooking

  12. #12
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    Default Read Mr. D's PCT journal on Trail Journals

    http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=174724

    His AT journal was great, too, if you can find it.

    He's journaling about his CDT hike currently.

  13. #13
    Garlic
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    My friend Pickle is my role model. I hiked the PCT trying to keep up with Pickle when he was 59. (He thrued the AT two years earlier.) He thrued the AT again at age 64 (with a very fun 20 mile per day average pace!), after hiking the CDT and some shorter trails. He's not a journalist, but he appears often in the journals in my profile.

    We also hiked 600 miles of the Pacific Northwest Trail together this year, and after some tough days of 7,000' climbs in the Rockies I heard him say he couldn't have done that when he was in his twenties.
    "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

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    I still see folks in their 70s out there...enjoy the hike . They often got more out of it too then the younger counter parts...

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarLyte View Post
    I'll give you one good example of age and hiking: Billy Goat.

    Just Google Hiker Billy Goat. One good example of age and hiking.
    And when you are done with that, google Nimblewill Nomad.

    Age is just a number.

  16. #16
    Registered User unclemjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dicentra View Post
    Age is just a number.
    Since I just crossed the 1/2 century mark I like that statement all the more. I guess I am now at "mid-life".

    I have seen "20-somethings" with less stamina and energy than I have and "70-somethings" that could walk me into the ground.

    Just go walk. Maybe I'll see you out there sometime.

  17. #17
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiddlehead View Post
    I'm a little shocked that you consider 58 to be old. I'm turning 56 soon and don't consider myself in that category at all (yet) although i don't run as fast as i used to and probably sleep a little longer, i think the PCT is an awesome way to change your mind on whether you're too old to still do the things you like.
    Like Sly said, it's graded much easier than the AT and has much better views. Enjoy it!
    ==============================

    I didn't consider myself to be old at 58 ...and then I had a sudden heart attack - - totally out of the blue and no history or symptoms. Back on my feet now at 60 but even with a youthful attitude I can feel the miles on my chassis. My original plan was to hike the PCT this year (2009) and never gave my age a second thought. Since my heart attack though my attitude about long term distance hiking has changed somewhat. I still don't consider 60 to be old but honesly, with all the pills I now have to take daily and the variations in energy the PCT doesn't seem to be a wise undertaking. Kills me to say that because I was the last person I would have ever thought might feel this way. I was the guy who was going to be hiking well into my 90's. Oh well ...stuff happens !

    Guess the point of my post is that regardless of age you need to know that you are in good shape, especially your ticker.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  18. #18
    Springer to Elk Park, NC/Andover to Katahdin
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    I will be attending a friend of mine's 60th birthday celebration Sunday night. It is also a celebration of his triple crown that he completed this year on with the PCT.
    I am not young enough to know everything.

  19. #19
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    Cuppa Joe had a good journal of the PCT on Trail Journals. He didn't finish due to an injury, but his journal is good reading.

  20. #20

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    There are very rocky trail sections, and footwear that stabilize the side-to-side motion and protects your ankles may be a good idea. I also use shorty stretch gaiters to keep stones out of my footwear.

    There are very muddy sections. I would consider footwear to stand up to mud, like Fell Walking footwear.

    For steep snow fields, the ULA Helix "Potty Trowel" may be helpful.

    Here is the link: http://www.ula-equipment.com/pottytrowel.asp

    It is said to be used for crossing snow fields.

    That FAQ reports:
    Q: The Helix Potty Trowel has a striking resemblance to an ice axe. Have you considered using it as an ice axe?

    [Answer]

    A: Hmmm. Wow. Now that you mention it, it does kind of look like an ice axe. I've heard that a number of thru-hiker's have been using the Potty Trowels on the PCT and CDT as a non-technical ice axe for glissading, basic slope safety, and the occasional self-arrest. You certainly have to admire the weight conscious, multi-use philosophy employed by these intrepid hikers!
    It weights 4.5, 5.0, and 5.4 oz. depending on length.

    I have a reasonably lightweight iceaxe, but I would consider this Helix "Potty Trowel" for self-arrest, for poking holes just ahead of my next step on a glacier (glacier blue, it is unsafe snow over a snowed over crevasse).

    Learn how to do a "self-arrest". Stay off glaciers. Snowfields are less dangerous. However, learn how to estimate the liklihood of a avalanche-slope.

    I have read people doing desert-crossing like their SPF-50 umbrella, desert-rat draped hats and evaporative cooling, if you have the water. A special-material "cloth" for bicyclists, keeps the evaporative cooling in their bicycle hat going 1-4 hours: I will look it up again, if I find it, I will "post" it.

    Maybe there is a best time of year for desert-crossing?

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