Long Distance Hiking After 60
In April, my husband, Mel and I will be heading down to Springer Mountain, Georgia, to begin our 2,185 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Mel has already completed two thru hikes of the Appalachian Trail and I have done two section hikes of one hundred miles each. It has been part of Mel’s game plan for a long time to go on another through hike this year, but not mine. I love to hike and camp as much as the next guy, but I have never been driven, like he has, to spend 6 months of my life doing so. My job has always been to keep the home fires burning, to pay the bills and to tend to the dogs while Mel has gone off on his adventures (including a 3 month, cross-country bike trip in 2013). But, this year will be different. I have decided to step out of my comfort zone and go with him. By the time we start hiking in April, I will be 68 years old and Mel will be 61.
Because of our previous hikes, we already have our trail names. I acquired the trail name of Spider when we were hiking a hundred mile section of the Trail several years ago. I had hiked all day with a dead spider in my shoe (and a caterpillar) but never realized until I took off my shoe at the end of the day that I had these two uninvited hitchhikers. I expect that the spider, as well as the caterpillar, were not dead when I first put on my shoe in the morning.
My husband’s trail name is Backfire. He earned this name from his son, AYCE (All You Can Eat) when they hiked the AT together in 2001. How Mel acquired the name Backfire is probably self explanatory.
Barring any unforeseen illnesses or accidents, we will both make it to Katahdin, Maine by September 2015– in spite of our advancing years!
This is a diary of our adventures. It begins in June of last year when the idea first popped into my head that maybe I could go too!
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I have enjoyed your articles and look forward to following your blog as you hike the AT. Happy Trails!!!
I am so excited for the two of you! I am looking to do the trail, hopefully with my husband, once all the kids are out of school – in 13 years! You are such an inspiration for someone who will be “older” when hiking the trail. Please keep us updated on your progress. Good luck and have fun!
Thanks for your words of encouragement!
I am glad that age doesn’t seem to stop you. I want to go once I retire. I was thinking this idea is just for college age kids!
2026 for me and I will be 62 years old.