OK Boomer: Five Hikers Who Refuse to Act Their Age

The majority of thru-hikers on America’s National Scenic Trails are fresh out of college, falling right around low- to-mid 20s. There’s a reason for that: taking several months away from real-world responsibilities never seems easier than it does at that age, after educational requirements are complete but before diving into the real world. However, the second-largest demographic of long-distance hikers jumps ahead ~35 years to the retirement zone: the next age where it’s feasible for most people to get out into the woods for a journey of several thousand miles. We chatted with five of the most dedicated hikers and backcountry explorers we could find, all of whom fit neatly into the Boomer category, but refuse to act like it. Here’s how they got their start, what helped them stay active during the busiest times in their career, and how they get outdoors these days.

-Maggie Slepian, Trek Managing Editor

Ruth “Chocoholic” Morley, AT LASHer

Photo courtesy of Ruth Morley.

Where and when was your first hiking trip?

During the ten years that our family (husband, me, and our two children) lived in Kobe, Japan, I enjoyed hiking in the steep but low coastal mountains nearby. We also climbed Fuji and trekked in Thailand and Nepal. We stayed in hostels and huts in Thailand, and camped in the Himalayas. However, it wasn’t true backpacking, since we only carried our day packs and the Sherpa transported the tents, food, etc. My first long-distance (solo) hiking trip, during our years living in France, was the 1,500-mile GR5 in Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and France. I began this adventure at the age of 54, and finished at 58. During the three summers of this section hike, I slept in a bed every night, in hostels, hotels, or private homes. This trip completely captivated me, from the rolling farmland of Belgium to the magnificent Alps.

How did you balance work, family, and hiking over the years?

Running marathons was my main sport until the past five years, when my back decreed, “Enough!” Oddly enough, I can backpack, if the hip belt supports the majority of the weight of the pack. When I did hike during my working years (now retired), it was on the occasional weekend. Running took precedence, usually after work or always on the weekends.

How would you assess your physical condition?

I began backpacking at the age of 64 in the spring of 2017, when I had a one-week shakedown hike on the AT from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania. I did 16 miles that first day, which I certainly would not try now, just two years later. I have found that the body starts to change during the early to mid-60s; at least it has for me. I completed 500 miles of the AT in 2017, SOBO from Harpers Ferry to Pearisburg, Virginia. I had intended to go all the way to Springer Mountain in Georgia, but my feet rebelled against trail runners, and I went home with tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. I completed the South in 2018, now in very supportive Lowa Renegade hiking boots. This year, I completed nearly all of the North, NOBO from Harpers Ferry, but had to quit after just a few days in rugged, rugged Maine. I could feel that something was wrong with one hip and shoulder, and I knew it would be much worse if I continued. It’s good that I did. Once home, a pelvic stress fracture was diagnosed. I have just now come off crutches after nine weeks of limited movement. During this time I have also been doing twice-weekly physical therapy for the rotator cuff. I have been seeing a counselor to help get me through this injured, post-trail depression. After all of these frustrations, will I finish those last 220 miles of the trail? I initially said, “NEVER AGAIN!” but now that last portion of the AT is calling my name. I expect to be there in August 2020. My husband, who normally only hikes the first few days of each section with me, has agreed to finish up this adventure with me by hiking most of the 100-Mile Wilderness. Normally I hike alone, and enjoy the camaraderie of other hikers at shelters and hostels, but it will be wonderful to finish up this adventure together.

My pace during these three years has never been lightning speed (12 miles per day average), and I do see it continuing to slow down a bit each year. The body that regularly hiked 16+ miles in the Alps has changed greatly. I still have great stamina and am able to hike with few breaks (I credit all the previous marathons), but it is now slow and steady that gets the job done. Zero days every fifth day are an absolute necessity. I stretch every day, either on the floor of shelters, on my tent footprint on the ground, or on my bed or the floor in a hostel. I am also more cautious and careful on the steep ups and downs, since I have osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis), and have previously suffered from another hip stress fracture, as well as several in the long metatarsal bones of the feet. I just hate being injured and being out of the game for months of recovery. The older I get, the longer it takes to heal, and I feel time slipping away from me.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Morley.

OK boomer. Any advice for how to keep hiking into your later years?

Folks like to say that age is only a number. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree. Time eventually catches up with your body. It’s normal, and we’re lucky to have lived for this many decades. You can still be active, but you will eventually have to make adjustments and allowances for natural changes in an aging body. Be sure you respect your body and how it continues to serve you, despite its changes. I thought I was doing that this year, with an easy pace and modest daily mileage. However, skipping several zero days and the severity of the New Hampshire and Maine mountains did me in. Before your trip, get in as much hilly hiking as possible, gradually building up your mileage and the weight of your pack. Also, work on your core and upper body strength (wish I had done that for the rotator cuff muscles). Frequent Pilates equipment workouts with a skilled instructor have been pivotal for me. Be diligent about keeping the pack weight as light as possible. You’ll thank yourself as you haul it up mountain after mountain. Take frequent zero days, perhaps occasionally two in a row if your body tells you it’s necessary. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else on the trail. There will always be younger and faster hikers, but also older and slower. It’s not a race. Be proud of yourself and don’t make jokes about age or your own perceived inadequacies. You’re out there doing it, while the grand majority of our peers are sitting at home, watching TV. It’s time to take the time to slow down, savor nature, and celebrate still being able to actively use our bodies in such grand adventures.

Ruth, 67, has just Maine left to complete the Appalachian Trail. She has cycled across the US, climbed Fuji and Kilimanjaro, hiked in Patagonia, done 52 marathons and ultramarathons, and six triathlons. Follow her blog here.

Neil Slepian, NH 48 4Kers, NH Winter 48 4Kers

Neil Slepian with daughter Maggie, Trek Managing Editor. Photo courtesy of Maggie Slepian.

When and where was your first hiking trip?

My first real hiking trip was between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college. I was traveling cross country solo, and I went out to Badlands National Park. I went there with the intention of hiking, and I wanted to visit as many national parks as I could, and hike as much as possible. I had an old Boy Scout backpack—a canvas rucksack with a couple of straps, and a water bottle. I went to Badlands National Park and I picked a trail and started hiking out. This would have been 1972, and it started a life of hiking.

How did you balance work, family, and hiking over the years?

When the kids were little, I didn’t really have much of a balance, and hiking took a backseat. I didn’t backpack or camp at all; it was more day hikes during that time. I would do as many day trips as I could on weekends, trying not to impact the family. I didn’t start getting serious about hiking again until my kids were older, and I started taking the family with me. I eventually got two out of the four to go when they got older. I really got back into it when a business trip took me flying through San Francisco, which put me in close proximity to Yosemite. I flew in from China, got off the flight, and didn’t get on the next one back. Instead, I rented a car and made arrangements to stay for a few extra days. I went to Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. Rediscovering hiking was like rediscovering part of myself. I thought, “I’ll never let 14 more years go by without visiting this place.” And I didn’t.

Are you retired? Is this giving you more time to hike?

Absolutely. Being retired (four years) gave me all the time I wanted to. I had started doing the New Hampshire 48 with my youngest son, then got more into it once I retired. Hiking in the middle of the week opened up. I joined a Wednesday hiking group and signed up for Appalachian Mountain Club hikes, and met a whole network of other retired hikers. I started getting serious about counting down the NH 48. Often those hiking groups were going to peaks I needed, so I’d join and meet more people. My first winter I did four 4,000-foot peaks—a whole new world opened up. I realized I could be up here in -10 degree weather and I can still be enjoying myself and seeing the mountains in such a way that most people never see them. They’re covered in snow, basically deserted, we were breaking trail with snowshoes, and figuring out traction and warmth—all the techniques and strategies about being out there in winter. There seemed to be endless opportunities, and three years after I started, I was able to finish the NH 48 in winter. Then I started the Four Seasons 48, which I’m in the middle of now.

Neil, 65, has completed the New Hampshire 48 4,000-footers, the New Hampshire Winter 48 4,000-footers, and is working on his four-season list, as well as 52 With A View.

Arthur Hamilton, AT LASHer

Photo courtesy of Arthur Hamilton.

Where and when was your first hiking trip?

I decided to hike the AT (in 2018) at the age of 68, having never backpacked in my life. After several months of research I had the gear I thought I would need so I went to Big Bend to do a shakedown hike on the Outer Mountain Loop trail. It was a great learning experience in that I did so many things wrong.

How did you balance work, family, and hiking over the years?

I work part time at IKEA to supplement my Social Security. I got a sabbatical from IKEA and permission from my wife. I withdrew money from my 401(k) to fund the gear and trip.

How would you assess your physical condition? Still cranking out those miles, but maybe at a slower pace?

I had to leave the trail after a knee injury, only completing 700 miles, so my first goal is to finish the AT as a LASH. I think it is better for my wife if I am only gone two months at a time. I had a career in construction and have always worked out with running, walking, and weights, so I was in good physical shape. Also I did several 10-milers with full pack on a local trail. It pissed me off that I couldn’t do the 25s the kids were doing because mentally I thought I could but I ended up averaging around 17 miles a day.

Any hiking goals? Long-distance trails to do? Mountains to summit?

The list of hikes I want to do in no particular order are the John Muir Trail, the Arizona Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Wonderland Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. If I can maintain my physical condition I would like to break the age barrier for thru-hiking the AT in my 80s.

OK boomer. Any advice for how to keep hiking into your later years?

After coming home with my knee injury I went to a really good physical therapist for treatment. I can’t tell you what a difference it has made in my condition. That would be the best advice I would give a mature hiker. Go to a PT or take yoga. I think flexibility and balance are huge for an older hiker.

I also think for older hikers with dietary needs one needs to go to a dietitian. I did. You need to know the percentage of carbs, fat, and protein, along with best way to get the right mix. Nutrition is important for all hikers.

Backpacking, golf, and meditation keep me young and motivated to be present in the now. I had more fun than a 12-year-old kid at a water park on the AT!

My trail name on the AT was BearChaser, but that is another story.

Read Arthur’s blog here.

Victor “Hipcat” Perrotti, AT Thru-Hiker, 2018

Photo courtesy of Victor Perrotti.

Where and when was your first hiking trip?

Basic training, US Army, 1979, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

How did you balance work, family, and hiking over the years?

Took my family on day hikes. I did some backpacking with my wife, but once we had children, we would car camp, then day hike.

How would you assess your physical condition? Still cranking out those miles, but maybe at a slower pace?

Great physical condition despite having a bilateral hip replacement in 2015.

Are you retired? Is this giving you more time to hike?

I retired from my first career in 2017, hiked the AT in 2018, and started my second career in 2019.

Any hiking goals? Long-distance trails to do? Mountains to summit?

Would love to hike the John Muir Trail or Long Trail but not sure if I will get the time.

OK boomer. Any advice for how to keep hiking into your later years?

Train in advance to avoid major muscle group soreness. Trekking poles and modern lightweight equipment are essential. Don’t skimp on hot meals. Take your time and keep at it. Take care of your feet. Use arch supports. Stop to talk with people. Enjoy your time in the woods. Listen without earplugs in. Take small and steady steps. Don’t think that you have to do mega-miles in a given day to complete your hike. Be at peace.

Read Victor’s AT blog here.

Hugh Owen, Trek Editor, Writer

Photo courtesy of Hugh Owen.

Where and when was your first hiking trip?

Two college friends and I drove to the White Mountains, day hiked, and then passed out in our sleeping bags in the middle of a trail. I remember some hikers stepping over us in the morning and muttering that we shouldn’t be sleeping in the trail.

A few months later, in 1975, I set off on a transformative journey, hiking SOBO from Katahdin after Labor Day, and making it through Maine (skipped New Hampshire) and half of Vermont. I got into the rhythm of the trail: waking at dawn, hiking, meeting other hikers at camp, and going to sleep before doing it all over again the next day. I met Steve, a fellow SOBO, and we hiked together until Vermont. We hooked up off and on in Maine with three other SOBOs, and had some riotous off-trail adventures with them. I saw about a dozen NOBOs and maybe a half-dozen section hikers, and traded stories with them in camp at night. I was forever after caught in the hiking aura and solidly locked in the Leave No Trace ethic. That first trip sleeping in the middle of the trail was a long-gone me.

How did you balance work, family, and hiking over the years?

My wife, Marge, and I took our son and daughter car camping when they were young. Marge wasn’t into backpacking, so I took my son and a friend of his on a three-day, two-night trip when they were seven. When my son was eight and my daughter was five I took them on a similar-length trip. We’re still backpacking together today. Work got in the way of a lot of things, but I made sure to schedule backpacking trips with my kids, with friends, or by myself. I made that time sacrosanct, and fought like hell to make those trips happen. The worst time I had trying to keep a trip going was in 2003. The Red Sox were playing the Yankees, with the victor heading to the World Series. My son and I—diehard Red Sox fans—had tickets for the first game of the World Series if the Sox made it, scheduled for the same weekend as my long-planned backpacking trip with friends. I agonized over what to do: ballgame or hiking trip. Well, the Yankees solved that problem by beating the Red Sox. Hopes dashed, but hiking trip on. In 2004 I scheduled my friends’ trip for early September, and Sox fans know what happened that October.

How would you assess your physical condition? Still cranking out those miles, but maybe at a slower pace?

I have definitely slowed down, and it takes a lot of time in the gym to still be able to do miles on the trail. I can occasionally crank out 15 or so miles on moderate terrain, but mostly it’s 10 to 12 miles a day. Younger hikers pass me constantly. But I’m OK with that. Slow and steady is my mantra. I began hiking with poles in my 40s and they’ve prevented many falls. I pack reading glasses now to read trail maps and my phone. (Yep, I carry a paper map and compass. Old school.) My first aid kit includes cholesterol medicine. Bowing to the demands of an aging body, I’ve upgraded my equipment with lighter gear over the years to the point where my base weight is 13 pounds. Not ultralight, but hey, an old guy needs his comforts. I hike alone now as my hiking buddies dropped out in our 50s. I mainly see backpackers a third my age on trail, but often enough run into Boomer hikers—men and women—like me. We bump fists and congratulate each other for staying connected to the trail. We share stories of our adventures, and talk about our aches and pains. But mainly, we glory in the wonderful life we’re still living.

Are you retired? Is this giving you more time to hike? Pre-retirement, how did you find the time?

I have been retired for two years, and I’m in heaven. I do one- to two-week trips in the spring and fall. I’ve completed the Long Trail in Vermont and the Appalachian Trail in New England. Before I retired it was one four- to five-day trip in the fall. Balancing work and hiking was difficult, especially as I moved up the management chain. And once I got a work cell phone, forget it. I was forever connected to work. I don’t miss those days. Now, I do trail work on the Shenipsit Trail in Connecticut, near my home. I’ve volunteered to be a trail maintainer on the AT/LT in Southern Vermont. After all these years of hiking it’s time to give back.

Any hiking goals? Long-distance trails to do? Mountains to summit?

I’m more interested in shorter trails than trying to complete a long-distance trail. I have my sights on the Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire, the Northville-Placid Trail in New York, and possibly the Superior Trail in Minnesota. If I can get a soon-to-be-retired friend off his butt maybe we’ll do some AT section hikes.

OK boomer. Any advice for how to keep hiking into your later years?

I’d like to say clean living is key to a healthy older life, but I blew that one in my teens and 20s. Stay active. Exercise is key for short backpacking trips or day hikes, which I do a lot. At this age it’s harder to get into shape once you’ve softened up. And forget hiking into shape on a short trek. A big part of staying healthy and physically fit is good luck, good genes, or whatever. I have friends with bum knees, bad backs, and myriad ailments that you’d call just plain bad luck. They didn’t ask for that pain or illness, or do anything to cause it, but there it is. So I consider myself very fortunate at 66 to still be trekking through the mountains. And hopefully for many years to come.

Read Hugh’s stories here.

Feature photo courtesy Neil Slepian.

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Comments 21

  • Dami Roelse : Dec 28th

    I’m so glad you’ve featured some boomer hikers. Being one myself (I’m 72) I can relate to what everyone here says. I’ve finished 2000 miles of the PCT since I turned 65. This last spring I had my first mishap on the trail, a stress fracture of the tibial plateau. I was back on the trail 2 months later and trekked in the Himalayas. Lightning the load and ongoing training is what keeps me going. I averaged 15 miles a day this last spring in the Mojave desert. I encourage women over 50 to walk and hike; see my book: “Walking Gone Wild, how to lose your age on the trail”. Thank you for giving older hikers courage and inspiration.

    Reply
  • Drew Boswell : Dec 29th

    I’ll echo the sentiment that I’m glad to see an article with someone closer to my own age (57). Ruth Morley’s account was especially good, and all of these guys are inspirational. Love the comment from Arthur Hamilton about getting pissed off about not being able to do 25 mile days, because I’ve felt the same way staggering into camp at day’s end after a 17 mile day and realizing that’s the best I can do. As we age into our late 50s and beyond it gets frustrating sometimes (though we have to laugh at ourselves) because we have 8-cylinder ambitions in a 4-cylinder body.
    Cheers.

    Reply
  • B.J. Clark : Dec 29th

    Go Boomers! Hopefully this summer will see my last LASH of the AT. A planned thru turned into a series of lashes because of foot injuries, but the plan is to hike the last 400 miles to Kahtadin at age 70. Got to get it done, other trails are calling!

    Reply
  • Bill Neal : Dec 29th

    I will be 77 in a few months and, even though I have 3 herniated lumbar disks and what the doctor calls disk degenerative disease along with a 50-plus year-old necrotic stress fracture in my left foot with bone-on-bone knees, arthritis, scoliosis, and sciatica, I struggle to accept that I am done with hiking and backpacking. My first real backpacking trip was in 1970 when I was living in Southern Oregon – I just took off walking from where I lived up into the mountains and was gone for 5 days. I carried the old style frame backpack but there wasn’t much in it – I took no food except teabags, vitamins, and some cloves of garlic. Don’t really know how they got in there but I ended up eating them, pretending they were the pot roast my mother used to make. I wore no boots, only moccasins – the traditional Native American style, not the consumer style, since I am mixed-blood Cherokee. I had no map or compass and, of course, no GPS. I trail hiked until I got past the weekend campers and then bush-whacked for 4 days, circumnavigating a big circle through roadless wilderness areas from Southern Oregon into Northern California and then back into Oregon, a distance of about 50 miles with no trails. I foraged along the way, encountered black bears twice, and tried to kill a deer with arrows shot from my eyes. That began a long history that I hate to accept is over. I have recently adjusted my eating habits and have gradually lost about 16 pounds, dropping 2 waist sizes. I have been pushing myself to walk farther everyday with increasingly-heavier packs. I am also gradually cutting back on pain medications and increasing the vitamins, minerals, and ‘nutraceuticals’ I use. I now live about 38 miles south of Amicalola Falls and would like to try a section hike from there to Neil Gap on the AT, a distance of over 30 miles, but I might need knee surgery first. I might also need a support plan in case I need help along the way. I am preparing myself in various ways and sincerely hope that I can pull it off as this new decade begins.

    Reply
    • Donna Dean : Dec 30th

      Sounds like a wonderful goal. Heading up the approach trail, the hardest part, with a five day pack doesn’t sound as fun as heading south and finishing coming down the approach trail with a one day pack though!

      Reply
  • Bill : Dec 29th

    First, your title is offensive to me and many others my age, 60. The premise is old age means you’re broken and lazy and recreation should be limited to the stereotypical endeavours afforded by your local retirement home. Being active out of doors is foreign to most all of the population from the very young to the very old. Seeing an older person on the trail is nothing unusual to behold, but clearly your article is based on this notion. I see the young and old in various states of fitness while out on the trails as I’m passing them in most cases. I get comments asking if I’m OK, or the age related comments of encouragement. While I appreciate the concern, I need no reminder of my age group. I do appreciate your focus that age is not a limitation on ability. It is the mindset that age somehow means you should not be enjoying the pursuits of the young and that is a notion I’d love to see fade from all our minds.

    Reply
    • Ruth Morley : Dec 29th

      Bill, I understand what you’re saying, and I too do not appreciate negative slurs based on age, whether millennial or boomer. By no means have we intended to suggest that Boomers are washed up relics. We have simply shared our experiences honestly, in the hope that others can benefit.

      No matter what stage we are in life, we can benefit from others’ experiences and advice. Our expectant daughter-in-law has profited from pregnancy and parenting blogs, and our son-law has learned from his experienced Ironman coach. In this way, we contributors have hoped that others in our stage of life, whether Ironmen or five mile day hikers, might feel encouraged and supported by this post. After all, we’re all out there to enjoy moving in nature together.

      Reply
      • Drake Maples : Jan 3rd

        Ruth, No offense taken. At age 60 I’m still a time fighting kid in a little older set of wheels. I’ve enjoyed the Trek for the past few years, and loved seeing other “experienced” guys and gals taking the time to give us a glimpse of there time on the trails. I’ve been taking time from work over the past few years and hitting AT sections with my oldest son. Time however is always the issue. So I’m looking forward to retirement (someday) and having the wherewithal for longer distance hikes and a final full AT Trek. Age is really what you make of it, and regardless of the dents and scratches on the body, my engine is still feeling like its 35. Weird… but a common feeling I suppose. I’m proud to be the last generation of Americans to grow up with Low Tech and No Tech. Just curiosity, foolishness, willingness and guts. Sure, we’ve made mistakes along the way, but we’re far from done. So thank you. Thanks for keeping us all involved.

        Reply
    • Don Bacon : Dec 29th

      Bill, the vast majority, almost totality, of people over fifty (say) DO act as if they are incapable of doing much of anything physical. The author isn’t saying they can’t do it, she’s saying they won’t do it, which is correct. The “act their age.” Older people I know won’t even walk fifty feet if they can avoid it. Oh, they used to sleep on the ground when they were young, but that can’t do it now. Camping to them is a motor home parked on concrete with the AC running. . . Don’t blame the author for that.
      Anyhow, the people in these articles are just kids. My wife and I did the John Muir in our seventies. I was 74 and and just taken up backpacking not long before that. The highlight of our hike, the absolute highlight, was after a group of twenty-somethings passed us at the bottom of Glen Pass, one steep son-of-a-gun, I thought I’d never get there. Anyhow we talked briefly and I told the youngsters that our ages were 74 and 72. . . .Lo and behold somewhat later when we arrived at the pass up top we were given a standing-O from those young whippersnappers. . . It doesn’t get any better than that! . . .We’re still hiking in our eighties, and still have our backpacking gear, but at the moment it’s day hiking. We can still motor up a hill, in our eighties, so who knows.

      Reply
  • Donna Dean : Dec 30th

    Thank you for this feature. At 61 I lie here suffering with stress fractures and mixed feelings. Having just come within 3 days of finishing my 12th long trail in the U.S., I am quite unhappy with myself for refusing to adjust and continuing to push days beyond pain. Oh please, let me be honest, I’m unhappy with my BODY! And hate that I missed my mark! On the other hand, those mountains (south end of the Tuscarora Trail) will be right there when I return. “Strap it up tighter and walk slower but longer hours,” is clearly not going to carry me through the rest of that or any other trails this decade! Hmmm, concessions….
    On the positive side, this forced rest during the holidays has been a fabulous time to visit with friends and family, give my bones plenty of calories, try to gentle up on myself, and plot hopeful hikes for the next decade. Yes, hikes that include more rest days!
    I do hike with a 10 pound base weight, and have relatively low water needs, or rather the ability to camel up heavily at streams, so I rarely carry over 22 pounds even on winter 5 day between resupply treks. I know that helps a lot. Whenever I lift a fellow packers heavy load, I am in awe of how strong they must be.
    Arizona trail, IAT north of Springer, Wonderland, Tahoe Rim, West Coast Trail, Ice Age Trail, Cohos Trail, continued chunk hikes of CDT, remaining chunks of GET, Oregon Coastal, and Superior Trail all look gorgeous. But first, I guess slow rehab/reentry is in order… Stambler

    Reply
    • Ruth Morley : Dec 31st

      Donna, I’m right there with you. I responded to Hugh’s request to Boomers from my permanent residence these days, the comfort of my sofa. Two pelvic stress fractures here, thanks to osteopenia, the rigors of NH and ME and too few zero days my final weeks. I understand exactly how you’re feeling. It’s so tough to be sidelined. I too am eating healthfully, staying off my feet and using crutches when standing, and dreaming of future expeditions. Let’s keep each other in mind as we heal. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

      Reply
  • Robert Sartini : Dec 30th

    Of course ANYone can do it. AT at 50, PCT at 60, Most people don’t bother is all.

    Reply
  • TBR : Dec 31st

    The “OK, Boomer” thing got old last month.

    Reply
  • LongTime : Jan 2nd

    “OK Boomer” is just another divisive expression in a time when there’s already too much of that. It’s offensive. Thoughtful caring folks wouldn’t use such a phrase, even if it’s followed by an explanation or apology. It unfortunately detracted from an otherwise fine article.

    Reply
    • Gen Xer : Jan 3rd

      Ok boomer

      Reply
      • Deet (Detox) : Jan 3rd
        Reply
        • Deet (Detox) : Jan 3rd

          My old school Emoji didn’t come through as a stand alone… HTML?

          “”

          Reply
  • Tatal Dweeb : Jan 3rd

    I embrace the title of “An OK Boomer”. After all, it is much more tame than some of the other things I’ve been called in my life. 🙂 Can something be offensive if you refuse to take offense to it? I don’t know – but I do know there are so many other things to worry about nowadays that this seems inconsequential. Currently I am worried about the Koalas, the kangaroos, the melting tundra, the melting glaciers, etc and want to experience as much of the natural environment as I can while it still exists and before we humans pollute it out of existence by dumping mining wastes in our streams, suffocating gopher turtles under parking lots, and generally killing it with “progress for profit”. So while I am still physically capable of hiking, I will do so and hope the younger people on the trail will come to understand what they may need to do when they get back to the “real world” and work to make the changes needed to help our planet survive. This “OK Boomer” will do what I can to help them.

    Reply
  • Twogirlsgowalkabout : Jan 3rd

    We have come to hiking later in life. The bug has bitten as we find ourselves knocking on the door of 50 in a year or so! Following people on the trail before we start our own AT thruhike in March has been great but we have certainly noticed their youth and energy and worried about how we will hike our own hike at a slower pace than these young mountain goats.
    I found this article very inspiring and it makes me realise that this new passion isn’t as time-limited as I feared.
    Thanks for writing it and thanks to the Boomers who were prepared to share their stories!

    Reply
  • Deet/Detox : Jan 3rd

    AT NOBO 2020, leaving April 4th.

    Enjoyed the article. Some inspirational folks! Don’t know if I’d get out there after a bilateral hip replacement. Hope I never find out. Also hope to being doing this stuff when I’m in my 70’s

    I turned 57 in September. Chose to retire 3 years ago with a drastically reduced standard of living but an infinitely better quality of life. My intention is to play hard for as long as my body will allow… so far so good. Have slowed down a little but hold my own in hiking, skiing, cycling, running etc…. Have found yoga to be a Godsend for flexibility… plus losing 75-80 pounds… Haha!

    One of the nice things about hiking on this side of the age spectrum is financial freedom. Not worried about money for the hike, in fact it should be a positive cash flow event as expenses will be low for 5 months. Plus I can afford all the cool stuff!

    Blessed not to think of myself as old and therefore don’t get offended by silly words like OK Boomer. Life shouldn’t be so serious at this age.

    See y’all out there!

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  • LeapIntoTheWild : Jan 22nd

    I’m 56, but that’s not what I get comments about – it’s being a solo female hiker. I’ve seriously gotten tired of answering those questions. Have hiked for years, started camping 10+ years ago when I got tired of having to drive home.

    My secrets: good shoes + consistent weight-bearing exercise and stretching + lighter gear + Chair Zero + a good dehydrator + Claritin 🙂

    Starting my backpacking adventures this year, with a LONG list of trails to tackle in the near future: entire island of Isle Royale and lots of MI UP, Tahoe Trail, Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, Nova Scotia, more of Big Bend plus Guadalupe Mtns, etc, etc. And, yes, ALL gleefully solo!

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