“(Warren Doyle) This 60-plus hiker has walked the Appalachian Trail 17 times since 1972. Nine of these have been thru-hikes. ‘Your pack weight will be directly proportional to the sum of your fears,’ the minimalist hiker [has] been known to say. Doyle founded the Appalachian Trail Institute to provide AT crash courses to prospective thru-hikers. ” (Backpacker.com)
The other day I read an article from Backpacker.com®. Titled ‘8 Badass Older Hikers’, the words leapt off the screen as they depicted stories of lives lived to the fullest and interesting people enjoying an ever active life. Exuding positivity and purpose, the enthusiasm showcased certainly perpetuates the focus of living life ‘their way’. Some even seem bigger than life.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain
I’d read the article a short time prior to Dad’s visit where he wanted to hike in southern California each day he was there. According to this article, he’s in good company. My 71 year old, pancreatic cancer survivor Dad continues to choose, his way. When I was younger he was a marathoner. Then he became a triathlete. Then he took up cycling. Missing a spleen and other internal organs, he could have chosen to throw up his hands but instead, he cycled on. The stories in the article all have a similar message. It’s the ‘I’m going, whether you like it or not’ attitude. Some may consider it a calling. Some may say it’s a passion. And still others, can’t grasp the idea of seeing life any other way. Their attitudes are contagious and efforts pronounced while their accolades speak for themselves.
Don’t condescend to any of these hikers that age or numbers matter. Take in the miles hiked, the pathways visited, the people met, the experiences had, the nature discovered and the lives touched…..age is truly ONLY a number. These hikers continue to smash any and all stereotypes with each step they take. Now, even more than before, I can’t wait for my next hike!