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Aging Adjustments

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I’m curious at what age the oldsters on here began changing their tripping style, frequency, locations to accommodate age-related declines in stamina or physical abilities? Was it a slow change or drastic due to some factor?
 
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Not ready for any change whatsoever now at age 71. Although I had been canoeing for many years already, I began canoe racing (Adirondack 90 miler) at age 46, and except for the recent Covid down years in 2020 and 2021, I haven't missed a year since 1997. About to do my 25th ADK 90 miler race this year, beginning with an annual relatively shorter first of season race in May. Although I do not run the 5 miles of portages like I used to, I still do them as fast as I can and finish well.
I've also done a dozen unofficial Cannonball-90's, paddling the entire route in a single day of about 20 hours (the official 90 is staged over 3 days).
Beginning in 2008 (age 57) I paddled my first 440 mile Yukon river Quest, returning 3 times for that race, plus twice more for the Yukon 1000 mile race. I've done well finishing at or near the top in both races. My last YRQ was in 2017, and I don't plan to be finished quite yet with the Yukon.

I trip recreationally by water or trail (or bushwhack off trail with or without a canoe) less than I did before I started canoe racing, mainly because of race and training schedules, SAR, and other activities I am involved with. For example, as an Adirondack Leanto Rescue (L2R) team member, rebuilding Adirondack leanto shelters often requires a form of canoe and;/or hike tripping to those leatos on remote lake or trail locations. I teach SAR and land navigation to state fire and volujnteer organizations and L.E. agencies.

I know a number of canoe racers well into their later 70's and even a couple in their 80's who I have a difficult time keeping up with.
 
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I soloed until age 69 even post chemo. Then two joint replacements made me less willing to solo especially as I was told a fall could splinter my replaced hip leaving me in a wheel chair. Now I do a tandem trip but kneeling is very painful and less liking to get up out of a tent. I do not have a kneecap. That said I would still with hubby on a trip even with two solo boats. He can no longer portage as walking is difficult due to a twisted foot. He walks on his ankle
 
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For me the change was drastic and due in part to family and physical circumstances. When I was young and single I was more fearless and adventurous. While raising a family there was little time for me to pursue outdoor activities and the expense and dangers were calculated differently. It wasn't until recently when I retired that I returned to tripping. At 66 my focus is less about new and challenging experiences and more about the peaceful serene trips I remember. I am no longer interested in extreme, long or cold weather tripping.
 
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I just turned 69 last week but don't expect any major changes at this point. My right knee was replaced back in 2009 after six previous surgeries on it so I've already made adjustments for that. Unfortunately, after all these years of no problems, my left knee is giving me fits so we'll see what happens there. I've always worked when others had off so I'm used to traveling alone most of the time. Now that I'm semi-retired, I don't see that changing. My biggest adjustment will probably be that I won't explore too many totally unknown areas in the future without having another person along. I'm OK with going into the unknown hole of the donut (so to speak) but I'm going to want to know the area around me so if something happens, at least I'll have an idea of how to get out of there.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
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I am 68 and do almost exclusively solo trips (last year I did my third trip with someone else in more than 30 years) because my wife and friends are not interested in wilderness tripping (or even car camping for that matter). Two of those trips were with my daughter and son-in, who are interested in it. They live about 5 hours away, so we only manage one trip a year. I'm OK with doing solo trips most of the time. My wife is really good with my going whenever I want to. In general, I prefer the simplicity of going solo, since I can do what I want when I want. In the last few years my trips have changed, with more base camping and day tripping from there. I am fortunate to have two solo canoes; a Sawyer Autumn Mist for bigger waters and the Hornbeck New Trick that I won in the ADK Mt. Club raffle a few years ago. The Hornbeck has made it possible for me to do trips that would be more difficult for me to do with the Sawyer. I will be retiring in a few months after 44 years of teaching and I am looking forward to more trips for longer periods of time.
 
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I am 68 and more of a wimp than previous responders, but am determined to get out solo as long as possible. My adjustments include finding route with fewer portages, carrying less weight and not breaking into totally unknown territory. I need to rest more frequently, and to rest even before I think I need rest in order to avoid a total collapse of all systems.
 
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I'm 83 and a walking (limping) wounded (like most oldies who have had an active lifestyle). Looking for a lighter solo canoe for those long portages on my solo trips. Can't decide between a regular solo boat or a Cruiser as my kneeling days are almost extinct. Favourite pieces of equipment are a huge Mondoking mattress and my pee pee bottle.
 
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Gerald, you are an inspiration to me. You and Robin keep me going.
 
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I'm 83 and a walking (limping) wounded (like most oldies who have had an active lifestyle). Looking for a lighter solo canoe for those long portages on my solo trips. Can't decide between a regular solo boat or a Cruiser as my kneeling days are almost extinct. Favourite pieces of equipment are a huge Mondoking mattress and my pee pee bottle.
Well the pee pee bottle wont help me.. Maneuvering that and a shewee seems onerous in a tent with catastrophic consequences in a down bag. My must have is a Helinox chair.. Sadly Chair One is too low now. Gerald you may be able to lower the seat alot if butt bouncing is not to your liking.
I hadn't heard of a Mondoking so I looked it up .. Seems the ticket comfy except for 4 lbs..
 

Glenn MacGrady

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There was a lot of candid discussion about the physical and psychological effects of aging on paddling in this 2019 thread, which I started after a long absence and before I became the administrator here:


In short, I was going full speed ahead and great guns as a solo canoeist until age 70. After that, a series of small but accumulating age issues cut way down on my paddling and mental outlook. In the three years since that thread I've only done local day trips, but I could do more, plus I now "paddle" a lot more on my keyboard (and behind the scenes) with my admin duties.
 
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Well, a recently diagnosed Sacroiliac Joint problem has left me hamstrung for almost 4 years but with the new plan maybe I will be able to get out and paddle again this year. Going with least invasive, just a shot and if that doesn't work maybe surgery. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the best results. I miss getting out on the waters

As far as Admin duties go as you mentioned Glenn when I was in that seat I spent an insane amount of time monitoring/running the board on a daily basis. VBulletin was a bear to work with and I do know I spent more hours than I cared to find a tech guy who knew it. It cut into my paddling time back then big time. Bowing out due to circumstances at the time and helping the next admin didn't pan out well at the time but I am very glad you stepped up to the plate and kept this community alive, many thanks for that.

dougd
 
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Hey YC. Yes, it's heavy and bulky, but without it, I could not sleep well anymore. A long way from the first days in the early 70's when we used to sleep on bough beds. Of course, we could also portage a pack and 80 lbs canoe simultaneously then.

Glenn, many thanks for your continuous contribution to the sport.

G.
 
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Yellowcanoe: Try this.

I've been using it for several months. It's great.
 
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I've paddled with as many as four females in the same voyageur canoe during the Yukon River races. We do not stop on shore for the simplest of bio needs. While still underway, everyone does what is required to keep moving forward and racing, The ladies used various different kinds of devices in several trips, but I am not fluent on which ones they tried. In hearing comments among them, I don't think any worked exceptionally well. Always being the bow paddler, I knew not to turn around when I got the code to keep eyes looking straight ahead.

Interesting story, one time when we did stop for more serious bio needs, it by chance was next to a very clear cold water fast running mountain stream entering the river. Everyone filled up their water bottles with the clean fresh water. Soon after getting under way again, Teresa flipped her nalgene over and a flake of gold was seen drifting in it. So I quickly hit my GPS to save that location. Later I looked up that creek and did not find that it had ever been mined. I keep its location of "Teresa's Gold" a secret for now.
 
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At 64 I started to feel the difference. I could still do the trips to Algonquin that I did in my 20's, just took me longer (sometimes a lot longer). Arthritis began to set in my joints and after spinal fusions, any portage (carries for you ADK'ers) over500 or so yards was enough. At 71 it was open heart surgery (triple bypass and an aortic valve replacement). Now at 74 if somebody offers to help load or unload the canoe, I greatly accept. My problem now is my wife and 50+ yo sons think one of the boys have to be with me, problem is they both have to work. We are going to have some battles this year 'cuz I will do a couple 3-4 day river trips with some "young" friends, all over 60 but most in better shape than me.

Gerald, 83? Young man you are my hero (y)(y)
 
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Yellowcanoe: Try this.

I've been using it for several months. It's great.
Thats just another form of Shewee. Have been using it for years . I learned the hard way by standing on a collapsing sandbank on the Green River in 2008 by being too close to the edge, the value of a fountain directed outward. But I dare not use it lying in a tent with a spare yellow water bottle. Too much chance for error . Next trip on the Green was much drier! ( you have to pee in the river). There are always.. depend for nightime.. ( who wants to carry that out however)
 
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My first change as I got older was being OK with staying at one campsite for multiple days instead of moving every day. Other than that, my wife and I have incorporated a lugable loo with 5 gallon bucket for bug infested trips. It can be used inside the tent when necessary.

Not only are my trips less physically demanding than they used to be, they are also geared more towards comfort. The next step will be to try lightening the load.
 
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My father lived to be 89. During the last few years of his life he became quite frail and very weak. During this difficult stage, he would regularly look directly at my face, and say, ”Mike, whatever you do, don’t get old.”

I should have paid better attention. Too late now, though. At 74, my legs are starting to go. I don’t think they’re going to come back. But that’s ok. Canoe tripping is not a foot race.
 
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