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Aging Adjustments

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Getting old sucks I
I turned old at age 85 and for the last year have been fighting cancer.
I still paddle my kayak, canoe and SUP , but the distances and speeds have dropped down to a quarter of what they used to be
and if my mind keeps going the way it has been I'll need Nanci (my better half) direct me the way back to the beach
Enjoy it while you can !
Jack L
 
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Getting old sucks I
I turned old at age 85 and for the last year have been fighting cancer.
I still paddle my kayak, canoe and SUP , but the distances and speeds have dropped down to a quarter of what they used to be
and if my mind keeps going the way it has been I'll need Nanci (my better half) direct me the way back to the beach
Enjoy it while you can !
Jack L
If I can do at 85 what you’re doing at 85, i would be very satisfied!
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Getting old sucks I
I turned old at age 85 and for the last year have been fighting cancer.
I still paddle my kayak, canoe and SUP , but the distances and speeds have dropped down to a quarter of what they used to be
and if my mind keeps going the way it has been I'll need Nanci (my better half) direct me the way back to the beach
Enjoy it while you can !
Jack L

Keep up the good fight, Jack, and happy paddling to you and Nanci.

Since you have written up the best personal list of Florida paddling places I've ever seen, could you provide the link to your website. I'd like to post the link as a thread in our Canoe Destinations and Routes forum as a reference for the benefit of folks who want to paddle Florida in the future.
 
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At almost 72, carrying a basket of laundry upstairs is becoming challenge. I hesitate to think how i am going to carry a 42 pound canoe up the bank.
Paddling is still OK, just a little slower than i used to go.
 
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Keep up the good fight, Jack, and happy paddling to you and Nanci.

Since you have written up the best personal list of Florida paddling places I've ever seen, could you provide the link to your website. I'd like to post the link as a thread in our Canoe Destinations and Routes forum as a reference for the benefit of folks who want to paddle Florida in the future.
Here it is: https://sites.google.com/siteflkeyskayaktrips/
The only thing is we haven't kept it up to date, and I know since Hurricane Irma and other things some of the launches are no longer good, so they so should be checked out prior to planning a paddle there

Jack
 
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Shoulder surgery just has me spooked. Taking a long time to heal. As my chronic infirmaries add up, I’m just wondering what adjustments I need to contemplate. I bought a cart. I can launch out the back door and ride the river to a bridge 3 hours down stream, stretch it out with fishing. Walk the whole shebang back home without shuttling or anyone else involved. Then, I’ll sleep in a bed and eat bbq. I’m still able to trip but for how long? I want one more 30 day solo trip but don’t know if my dog’s up to it.
 
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Long story short.... I stepped on a drop of asphalt paint on a metal camp roof and slid off onto a rubble pile of concrete chimney debris I had just demolished. Upon landing, doing my best recollection of a parachute landing fall, apart from looking like the tin man from the bucket of aluminum paint that came down with me, I felt fine with no obvious injury. But the next day it was impossible to lift my right arm to or above the level of my chin without a great amount of shoulder pain.

The orthopedic sports medicine doctor I saw verified with xrays and MRI a severely torn rotator cuff. I had known other paddlers who had that surgery and knew what the doc was going to tell me when I asked how long I had to hold my arm tied to my stomach area without movement - 3 months. Unacceptable to me and my outdoor life style. I was already preparing to revisit the Yukon canoe race in a few months, after the coming winter season. How would I cut firewood for winter heating in my home? I asked what was the alternative? He could give me a cortisone injection directed into the exact tear location inside my shoulder. Let's try it. It worked! Much better than expected. I had virtually no pain with normal motion of my arm, including paddle training. A month before the race some pain returned and so did I to the doc asking for another injection. He still recommended surgery, but gave me another shot of cortisone. I was able to complete the race without major issue. I have returned to the Yukon twice since, done hundreds of miles of training, and compete in local Adirondack canoe races as well, now 5 years since my fall. I strongly feel that paddling and proper training has saved me from an unwanted surgery and awkward recovery.
 
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Currently 66 years old, as much as I try to deny it, age has an effect.
I don't have the strength that I did even 10 years ago, mostly due to a partial inability to weight train.
Way, way back, I dislocated my shoulder (IIRC at age 22) kayaking, then skiing, then skiing again, etc, etc, etc. Ortho doc said surgery was the only option, but delay it as long as possible due to long healing time and even longer recovery of strength and range of motion. He was right. I had the shoulder rebuilt six years later, just before I turned 30.
Shoulder was fine for 6 months, until I was run over by a pick up truck while bicycle commuting home from work. (my 4th year of bike commuting)...broke tib-fib on the left leg (think Theismann injury), fibula on right leg, broken pelvis, several broken ribs, broken left humerus, assorted lacerations and contusions, severe infections, many surgeries later I walked again, and returned to work after six months...but the shoulder was fine---for 30 years, until the joint just plain wore out.

I can still paddle and carry, and yes, I still ride a bicycle for fitness, as well as weight train as best I can. (no presses)
Have I adjusted to my aging, battered body? Well, sure I have, very gradually. I have reduced the challenge of some trips, mostly since I go solo.
There are some things that training and willpower cannot overcome, but that's OK. Slower is fine, as long as I can still go. Sleeping is tougher, I switched to a Hennessy Hammock. Carrying is a bit more effort, I got lighter gear. Trips too long? I'll shorten the mileage. Eventually, I know I'll not be able to compensate, and I may be forced into day trips only, but for now, I trudge along.

Some of you older warriors give me hope and inspiration, you've set the bar pretty high, and for that I thank you...
 
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unlike most here my paddling style changed dramatically at 55- that's when I broke my back and caused severe nerve damage to my left leg, after a year on the couch, several bouts of rehab, a cane, 3 surgical consults, and the realization that this is my life now, I slowly got back into paddling and now can paddle for a couple of hours at a time and maybe 4-5 total in a day. Now I can daytrip solo but anything longer than a daytrip requires a sherpa to carry my pack for me, I can handle portaging my canoe (40lb) about 100m tops.
My new style means slowing down to 1/2 my previous speed, which allows me far more time to check out the sights, sounds, and smells I never noticed before the accident. I also spend more time checking out a portage, usually requiring an initial trip down the trail with my daypack, paddles and pfd to check out trouble spots, potential canoe rests, and best way to put in, but there's an upside to it in that twice I've seen moose up close, a wolf nosing along the trail, dozens of birds and small animals, and even a couple of bears, all of which I would have missed with my old "just grab the canoe and go" mentality.
I'd say that while different, it's by no means less enjoyable...
 
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I retired at 62 in 2010, did two weeks solo in WCPP, at 64 I did the 100 mile crown land Marshall Lake circuit in nw Ontario, again solo, Thanks to Memaquay.
I did a few Quebec and ADK trips mixed in there too, and even back to Marshall Lake.
At 66, my legs began to weaken, climbing a stairs became a problem. The VA diagnosed it as myositis in my ham strings, and considers it related to other agent Orange issues I suffer from.
I didn’t do anything for a couple of years, but when I moved to Maine I did some short north Maine trips, two out of the truck and two out of the canoe, no portages to speak of. I even have a lightweight wood canvas canoe now, 43 lbs.
Last Sept I returned to Quebec and spent 8 days solo on two big lakes, with two easy ports between. I took my heavier wc Chum at 60 lbs and struggled with one port. I took my time with plenty of rests.
I now plan my trips with my limitations in mind. I was planning to leave Monday for 4/5 days in the north Maine woods with wall tent/ wood stove, but the weather forecast looks better for next week, so I’ll wait. Used to be I would go no matter what the weather, not any more.
Heading back to Poland Pond in a week.
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^ Poland Pond has a special place in my heart. Say hi when you get there.

I didn‘t know a w/c canoe could weigh as little as 43 pounds.
 
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I borrowed a w/c canoe many years ago that weighed 26lbs, it was a 14' custom made boat. What a joy that thing was on the portages, just lift and hang it off one shoulder.
 
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^ Poland Pond has a special place in my heart. Say hi when you get there.

I didn‘t know a w/c canoe could weigh as little as 43 pounds.
It’s a 14’ ChestnutFox reproduction, it has cedar decks and inwales, spruce gunnels, thinner ribs and lightweight canvas. It’s a capable wilderness tripper if I’m careful, handles waves well but I like the heavier Chum still.
 
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I've enjoyed this topic. The last long trip I did I was exhausted at the end of the trip. It was before the virus and it was a trip in Woodland Caribou. I told myself that was it, no more, too hard. But recently I have been dreaming of a trip to Quetico, nothing hard just a nice trip. The reason I want to go there is it's so darn beautiful.

I found that about age 67 I lost spring in my legs and some balance. I have been working on my balance and it seems to have returned, but I'm worried about the strength in my legs. On my last long trip I got a hernia and that is the only injury I have really ever had and it has been repaired with no issues. I'm now 75, but I think structurally I'm fine, just weak. My memory of the many canoe trips haunts me and I only seem to mostly remember the good things.
 
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^ Poland Pond has a special place in my heart. Say hi when you get there.

I didn‘t know a w/c canoe could weigh as little as 43 pounds.
I have two. One is 38 lbs and the other is 15 feet and a little over at 46 lbs. Lighter planking is key as well as being a little more mindful of rocks etc.

Not been to Poland Pond .. yet. We are staying a week at Seboomook and have to take a paddle there this summer. Been to Round Pond and Allagash Lake!
 
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Since retiring, I decided that my issue with getting older and tripping, was gravity. After looking over my gear, I decided the first item was too lighten the paddler, that seemed to offer the biggest gain in my battle with physics.
On an Algonquin trip, there was a 2.5 km portage that I ended up renting a light weight 30# Swift Kee 15 (my lightest stripper at that time was 39#), which was another eye opener ... was also the main reason for my last posted canoe build , 15' and 31 pounds. (Round 2 on this design will start this fall with a design goal of 17' and 30 pounds)
Hardwood paddles are nice, but I can make composite paddles that work just fine at 1/2 the weight.
The wife graciously allowed me to make use of the sewing machine ... after a 2 week battle learning make it work, I discovered if you follow the rules it will actually work. Discovering the new materials for making gear was awesome, another rabbit hole of "making" to be sucked into. Just finished a prototype hammock at well under a pound, that will be making the trip early next month, along with a new down quilt to match.

I guess the common theme here, for me, is to keep evaluating my gear and lightening as I go, not any one big push, just a general drift of making/acquiring lighter solutions to the various camping needs. Gravity seems to be relentless and I need to keep evolving my camping if I want to continue ... it is just another one of those life challenges and being able to get out and be under the trees and on the water is something I am prepared to work for.

Brian
 
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