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Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby js hill » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:27 pm

Hi Tom. I had miniscus surgery in Oct. 2011 and I am 62 years old. This past summer my wife and I hiked 90 miles on the JMT. As long as I didn't push myself too hard, I did okay. We averaged about 10-12 miles a day. My knee would periodically pop and crack like it was getting an adjustment from a chriropractor but the pain was tolerable and we had an enjoyable backpacking trip. A few months ago, I stumbled upon some inserts for my shoes/boots called Good Feet (Goodfeet.com). These inserts have really helped reduce my knee pain and have increased my knee mobility and flexibility. They claim to help align your feet, ankles, knee, hip, and spine. I do know that my posture has improved. I also suffered from planters facitus but no longer. In addition my knee no longer "pops" when I hike. We live in the Southern California Mtns. and we hike about 4 times a week. I know I sound like a salesperson but I believe I have several more years of backpacking left in me that I wouldn't have if I didn't have these inserts. A couple more things to consider: Have your wife continue to see a GOOD physical therapist and you should cut down on the amount of weight you carry. I used to carry 55 lbs. or so but believe me, 28 lbs. is much better. You don't want to cause injury to YOUR joints. I hope your wife's health coninues to improve and that you both enjoy many more years together on the trails of the High Sierra. js hill



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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby Tom_H » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:56 am

I want to thank everyone who has replied for all your thoughtful responses. I am checking out all the trails suggested. I have ordered and received the Creaky Knees guides for N-CA, OR, & WA. I will be taking my wife to the Good Feet store in Sac. this weekend. We do cycle easy places for fun and gentle exercise, but don't think cycle camping would work for us. I love canoe camping and whitewater canoeing; I used to be a Red Cross canoeing instructor. Many years ago when we were young, I tried to teach my wife how to do all the outdoor activities I did. What I learned is that for some couples it is better to pay someone else to teach a spouse how to do some of those things. She did fine with backpacking and nordic skiing, but unfortunately, I was not the best person to teach my own wife downhill skiing and canoeing. The canoe just went in circles and she to this day hates downhill. I think her knees would stave up in the canoe anyway, but I DO appreciate the suggestion.

If anyone thinks of other trails or other ideas to suggest, please continue to offer them. Again, thank you all for your kind replies. Happy trails!
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby oleander » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:30 am

Hi,

It sounds like you live in the Bay Area. Where? I'm sure I can think of some flat-ish or gentle hikes around here. China Camp is a nice place for that.

And: Check out backpackinglight.com. Just sayin' :)

- Elizabeth
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby bluefish » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:48 am

Lots of excellent info. I'll add about a fourth vote for Little Lakes Valley, a second on desert hikes like Joshua Tree(phenomenal in April) and add for high trail heads- Horseshoe Meadows if you stay low and don't go up Trail or Cottonwood Pass. My wife and I both are up in age and joint deterioration. The insoles are VERY helpful. Ultralight backpacking principals have added years and miles also. I now carry about 30 with flyfishing gear included and my wife carries 17 for a 3-4 day trip. One more thing that we've found indispensable- trekking poles. We both use 2 all the time. May you and your wife enjoy many more trips together.
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby chrisdiercks » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:23 am

Hi Tom, although this is not exactly the "Sierra Nevada mtns.", Mt. Lassen is mostly rolling terrain with loads of volcanic features, trees, and lakes. Gets a fair amount of snow each year too.

Chris
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby Tom_H » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:27 am

oleander wrote:...It sounds like you live in the Bay Area. Where?...


Wilton is about 25 mi. SE of Sacramento, 10 mi. E of Elk Grove.
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby Tom_H » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:39 am

js hill wrote:....I stumbled upon some inserts for my shoes/boots called Good Feet (Goodfeet.com). These inserts have really helped reduce my knee pain and have increased my knee mobility and flexibility. They claim to help align your feet, ankles, knee, hip, and spine. I do know that my posture has improved. I also suffered from planters facitus but no longer. In addition my knee no longer "pops" when I hike. We live in the Southern California Mtns. and we hike about 4 times a week. I know I sound like a salesperson but I believe I have several more years of backpacking left in me that I wouldn't have if I didn't have these inserts.....l


J.S., we went to the Good Feet store today and bought the inserts along with a better pair of shoes. Nancy noticed a pronounced difference immediately. I spent several hours this afternoon and night reading about pronation, then about the foot's structure and how it works. She has large bunions (that don't hurt), which are caused by overpronation and I learned that overpronation also transfers misaligned stresses to the knees and hips. It sounds like a lot of her difficulties in the knee (and she has some hip pain too) might be related to her feet. This makes us think she needs to see a podiatrist, so when she sees the orthopedist in mid-January, she plans to ask about that, a chiropractor, as well as more physical therapy.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how well the inserts seem to be doing and to thank you for the suggestion. You may well have opened the door to some significant healing and added years of my wife's ability to enjoy hiking. We are grateful for what you have given us as well as grateful to this site for making this sharing of information possible.
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby mshst » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:34 pm

The trail around Tenaya Lake and Mirrow Lake in Yosemite NP are easy and flat. Taft Point and the Fissures trail near Glacier Point is a very easy one, too.
Also there are many easy trails in the Hiking in California guide book (link below) by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown:
http://www.amazon.com/Moon-California-H ... california
Wish your wife getting better sooner.
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby JBenz » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:24 pm

At 64, my knees are giving out for the long rock hopping treks I enjoy. However, I have been able to extend my experience by spending money to reduce back pack weight. I figure I only have another 6 years to keep pushing and what the heck its only money. My current 5 day cross country (river canyon rock hopping) solo is 27 lbs and 5 day duo is 23 lbs. Also, a big factor is distributing the tension on critical joints by taping/wrapping. I wear Ace knee support and do daily knee exercise.
Point being... look at other options. Shoes and insert are critical. Go see a good physical therapist or better yet someone specializing in active release therapy.

That said. I agree that the less elevation you have to deal with the better. Look at the desert (Death Valley).

Rivers in high Sierra. Check out the reservoirs/dams. Elevation gain is zero around them. Salt Springs reservoir to Blue Hole on the Mokelumne is six miles to great camping on the river with almost no people. In the same area look at Bear Reservoir, upper Bear reservoir, and Silver lake. Further south is Hetch-Hetche.

Wonderful day hikes are available through your local Land Trust. I really recommend getting involved with them.

Keep on pushing. Unk.
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby maverick » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:09 am

Hi JBenz,

Welcome to HST! Hope you post and share a TR of one of your adventures to the Sierra.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby Tom_H » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:36 am

Hi JBenz,

I appreciate the advice. I did invest in an entire new set of ultralight and super-ultralight gear, which has made a great difference for me. On one trip this summer, it was my daughter's knees that started hurting and I carried my pack on my back and hers on my chest from Gilmore down to Glen Alpine Spring.

It is my wife's knees that are in really bad shape. She has had injuries to both of them, has gone through surgery, series of cortisone injections, physical therapy, etc. She loves hiking, but the pain and swelling that follow have pretty much made her have to hang up her boots for anything more than a half-mile on completely flat ground. We did walk a half-mile on Pismo Beach this week.

I am fortunate that my knees are still in pretty good shape. Off trail is not as easy as it used to be and that rock hopping you mentioned isn't either. My lower back and stiff joints tend to be the biggest challenge. It takes me forever to get out of the bag in the morning and do enough stretching to get my boots on. When I finally get walking is when the pain goes away. Things hurt more sitting around than when moving!

I am also fortunate to have some dear friends with whom to hike. We did do Salt Spring Reservoir to Blue Hole (and back) on a day hike/fishing trip this spring. There are some big trout just above the inlet to the reservoir. (One guy on the other side got a strike on his first cast, fought the fish for 15 minutes, then pulled out a 22 inch rainbow!) We also saw rattlers on the way along the reservoir.

Interesting you mention the desert. We hope to retire in about 4 more years. We just bought a tiny 4 wheel drive off-road motorhome that can take fire service roads easily and even some of the not-so-difficult jeep roads. This way we can at least get to a few semi-remote mountain lakes to camp. We will also take it to Death Valley and other places in the late winter/early spring when the wild flowers bloom.

Thank you again for your post. It encourages me to see and read about others who continue to hike as the years roll by. I am always inspired by WanderingDaisy's prosaic trip reports. Welcome to High Sierra Topix; I look forward to reading more about your own adventures here in the future.

Tom
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Re: Needed: Gentler Trails for Those Growing Old

Postby Ska-T » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:29 pm

Consider following the progression of Ray Jardine as he faced gravity and advancing age. Early in adulthood he was a climber of vertical peaks. In late middle age he was a thru hiker over rolling terrain. Later he became a kayaker at sea level, and finally he skydived. He went from fighting gravity head on to completely submitting to gravitational forces. He's no dummy. :lol:
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