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No more backpacking! What next?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:54 pm

I expect to be so successful in my next career that I will be able to hire strong young people to carry me into the mountains on a sedan chair.

Half Dome is probably out, though.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby frediver » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:40 am

oldranger wrote:My hope is to drop dead on my last solo trip, get devoured by a bear, and end up as bear ****! :)

Seriously!

Mike

Agree
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:48 pm

I honesty will work my hardest to backpack at a very advanced age. If in fact I do last long enough for my body to be broken down enough not to allow backpacking, I have plenty of intellectual pursuits that do not require moving around (plus drinking beer and wine don't take too much physical effort). I will cope, just as I did when I had to quit playing basketball, something I thought I would never be able to do without---this still bothers me to some extent of course. "Daddy go up and dunk" "Son, I can't even jump over a dime, anymore". "PLEEEEZE..." "If I try, I will probably end up in a hospital". For someone who once a high-flyer, this hurts, but one of the reasons I gave up playing was so that my backcountry years would be extended. I hope I don't have to worry about giving up backpacking, but if I ever do, I'll figure it out.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:33 pm

Wonderful post giantbrookie. The "I hope I don't have to worry about giving up backpacking, but if I ever do, I'll figure it out." sums up my attitude. As I mentioned in Maverick's Trip Planning thread, when I can't do the gnarly stuff any more, I'll do the easy cross country and when I can't do that car camping or staying in a cabin. While becoming a bear's meal is appealing on one level, I think my wife and son wouldn't like living with that memory of my demise. I have considered staggering out with my walker or cane into the middle of Tuolumne Meadows at sunset and consuming lots of bourbon, some potent marijuana, cocaine, and, if still needed, a handful of the prescription drugs I will probably be under doctor's orders to consume on a daily basis.
Last edited by LMBSGV on Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby mokelumnekid » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:35 pm

Like you all, backpacking is a joy that is special- but I guess I tend to be forward looking in that there are always new things to do and try in many venues of experience. If I find that physical infirmity prevents me from backpacking I'm confident that I will be able to revision my experience of the world to provide engagement, delight and surprise in equal measure. To be honest it isn't the prospect of not backpacking that sobers me, but to have experienced the loss of dear friends and companions, these are dimensions of loss that chill me most.

An anecdote on courage and grace in aging. I have been 'learning' to blow glass for almost ten years and it is freakin' hard. I've barely gotten past not sucking, let alone being any good. But anyway, one day a few years back I was in a make-up class and I was paired with a beginner. "Oh s-t," I thought to myself, this is the worst as working with a beginner guarantees that a complicated piece will fail (team work is essential). Anyway, this beginner was a 75+ year old woman, who was pretty shaky. I thought "My god, how will I keep her from injuring herself? Let alone having any kind of constructive experience." Well we set to work, and I resolved to help her be as successful as possible, even correcting some of her mistakes when she wasn't looking. But still, her piece was awful- wonky, kind of collapsed on one side, colors all wrong. But as we finished she looked straight at me, and said, "Isn't this beautiful?" Well gang, I lost it, I walked straight out in the alley behind the hot shop and burst into tears. That woman SCHOOLED me, and I am forever in her debt. She understood through the fading skill of touch and sight, that the act, the urge to create, to find the courage to go into that environment, to stand before all and seek that connection, regardless of the outcome, was where the beauty and grace existed. Talk about angels visits!

I never saw her again, and I wish I had that clumsy, chunky piece she made. So that I could have a reminder that as time turns us back inward to ourselves, that the touchstone of essential experience is still there.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby quentinc » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:56 pm

MK, lovely story. I'd hope to have even a fraction of that lady's level of self-acceptance and contentment when I reach 75.

Otherwise, I'm so frightened by this thread that it motivated me to go out and do my interval sprints (part of my alleged new training regime). At the end of my last interval, I clung to the hood of a parked car, doubled over, gasping for breath, on the verge of puking my guts out, and I thought to myself: "isn't this beautiful?" :)
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby hikerduane » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:09 pm

My neighbor who in the 70's and 80's went out unsupported for a month at a time hasn't had a pack on in years. He is in his early 60's now. He is a woodworker, can build about anything. His knees and mostly his hips are shot. He has had replacement surgery, so has some visions of borrowing my gear for a shot at least one night out. His is hulkier than me, so will be a miracle if my gear works for him. I don't know what I will do with my time, volunteer when I get older and am retired. Not sure I'll be doing this that much longer and I'm only 57. Was hoping to bag Whitney in my 80's. :)
Piece of cake.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby dave54 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:53 pm

I feel myself nearing that stage with each passing year. My joints no longer tolerate cold now, so even my mid winter day hikes must await fairer weather.

Besides the aforementioned horsepacking, there is mountain bikepacking. And of course car camping as a base, with day excursions. Or paddling. California does not have the extended wilderness waterways the eastern part of the country enjoys, but there are some limited opportunities here.

I still have a couple of dream trips penciled out that do not involve backpacking -- one of them a west to east paddle from Voyageurs NP through BWCA and Quetico to the easternmost point in BWCA (3 weeks?). I may never get there, but what a dream! :D
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:04 pm

Sounds good. You buried yet? In snow?:)
Piece of cake.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby dave54 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:52 pm

3 feet or so. 6 degrees this morning.

Too many of my neighbors and friends complain of the snow. But I look forward to the summer. Maybe this year the lakes will stay full, the creeks will keep flowing, and the meadows won't turn brown. Droughts suck.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:16 pm

I wasn't home this weekend, went snow camping by Loon Lake, so I'll see this coming weekend how much we got. A week ago, we had 22" by Saturday AM of the fresh stuff.
Piece of cake.
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Re: No more backpacking! What next?

Postby Cross Country » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:29 pm

Having experienced most of what the HST writers here have written I have this to say. What giantbrookie wrote sums it up best! It not only sums it up best but it's what, I think, most of you will do. I believe that even if you don't want to, you'll have to.
Last edited by Cross Country on Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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