by Diane Spicer
Older hikers, welcome!
You're an official member of the trail sages!
Lots of life lessons in your hiking tool kit, right?
I have a heartfelt message for you, from me as an older hiker:
You've reached an age anywhere over forty years, and are celebrating the fact that older hikers deserve a bit of recognition, and a touch of special treatment.
In America, we're dominated by media messages telling us that the older we get, the weaker & less worthwhile we become.
I learned to ignore that junk years ago.
I bet you did, too.
Out on the trail, it doesn't matter what color mascara I have on (to be honest, I haven't used a mascara wand in 3 decades).
Or if my lipstick is settled into the creases in my lips. Again, only a theoretical problem, since I don't wear it anymore.
It doesn't matter if my legs are
smooth and waxed, if my eyebrows are plucked just so, if my frown lines
are covered up, or if my shirt matches my
You see, older hikers have gotten over ourselves.
It means our priorities are focused on what matters on a hike.
Take me as an example.
What does matter on a hike is how strong I am, how prepared I feel, and where I'm going:
Older hikers are not about smashing speed or endurance records.
At least, I'm not!
I go as slowly or quickly as I want to along a trail, not bothered by trying to compete or impress.
If my feet hurt, I take a break.
If I spot a flower or rock I've never seen before, I stop and look at it!
Such wisdom... and it only took 4+ decades to beat it into my head :)
I recall Kermit the Frog singing about how it's not easy being green.
It's not easy getting older as a hiker, either, dear Kermit.
But we can do a lot to stay in top form for the trail.
To get started, read about elder hiking & some smart tips for managing in an aging hiker's body here.
Or keep reading to discover tips and trail wisdom in several categories:
I'm hoping you'll find these topics to be useful as you age gracefully as an older female hiker.
Self care grows more important as your hiking body accumulates birthdays.
Treat yourself right with these tips:
The older I get, the funnier things seem to me.
Is this true for you, too?
I am so grateful that I can finally laugh a little at myself, and see the humor in situations that twenty years ago would have seemed very grim.
When I look in the mirror and see my laugh lines, I know that I'm a woman who can appreciate a good joke.
So I'll share sources of humor here.
And I extend an invitation for you to send me your favorite trail humor, using this CONTACT link.
What makes you laugh, on or off the trail?
What sort of trail silliness do you get up to?
You've gotta have heart if you're a hiker.
By heart, I mean courage.
Not only courage, but compassion,
loving kindness, and a bit of a feisty spirit!
I've shared sources of inspiration for older hikers - examples of outdoorsy women who pushed beyond themselves to achieve something they believed in.
I use these women as examples of what I want to be when I'm "really" old... which I define as 20 years into the future, regardless of what each birthday adds to my cumulative years on Earth.
If you're craving a community, why not join our very own Over Forty Hiker private hiking community of women hikers?
We may not be famous, but we're fun!
Let's put our collective wisdom together to celebrate our savvy, smart, still-going-strong selves.
And let's share skill building tips, sources of training and information, and things that are particularly useful for making us smart(er) about trail safety and comfort.
P.S. I'd love to learn about what YOU love about hiking!
The outdoor school of Hard Knocks.
That's where the resources on this website come in.
I've poured out what's in my head after 50 years on the trail, and invite you to find what you're looking for in two different ways:
Yes, let's just admit right here that as we age, we become stronger and smarter hikers.
And we also have constraints we need to work with to keep ourselves going.
We can do it! Trail time is priceless and well worth an effort so we can keep going ... back for more adventures.
Thanks for being a hiker. You rock!