with 2 Comments

A lot of young people mean well.

They want to “help” us geezers by telling us we look younger than we are. Or that we can still do things we once did when we were younger.

But what a set-up for failure!

Get over it!

We are old! And getting older!

Why not encourage us to take advantage of that?

And find how enjoyable it can be.


Making Geezering Enjoyable

I see many geezers while hiking.  Most retire here because it’s an artsy community.

Some are golfers. Many are skiers.  But a lot are hikers.  And I have made friends with so many of them.

There are some outstanding athletic ones among them as well.

For instance, I loved meeting Susan Wylrie on a difficult trail last fall.

She’s at the door of geezer-hood. And seeming to love it.

She’s beautiful and has an enchanting smile, which seems to say,“Enjoy! You only get old once. It’s a nice place to be.”

I like that.

And I like that she’s a doctor who spreads that word to her patients.

She’s a geriatric psychiatrist — which means she is a doctor for geezers.

Not many physicians like doctoring to us geezers, for most of our treatment is not aimed at healing, so much as to giving us a pleasant way of living with our ailments.

I personally know about that.

I’ve had diabetes for forty years.

It isn’t like a head cold or twisted ankle.

All my physician can do is enable me to “live with it.”


Doctor Susan was out on an eight-mile climb to an eleven-thousand-foot elevation lake in the Pecos Wilderness.  She and her friend were on a practice hike for a month-long trek they would take with a Buddhist pilgrimage in the Himalayan Mountains.

We chatted and she said, “We ate our lunch at the edge of the lake realizing that was but half the elevation where we’d be eating our lunch in another couple of weeks!”

Yikes!  I’d never make that Himalayan hike at half her age.


Hiking Is My Passion

So okay, in my old age I can no longer climb Wheeler Peak by the Bull O’ the Woods trail, lunch on top and be down before dark.

But, you know what?

Wheeler Peak is one thing. So is the sweet luxury of lunching on the rocks on the West side of Divisidero Peak.

Or “The Vista” on the South Boundary Trail.

Both of which are a-fifth the length and elevation gain on the old Bull O’ the Woods trail to Wheeler.

Hey, people come from all over the world to hike up both Divisidero and the South Boundary trails. And I’m already here!

I’m enjoying lunching at so many pleasure spots on our 700 miles of trails out here.

Because I’ve loved hiking so much, I’m able to hike comfortably, enjoyably and cheerfully enough all year round — mountains in summer, foothills in spring and fall, canyon and mesa in winter.

What more could there be to life!


I Can Hike Virtually Anywhere

One thing about hiking is its universality. A third of Americans say they like to hike several times a year.

Wherever I am, whatever terrain, I can always go outdoors for a walk.

Golfers do not have that luxury. Nor do swimmers, hunters or fishermen and fisherwomen.

Golf links are just not that accessible. Nor are tennis courts, swimming pools or brooks.

Now please!

Please don’t tell me about spas!

I’ve tried them many times. In many venues. And to me at least, they are so, so boring!

Regardless of what I can watch on a screen while I work out on a treadmill — it is just that, “work,” spa work.

I know. I shouldn’t knock it. So many of my friends are addicted to it!

So okay, to each his own.

Fortunately, I have my own — my hiking. Even city streets are good for an afternoon walk.

I have to hand it to New Yorkers for their use of subways.

That is a daily work out that has to be as good for their heart as hiking is for mine.  I know, for I did some forty years of it in The City.


Enjoyable Can Be So Good For You

Another reason for hiking is that it is the most sustainable of all physical exercise routines. More people stay with their walking or hiking than are able to stay consistently with any other type physical exercise.

And hey, it is enjoyable!

I recall one long period of time that I’d not gone hiking.  When I arrived at the trail head for the first time after that, I felt so exhilarated I threw my hands heavenward shouting out, “Thank you, God!”

It is the one exercise that the American Heart Association claims is best for keeping your heart healthy.

How much walking do you need to do to keep your ticker ticking?

Get this, walk or hike just two-and-a-half-hours a week and you’ll lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, “All you have to do is lace up a pair of sneakers — and walk.  It’s that easy. It’s also the least expensive and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise.

It is not a skill-dependent form of activity. And it’s the most accessible. You can do it almost anywhere.  And it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

Before you know it, walking can become a part of your daily routine  And you’ll reap plenty of benefits.”

So that’s my Geezer Manifesto for Today!


Don’t Miss My Posts.

Subscribe FREE to Backpacking Footnotes

2 Responses

  1. Heidi Sparkes Guber
    | Reply

    Dearest Geezer Bill
    I LOVE this one… Brilliant and so true…. As a person on the door of geezer-hood, I am loving this part of life… Appreciating others in whatever stage they’re in and not having to change mine; learning everyday, especially about how beautifully the body prepares us to return home. Appreciating the health Zev and I do have, and other dear friends like Erica, with whom we hike often and should bring up to you for a hiking visit! My father had a personal renaissance from the age of 95 to almost 101 because he understood and shared that ‘you only get old once…” He used every minute to celebrate, to appreciate, to love and to take care of himself and others. What a gift!
    Sending you and Joy love, thanks and best wishes in this bright new year!

    • BackpackerBill
      | Reply

      My dear Heidi-ji,
      I know! You and Zev are two of our very best geezering friends. We’d love to hike with you and Erica, whose also become a good friend. Come spend the day with us.

Leave a Reply