Last week I shared a photo on social media of three friends of mine on the Sierra High Route. What I didn’t mention is that two of the ladies pictured, namely Christy “Rockin” Rosander and Nancy “Why Not” Huber, are 58 and 63 years young respectively.
I mention their ages now because I think it’s a great example of one of the things I love about hiking; the irrelevancy of how old you are out in the backcountry.
Let’s take a closer look………..
Rockin’ & Why Not just finished one of the toughest hikes in the lower 48 states. More importantly, they had the time of their lives in doing so. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Sierra High Route, it’s an approximately 195 mile largely cross country trek through California’s highest mountain range. It traverses thirty-three passes by way of boulder fields, talus slopes, granite slabs and the occasional meadow or lake basin. It ain’t no walk in the park; metaphorically, rather than nationally speaking (shout out to Yosemite & Sequoia/Kings Canyon).
So, what’s Rockin’ & Why Not’s secret? How did they do it?
Their secret is that there is no secret.
Both are experienced hikers that are constantly looking to improve and challenge themselves. They make a concerted effort to stay in shape all year round by eating healthily and exercising regularly. When out in the boonies, they travel as lightly as the dictates of safety allow. And most importantly, they share an unconditional love of spending time in the wilderness irrespective of the terrain or season.
No fad diets or fitness crazes, no new-agey “long distance hiking is really 90% mental” approaches here.
Wilderness lifers such as Rockin’ & Why Not exemplify that there are no shortcuts to hiking longevity. No “late 50’s and beyond” backpacking silver bullets. Put in the work, spend as much time as you can out in the woods and develop an enduring appreciation of the natural world. Insert ironic voilà here.
Almost forgot; when it’s time to celebrate at journey’s end, be sure to put your feet up and enjoy a post-hike libation whenever possible!