When I first began hiking the PCT (in sections) I was 65 years old and had never backpacked. Sure, there had been plenty of local day hikes here and there. But my first ever backpack trip started at the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail.
A friend asked me why I’m doing this. The immediate answer rolled off my tongue without a thought. “Because I can.”
I’ve thought about that answer many times, wondering if it sounded smug or conceited. To some it probably did. After much consideration, I believe what I really meant was “Because I’m able.”
Today, while watching the YouTube of a fellow senior hiker, The Hiking Rev, one of the things he said struck me like lightning. When asked why he hikes, he said my exact words.”Because I can!” I’m not the only one who spoke the words! Yay! (I’m not entirely conceited!)
It made me feel validated and vindicated because my choice of words were echoed by another senior hiker.
At 65, I’m sure many in this age group have experienced family members, friends, and acquaintances who became disabled or died. It’s not something we want to acknowledge or dwell on for ourselves. Our days are numbered and our bodies are wearing out. This fact motivated me to backpack, because “I’m able and I can.”
The decision was made. I will seek adventure with a pack on my back while I am able.
Are you able?