Getting older and paddling risks

We started doing trips at age 10 (in 1960) to get ready for Boy Scouts. We joined up by age 11. By age 12 we were doing trips without adults for a week. “Advancement” was not something we paid much attention to. I had a lot of fun, but our troop folded before I finished First Class. Then we joined up with the Christian Service Brigade. Then we had the Boy Scouts with scripture. Then we discovered girls and quit.

As a youth I as in scouting only for a couple of years until my troop folded. not great leadership there, so I did not advance very far.
But when my son came of age I joined as an assistant SM, my wife was committee chair after her den mother years. My son and his best buddy growing up advanced through all the ranks together, both getting Eagle at a common ceremony. My son went to and graduated from the Air Force Academy, his friend did the same from West Point. My son went on to fly F-16 fighters, retiring with 20 years to become an airline pilot, and his bud is on the Army one star general’s list now. A couple of years ago my son joined both of his two sons, both now Eagles, on a Philmont week long trek.

Thirty years ago I became an instructor for an 8-day BSA National Camp School based high adventure trek leader training program in the Adirondacks, and have taught land navigation and canoeing in that program every year since to young adults who work as wilderness guides leading treks from BSA resident camps.

At Age 71, I have also been canoe racing, 25 times on the Adirondack 90 miler and including 1000 mile and 440 mile races on the Yukon River five times so far.

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I think one of the challenges with aging is that it gets more risky to do too much OR too little. Too much and too little start getting closer together.

My father in law had a heart attack in his late 50’s. He turns 95 next month.


That’s pretty darn good. Did he make any changes to diet/exercise after the attack? Does he paddle?

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Yep, you are spot on in my opinion. I like going to the YMCA because I think it’s energizing to be around others that are all on unique self-improvement plans. But if someone wants to use a coach to jump-start their level of activity I think that’s just fine, plus coaches are often subject matter experts that one can learn from. Just yesterday I heard one say “exhale on the work” and although I happened to be doing it right I find it helpful to be reminded. Even though I’m happy with my routine I’d be tempted to hire one of the fitness coaches that’s fresh out of school just to learn from them.

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He sold his business, retired, and let go of work-related stress. I think he made a conscious decision not to worry about some things. Although he’s a former Olympian (800 meters, 1948) he’s really not very active but he’s always controlled his weight pretty well through diet. Or maybe scotch is super good for you.

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You’d be surprised how many mistakes you make. The biggest element to avoiding fall risk in the elderly is gluteus maximus strength. Can you feel your glutes? Do you use your glutes? Have you ever? Most people don’t. It requires a certain amount of flexbility and not crazy hard exercises but most people wouldn’t think to do that and most people “cheat” making the exercise easier and not accomplishing its intended purpose. This isn’t bollocks my trainer is telling me either but stuff you read in medical journals and I will leave it at that.

I am nearly 40 years younger and started to get pretty unsteady even in my late 30’s. Made a world of difference. I can feel my glutes working all the time now. If you feel like your mobility or steadiness is starting to suffer you’re definitely at risk for fall and that could prematurely end a very nice existence you’re carving out for yourself.

Expensive, but a hydrolic rack makes getting the kayak on and off much easier (mine is 75 lbs - so it makes a big difference). Before that, I put the cart on the back of my kayak, lifted the bow onto the rear rack, rolled the kayak up until I could left the stern and slide it the rest of the way up. If it doesn’t slide - put wax paper on the rack. Use leverage and not strength. I got the hydrolic because my 92 year old dad insisted on helping and my little wagon was over his head. He kayaked until he was 93, didn’t make it this last year - he has gotten too stiff. I am not that strong, so use leverage and wheels when I can.


Positioning the boat close enough to your vehicle and then only needing to lift half the weight onto the roof is effective and simple. The cost of a Thule Hullavator is the better part of $1K which is more than my old kayak is worth. I think most of my kvetching about weight is just an excuse to justify spending a few thousand bucks for a new pack canoe😊.


My layaks are older. So is my back at the end of a paddle. Hull8vatoe helps.

I am your size and have an S14S g2. The problem I had to overcome was my right leg doesn’t flex well and stays on push. Not good with rudder control unless you like going in circles.
Castoff helped me freeze the peddles and I paddle with the rudder down. It adds to stability and I can easily turn the boat with a little body english and a paddle.