BWCA The aging of the Voyaguer-yes some of us are getting a tad older Boundary Waters Listening Point - General Discussion
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08/10/2022 12:05PM  
It is interesting data back than showed what we all know. I do think recently tho young people are coming back to the wilderness. Especially the female group which has increased dramatically. old data update

A 1969 survey found the average age of a visitor to the wilderness was 26. That increased to 36 in 1991 and 45 in the latest survey(2012), based on data obtained in 2007.
 
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08/10/2022 12:09PM  
 
08/10/2022 01:46PM  
We're doing our best to keep the average age high--when we did our first trip (1979) we were both 28. We have a 10-day trip scheduled in a couple weeks. We're now 71, trying to skew the data, and hope to keep skewing it for several more years.

TZ
 
08/10/2022 04:17PM  
TrailZen: "We're doing our best to keep the average age high--when we did our first trip (1979) we were both 28. We have a 10-day trip scheduled in a couple weeks. We're now 71, trying to skew the data, and hope to keep skewing it for several more years.

TZ"

Good reply. I am now 73. Maybe if we keep going, we can get the average up to 80 with God willing.
 
gravelroad
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08/11/2022 07:44AM  
I feel like I’m letting the side down with my “mere” 68. ;-)
 
missmolly
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08/11/2022 08:13AM  
I turn 66 this month. I was paddling last night and this morning. Because I paddled different lakes, I had to unload and load the canoe three times each. It's Kevlar, but it's still tough.
 
08/11/2022 10:21AM  
I’m sixty three, I have Parkinson’s and spinal stenosis. I’ve been reduced to using Kevlar canoes and leaving my wood/canvas canoes at home.
 
WHendrix
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08/11/2022 11:11AM  
I paddled (solo) 18 miles on the St. Croix yesterday. With the assistance of a light current and a very light tail wind I did that in 4.5 hours of actual paddling. I'll admit that I was pretty tuckered out toward the end. For the last couple of miles I pretty much let the current and the wind do most of the work since I was going to be at the takeout nearly 3 hours before the shuttle arrived. I'm 79 BTW.
 
08/11/2022 02:43PM  
I'm loving all the responses to the OP--Old Folks RULE!

TZ
 
Grandma L
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08/11/2022 04:39PM  
Well, now at 73, I have to modify what I do and/or have sherpas along on the journey. Leaving Saturday for a short BWCA adventure with the grandkids and a few of their friends. Those 20-something kids just fly across portages and put that canoe on and off the car like it was a feather. I am grateful for their help. They are grateful for my experience, knowledge and rafts of equipment for them to borrow. it is a good partnership!
My mom made her last trip at 75. I still have a couple of years to go.
 
RetiredDave
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08/11/2022 07:11PM  
I'm 72 and I still feel pretty good, though I'm a mere shadow of the 22-year-old who first paddled Quetico. I still solo every September, triple portaging and watching every step. As I age I still update equipment, if it makes sense and lightens my load, but even those purchases are slowing. I never know which year will be my final one paddling in the Boundary Waters. Why waste money:)

One year at a time, and I'm thankful for each one!

Dave
 
08/11/2022 07:33PM  
I”ll be 75 in a few months and still enjoy tripping. However, base camping and layover days are increasingly more common for me. In the last several years I have sold the Grumman, the 17’ Penobscot RX and the fiberglass solo. And when my brother wants to sell his 42# Wenonah Escape he will be giving me first dibs.
 
missmolly
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08/11/2022 09:31PM  
WHendrix: "I paddled (solo) 18 miles on the St. Croix yesterday. With the assistance of a light current and a very light tail wind I did that in 4.5 hours of actual paddling. I'll admit that I was pretty tuckered out toward the end. For the last couple of miles I pretty much let the current and the wind do most of the work since I was going to be at the takeout nearly 3 hours before the shuttle arrived. I'm 79 BTW."

You da man!
 
chessie
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08/12/2022 11:00AM  
We're 60 and 61. Arthritis has dramatically impacted my abilities. We've tried total base camping, and it just isn't the same, unless we get in some good day trips. Last year we did Gunflint east along border, then looped back to exit Clearwater. I had a day of pure misery with my back, probably after the Long Portage. I hope it's not my last 'long' trip. We try to pack smarter/lighter, and attempt to balance the need for new adventures with not ending up in so much pain it becomes no longer fun.
 
08/12/2022 11:34AM  
You guys give me hope for another few years of trips. At 62 I realize I don't have that much time left to go on extended trips. I'm wishing we'd discovered it at a younger age, but hopefully we can make the best of the trips we can still make. We can save overseas trips for when we need our rollaters.
 
08/12/2022 02:04PM  
chessie: "We're 60 and 61. Arthritis has dramatically impacted my abilities. We've tried total base camping, and it just isn't the same, unless we get in some good day trips. Last year we did Gunflint east along border, then looped back to exit Clearwater. I had a day of pure misery with my back, probably after the Long Portage. I hope it's not my last 'long' trip. We try to pack smarter/lighter, and attempt to balance the need for new adventures with not ending up in so much pain it becomes no longer fun. "

Sorry to hear about the arthritis and the related pain. I'll be the first to admit that our recent trips have included the use of lots of 'Vitamin I', and like you, we've worked hard to lighten the loads--kevlar canoe, carbon paddles, dried food, lighter tent, etc. I hope your trips are still fun for many more years.

TZ
 
08/12/2022 03:22PM  
They say age is just a state of mind--BS! I turned 72 in July and feel every wrong decision I ever made. Leaving for a 5 to 7 day solo on 8/27 so maybe not all my decisions are bad.
WHendrix is now my hero!!
 
dustytrail
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08/12/2022 03:50PM  
My Mom loved the bwca. I made sure she got a trip every year. My brother and I took her one September and we celebrated her 75th birthday on Fire Lake. My wife and I took her in 2013 and that would be her last trip. We lost her the next summer. After several knee surgeries it was hard for her to get around. I would pull the canoe as far up as needed and she used my paddle as a cane on portages. Both have scratches from this that I am glad to have. She would get herself across the portage and we would get the gear. Now I find myself relying on others to help with my gear.
 
naturboy12
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08/12/2022 06:41PM  
Please continue to be the one spot I frequent on the web where I get to feel like one of the young people!
 
08/12/2022 10:00PM  
I am really inspired by this thread. I’m 34 and I hope that means I have a at least 40+ more years of paddling left in me.

Keep going paddling heros!
 
08/13/2022 05:58AM  
63, I’m sitting on my deck at Zups on Lac La Croix , waiting to be shuttled to Black Robe as we speak…
 
Bearpath9
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08/13/2022 10:45AM  
I'm 63, and everyone of you "old" folks gives me a little inspiration and hope. Leaving tomorrow for a 5 night solo. Wood, Hula, Good, Hoist Bay and back. May go into Indiana for a night. Good is the goal to reach for the 1st night.
 
08/13/2022 11:57AM  
Bearpath9: "I'm 63, and everyone of you "old" folks gives me a little inspiration and hope. Leaving tomorrow for a 5 night solo. Wood, Hula, Good, Hoist Bay and back. May go into Indiana for a night. Good is the goal to reach for the 1st night."

Love that area! Been there twice this year and saw a bear both times...one at the entry point just prior to parking the truck before the fishing opener and the other at the campground in the narrows on Wood. Enjoy your trip!

To the more experienced trippers...your example is inspiring! I've crossed over into barely bringing the average age up with the intent to keep going strong for several decades! I am doing my part to help counter the average age increase by bringing my young children into the BW for annual trips. :)
 
08/13/2022 08:20PM  
Bearpath9: "I'm 63, and everyone of you "old" folks gives me a little inspiration and hope. Leaving tomorrow for a 5 night solo. Wood, Hula, Good, Hoist Bay and back. May go into Indiana for a night. Good is the goal to reach for the 1st night."

Indiana has Gin clear water. It is truly amazing. Hope you make it there.
 
jhb8426
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08/14/2022 10:31PM  
WHendrix: "I paddled (solo) 18 miles on the St. Croix yesterday..."

Bill. where did you put in and take out? I did the loop from Log House up to the RR bridge on the Monday before your trip (on 8/8). Flow at St. Croix Falls was 1900 cfs. The back channel was pretty shallow, had to pull the canoe about 100 ft in one spot. The upstream exit closest to the bridge was dry. Took the exit channel on the other end of the island about 200 ft. south of the upstream exit as that had plenty of water. The main channel was ok. Definitely needed the double blade paddle on the back channel.

That's quite a trip you took.
 
WHendrix
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08/15/2022 09:09AM  
jhb8426: "WHendrix: "I paddled (solo) 18 miles on the St. Croix yesterday..."

Bill. where did you put in and take out? I did the loop from Log House up to the RR bridge on the Monday before your trip (on 8/8). Flow at St. Croix Falls was 1900 cfs. The back channel was pretty shallow, had to pull the canoe about 100 ft in one spot. The upstream exit closest to the bridge was dry. Took the exit channel on the other end of the island about 200 ft. south of the upstream exit as that had plenty of water. The main channel was ok. Definitely needed the double blade paddle on the back channel.

That's quite a trip you took.
"


Hi Jack. I put in at Tylor Falls and took out at William O'Brian and did some dinking around trying to get into some of the back waters,especially at the place where you and I have been a couple ot times. I heard what sounded like some Sand Hill Cranes calling back in there that I wanted to see but, like you, couldn't get in there because of the low water. It was a nice trip. The weather was great, and I was the first person to launch at Taylor Falls so I saw almost no one until I got to Oceola Landing. And it was also devoid of people on down to WOB.
 
jhb8426
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08/15/2022 04:07PM  
Thanks, Bill, that's a nice route.
 
ockycamper
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08/15/2022 05:01PM  
I am 66 and most of our group is similar in age. I was looking at last year being my "last year". Then I took the shuttle with a couple of guys that had been coming up to Seagull/Alpine/Red Rock for 45 years in a row. They were late 70's. They also had a whole shuttle boat full of canvas Duluth canoe packs.

We checked on them towards the end of the week. They claimed they had basically stayed in camp as they were catching enough fish from the camp site for dinner every night.

That's when I changed my mind and decided it those two guys could make it to late 70's I could, enjoying life and lying about how many fish they caught to the younger guys going by!
 
08/15/2022 05:56PM  
ockycamper: "That's when I changed my mind and decided it those two guys could make it to late 70's I could, enjoying life and lying about how many fish they caught to the younger guys going by!"

Too funny! I suppose this is opposed to being a younger person going by and lying to the campers about how many fish caught while paddling!
 
RMinMN
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08/16/2022 07:04AM  
I turned 70 last December and this summer was the first that I didn't make it to Insula because a hip issue made portaging very painful and I couldn't stand carrying the canoe. Instead we (my wife, nephew, and nephew's buddy) went as far as Hudson. If the hip issue can be resolved I'm planning to be back in Insula next summer.
 
4keys
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08/16/2022 07:12AM  
I am 60 so hearing about everyone in their 70s who are still tripping is encouraging. However, after hiking the portage between Canoe Lake and Johnson Falls, and going up to the upper falls, then back to Canoe, my arthritic knees definitely reminded me that pain is real and overdoing something can affect later simple things like getting out of a canoe.
 
08/16/2022 04:47PM  
I'll be 62 this fall. Doing an 85 mile group solo with Kip and Suncatcher in sept. Retired this past January and hope to have many more trips yet.
 
chessie
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08/16/2022 07:44PM  
TrailZen: "chessie: "We're 60 and 61. Arthritis has dramatically impacted my abilities. We've tried total base camping, and it just isn't the same, unless we get in some good day trips. Last year we did Gunflint east along border, then looped back to exit Clearwater. I had a day of pure misery with my back, probably after the Long Portage. I hope it's not my last 'long' trip. We try to pack smarter/lighter, and attempt to balance the need for new adventures with not ending up in so much pain it becomes no longer fun. "


Sorry to hear about the arthritis and the related pain. I'll be the first to admit that our recent trips have included the use of lots of 'Vitamin I', and like you, we've worked hard to lighten the loads--kevlar canoe, carbon paddles, dried food, lighter tent, etc. I hope your trips are still fun for many more years.


TZ"

TZ thank you! I don't leave home w/out Vit I as well. Whatever it takes! Happy canoe trails to you as well!
 
jillpine
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08/16/2022 08:58PM  
Turned 56 this summer, and feel (like every summer) that I'm just getting started - carbon and kevlar, eternally according to Maven Miss Molly.
Sure hope so.

 
08/16/2022 09:33PM  
jillpine: "Turned 56 this summer, and feel (like every summer) that I'm just getting started - carbon and kevlar, eternally according to Maven Miss Molly.
Sure hope so.


"


Heck-you're still a puppy compared to many of us grey-haired dogs.
 
08/17/2022 01:58AM  
Well... 66 and unable to paddle because of my hands. Hopefully in a little over a month some surgery will relieve some pain. DISI deformity... I’ll lose function and strength some. But hoping I can build some of that back enough. But meanwhile I try to encourage and help others get into the places I loved. I’m so happy so many have been able to keep going back. And grateful for the young people that are keeping the canoe tripping life alive!
 
08/17/2022 09:13AM  
nctry: "Well... 66 and unable to paddle because of my hands. Hopefully in a little over a month some surgery will relieve some pain. DISI deformity... I’ll lose function and strength some. But hoping I can build some of that back enough. But meanwhile I try to encourage and help others get into the places I loved. I’m so happy so many have been able to keep going back. And grateful for the young people that are keeping the canoe tripping life alive!"

Ben, you have always been a shining light in helping people get introduced to the BWCA.
 
08/18/2022 07:05PM  
Pinetree:
Ben, you have always been a shining light in helping people get introduced to the BWCA."




Thanks, but there are many here that far exceed what I ever do. Great community of paddlers here. GrandmaL sounded pretty excited earlier today about her awesome trip. I picture a montage of young people carrying her in a screened in deal while she eats berries and chocolates... but she has introduced more young people then anyone I know.
 
LesliesDad
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08/19/2022 05:46AM  
I'm familiar with the problem. My wife turned 72 this year and is starting to complain when it's her turn to portage the canoe. I mean really? It can't be more than 70 lbs.

 
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