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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climbing the Knife Edge @57

My dad recently celebrated his 57th birthday by taking a 10 hour hike up 5000 feet to Mount Katahdin and across its most dangerous and narrow ridge: The Knife Edge.

(Can't imagine traversing loose rock piles only 3 feet wide on the very top of a mountain? Watch this short video and you'll get the point pretty quickly).

I've always known my dad to be active and adventurous, and upon thinking about this impressive feat I realized how much physical endurance, dedication, and passion for life he has in order to accomplish this. He is absolutely a role model for me in my health and the ultimate inspiration for fitness and longevity.

I'm always curious about what motivates people to keep a continuous healthy lifestyle. How can I make sure I'm fit enough to climb a mountain on MY 57th birthday?!? Well, I asked the man who did it himself....

ELYSE: How long have you been hiking?

DAD: Since I went to the International Ranger Camp in Leysin, Switzerland, in 1962. I was 10 years old and hooked by seeing the Alps.

ELYSE: What was hiking the Knife Edge like?

DAD: Totally exhilarating...beautiful...wicked good! We were up 5000 feet traveling a narrow ridge about a mile from Baxter peak. There are several old codgers like myself up there, but mostly 20, 30, and 40 somethings.

ELYSE: How did you train for this hike?

DAD: I trained this summer with yoga classes, daily lake swimming, kayaking, biking, and 3 preliminary lower elevation mountain hikes. I was in good shape by early September.

ELYSE: How did exercise become part of your lifestyle?

DAD: My father and mother started yoga, stretching, and walking when they were in their 50's. They are now 94 and have a personal trainer for strength training and physical therapy for rehabilitation. My father still goes to the gym on his own to do leg presses. They are inspirational to me at their age, so I made exercise a priority in my lifestyle as well.

ELYSE: Do you think hiking/fitness/exercise keeps you feeling young?

DAD: Yes! Keeping the blood flowing like that is good for the body, mind, and spirit, which creates agelessness!!

ELYSE: Any advice you have for those of us who also want to climb a mountain at age 57?

DAD: The only thing between you and staying fit are the barriers you put up to exercise. I am not the most graceful or athletic person (they used to call me Mr. Peabody). I've had numerous injuries throughout my life, but I committed to the idea of starting to go for body toning & endurance, and stick to a meal plan geared to obtain my goals. I got a personal trainer and followed a program. There have been highs and lows, but I know now that I can do it. Truly, fitness is the key for alignment with self, energy, and longevity. It's a blast!

ELYSE: Wow, how true!
"Fitness is the key for alignment with self, energy, and longevity. "
You are such an inspiration.

Happy birthday and many many many more!!
Mount Everest at 75 years old perhaps?!?