About ten years ago, I volunteered to lead hikes for College for Seniors, now OLLI, at UNC-Asheville. I wanted to introduce the over 50 crowd to hiking in Western North Carolina and not so subtly, encourage them to join Carolina Mountain Club after the course.
I carefully chose six to eight-mile walks with moderate ascent, all the while reminding the students that we were in the mountains. Even downtown Asheville isn’t flat.
A few terms later, after a rocky six-mile walk, a student – a man over fifty, by definition – complained to the director that I had chosen hikes that weren’t appropriate for seniors. I wasn’t asked to lead for College for Seniors again. If you can fire a volunteer, I was fired!
So, it was with curiosity and a little trepidation that I opened the first issue of Senior Hiker, a glossy magazine published by Deer Isle Press, a small publishing house on the coast of Maine.
I need not have worried. Articles range from adventures in the White Mountains to pushing the limits off-trail in the Catskills. Mile for mile, these are difficult hikes, much more challenging than those in the Southern Appalachians.
In my previous life, I spent 35 years in New Jersey hiking with the Appalachian Mountain Club. My husband and I finished the Catskills 3500 (summer and winter) the New Hampshire 4000 footers, and a bunch of other hiking challenges.
The article on how I became a senior hiker spoke to me.
The irony is that even though I was older, I felt in better shape and was better prepared setting out than I had been twenty or thirty years earlier.
I’ve had the pleasure of now reading the first four issues. As the issues progressed, the content expanded from the Northeastern U.S. to the Tetons, Glacier and even Santa Fe. The articles span from coyotes to snakes.
After Sharon McCarthy, my hiking partner on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail across North Carolina, flipped through the magazines, she said,
“I enjoyed the exotic hikes the best. Who knew there was hiking in Cuba?”
The magazine has potential.
Their first issue only had 50 pages, but 82 pages by Issue 4. Beautiful glossy pictures show active seniors with good equipment and well-shod – no one had an external frame packs.Senior Hiker partners only with nonprofit organizations and has no commercial ads.
The editor and graphic artists have also thought about other factors. The font is a little larger than in similar magazines, but most important most of the text is black on white background. No funky color combinations that are unreadable by folks at any age.
After reading four issues, I realized that I had not encountered breathless words like badass, suck, cool, wicked, or … you get the idea.
You can read an article or two online. But the magazine is meant to be read in print and saved. See their website.