For decades editors have told me not to use the word “elderly,” because it is both subjective and derogatory, an edict that I have afforded the same bland indifference with which I semi-acknowledge a dental hygienist who has just pressured me to floss.
But at a public hearing over a Ticonderoga public works project this week, a young woman was decrying new curbing that had facilitated the formation of ice and caused her to fall. She was OK because she was young, she said, but — and here she pointed to her neighbor, not much older than me — “this elderly gentleman” might not be as lucky.
He gave her a look, but didn’t say anything. I got to admit, though, that kind of stung. Still, the Adirondacks is filled with little hikes suitable for us elderly folk.
The lightbulb went off some years ago when I was helping a friend of a friend move to a new home. As I started to pick up one end of a sofa, a twenty-something quickly stepped in and said, “Let me get this for you, sir.”
Ding ding ding. This was something I could use to my advantage, and more noble than faking a bad back.
Even if you are a whippersnapper, mud season is a good time of year to stretch your legs on something easy and sustainable. The Nature Conservancy’s 120-acre Boquet Valley Preserve in Willsboro is a nice choice for a stroll, or to check out conditions on the Boquet River in anticipation of the coming salmon season.
Last Friday, we took the dogs and started off on Tim’s Trail, a hardened, 1.2 mile pathway named in honor of conservationist Tim Barnett, that’s accessible for strollers and wheelchairs. From there we dropped down on a footpath (take care not to follow the snowmobile trail instead) down to the Boquet.
The river was high but not flooded, and a small ice jam was beginning to break up in the late winter sun. In a few more weeks the salmon will be running, and you’ll likely to see all manner of people who have called in sick as word of the run travels through the Adirondack Telegraph made up of people hanging out at post offices, highway sheds and Stewart’s.
On this day the banks were empty of people, but populated with waterfowl that observed our passage without showing much interest. After walking upstream a little less than a mile, we — rather than walking through town back to the starting point — bushwhacked up a precipitous incline that put us on a piney plateau above the river.
It felt good to be outside, and we were able to cover most of the trails in not much more than an hour. Which is important for us elderly because it leaves plenty of time for a nap.
Photo by Tim Rowland