Remember that Nike slogan, “Just Do It?”

BoomerCafé’s Co-Founder and Executive Editor Greg Dobbs has always represented the image of a quintessential baby boomer man … an active lifestyle, an intellect driven by curiosity, and an unceasing drive. It all came together recently during a hike high in the Rockies.

by Greg Dobbs

It wasn’t aimed at baby boomers. Nike was looking for a younger demographic … people who would line up before dawn outside a shoe store to be the first to get the latest edition of some celebrity’s athletic shoe. That’s not us.

But in a different way, “Just do it” is us. Because as active baby boomers, that’s how we live our lives, as best we can. We haven’t taken to the rocking chair … not just yet, anyway. Our bodies will slowly yield to the forces of age but until they do, we’ll live as young as we fool ourselves into thinking we are. We’ll just do it.

My late mother used to watch how I live — the biking, the skiing, the hiking — and she’d say to me, “Gregory,” (she’d use the long form of “Greg” when she wanted to put an exclamation point on what she had to say), “You’re too old for that.” I couldn’t convince her that there is no such thing as “too old.” Sure, we’re too old to do a lot of things as fast or as well as we used to, but we’re not too old to do them.

Just last weekend, by way of example, my wife and I drove from near Denver to go to a wedding in the ritzy Colorado resort town of Aspen. There are a couple of routes to take but since it was late September and the aspen trees were in full Fall bloom, we chose the high route over the famous Independence Pass.

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Elevation at the summit is 12,095 feet, one of the highest continuous paved roads in America. (The highest is another road in Colorado, Trail Ridge Road, which takes you 12,183 feet high over the summit in Rocky Mountain National Park. And the highest road of all, which terminates at the top and isn’t continuous, goes nearly to the highest peak of Colorado’s Mount Evans, at 14,130 feet. You then hike from the car another 120 feet to the actual summit.)

On our drive down the west side of Independence Pass, we pulled into the first turnout which, according to the altimeter app on my phone, was at roughly 11,200 feet. There was a trailhead to a place called Linkin Lake. We didn’t know what it was or how it would look but older boomers or not, off we went.

It’s not for everyone. Bad knees can hurt you. Unsteady balance can topple you. Unacclimated lungs can stop you. But after a long drive and with a heavy menu of food and wine ahead of us at the wedding, we decided some exercise was prudent. So we told ourselves, Just do it. Especially when the views would encompass the splendor of the aspen trees changing color.

It was the right decision to make. The air was crisp (if thin), the views spectacular, even the ground cover was full of color. And as this screen shot of my altimeter shows, we summited.

Soon it will all be covered in snow. That’s how every autumn comes to its close on Independence Pass. But if your body will carry you, treks like ours are well worth doing. Wherever you are. Just do it.

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