Last year was a parade of disasters both physically and otherwise but I still managed to get back to Africa and also hunt with my brother in Montana. COVID restrictions made obstacles that would have been nearly impossible to overcome in normal circumstances way over the top. I managed to get appendix, gallbladder, and hernia surgeries when the hospital was locked down for everything but emergencies. That required some creativity and lots of travel. The barrel on my old Springfield finally gave up the ghost when no replacements were available due to COVID. I found a good used one on ebay but our two local gunsmiths retired/died so I had to run it across the border to have the head space set by some clown "gunsmith" in Superior, Wisconsin. He never finished the job so four days before leaving for Africa I had to drive down and literally take it from him, then drive to Minneapolis for border crossing COVID test, then all the way north to Red Lake, ON where a retired mine machinist put the barrel on and set the headspace. In the meantime I had been making a huge daily nuisance of myself to get the Canadian govt to process the temporary export permit for my rifle. Applied in April and it finally arrived the week before the trip in August. Govt workers were on 1.5 year coffee break working at home during COVID! Then I get the airline requisite COVID test for Africa trip at the hospital only to discover two days before the flight they won't put my name on the results. Can't board a plane with that so I drove seven hours to Minneapolis VA Hospital for test and then returned home in the middle of the night a few hours before the flight. By the time I arrived at the lodge in South Africa I hadn't slept in six days. I was tripping over the bags under my eyes. But it was worth it. What a time! I saw a couple thousand animals and shot eleven including a massive bull buffalo. In Montana we struck out on elk again but the country was beautiful. Unfortunately our trip was cut short when my brother's diabetic left eye blew out. I took a so-so muley buck so he could hurry home for surgery. He wouldn't leave till I tagged out. Required about three hours hunting and almost as long for me to drag it to the road (two months after hernia surgery). I stayed another month hunting pheasants with my dogs, walking my arse off almost every day ... and loving every minute!
Never give up.
I hear that. On a 10 day backpack elk hunting trip in Co one year, eating trail mix and freeze dried meals, hiking 5-10 miles a day I lost 12 pounds. Since then I try to up my caloric intake. My biggest issue is staying hydrated. I’m not a big water drinker and I tend to try to conserve water . There is something about high altitudes that help to dry me out. I am going to double my on person water this year and try liquid IV.72 in July. Like @hank4elk, 3+ mile solo pack outs are over but I believe I can do up to 2 miles in the right terrain. That's because I work my ass off staying in shape. I hike with my weighted pack on 3 days a week and now that Nevada's idiotic indoor mask mandate is over, I hit the gym hard 3 more days a week. But I ache, all the time. Ugh
The hardest part for me when I'm hunting is keeping weight on. I have a bad habit of not eating and losing strength as the hunt goes on.
For us older guys, it's simply a matter of asking ourselves how bad do we want it and embracing the suck to get there.