Now is the time to wander among the world’s largest trees. Wildfires in central California for the past few years have decimated their numbers, so seeing these thousand-year-old natural wonders up close is, today more than ever, a privilege.
In the spring and summer, he trained two to four hours a day, six days a week, running daily and carrying 60 pounds of water up a 4,000-foot peak near his home in Seattle twice a week. “All the research has shown that 80 percent of training for alpine ascents needs to be long duration and low intensity, to build a huge foundation of endurance,” Swenson says. “There are no shortcuts to this. There’s no thirty-minute-a-day gym workout. You have to have the discipline to put the time in.”
As an older climber, when I go out and train on any particular day, my big goal is to not get injured. In my twenties and thirties, I would push through a tight muscle or minor pain, but now I just stop. It’s not worth it. The most important thing is to be able to come back tomorrow.”
(Steve) Swenson laments the common scenario for many older people, who often work too much, exercise too little, and find themselves unhealthy during their golden years. “Imagine spending all your years looking forward to retirement and you can’t enjoy it,” Swenson says.
I wake up early and start my day by turning my coffee into a meal. I’ll pull three or four shots of dark-roast espresso and add one scoop of my custom-blend coconut-milk creamer, one scoop of turmeric creamer, a teaspoon of ghee or raw butter, a half-teaspoon of fair-trade red palm oil, a teaspoon of raw coconut, and a mushroom blend that includes shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, and cordyceps. I emulsify the combination until it’s smooth and drink it before I head out to my morning surf or training session.
Midday I usually eat enough for two, because I haven’t had solid food since the evening before. I build my lunch around a serving of high-quality animal protein, like sustainable local fish or chicken. I’ll eat it on a bed of lettuce, cabbage, or kale, topped with avocado or crushed macadamia nuts and dressed with olive oil and vinegar. If it’s available, I’ll add raw-milk cheese to the salad. I try to get my carbs mostly from vegetables. When I’m in Hawaii, I’ll indulge in mashed purple sweet potatoes with coconut milk. While traveling, I do my best to enjoy what’s seasonal or indigenous to that particular location.