Dave Pine loves a challenge, especially if it’s cardio focused.
The 88-year-old is more active than many. He turns 89 in October.
Most of his days start with walking his four-year-old miniature goldendoodle, Scooter.
Pine lives at the Heron’s Key retirement community in Gig Harbor with his wife, Barbara. The complex has a fenced dog park that Pine and Scooter walk to.
Others days they’ll walk the path around the facility, the Cushman Trail, or Peacock Hill.
Walks with Scooter are not the only way Pine pushes himself physically.
A fellow resident at Heron’s Key told Pine about a backpacking trip in the mountains he’d be leaving for in July. The seven-day trip in the Cascades was about 30 miles.
Pine jumped at the opportunity to go when the man offered him a spot.
The group was a mixture of men and women, age 70 and up, from across the state. Pine was one of the oldest.
There were also a few cowboys on horses that came along to help with navigation. Mules helped transport camp equipment.
“I probably wouldn’t have been able to carry my own pack of 50-plus pounds,” Pine said. “It was beautiful, rugged, cross country.”
Together they spent seven days traveling, getting to know each other, and taking in the views of the Cascade Mountains.
Pine loved the camp fire conversations at the end of the nights.
“The first day was glorious,” Pine said. “We hiked the Pacific Crest Trail near Lake Chelan. At some point we could look down and see the lake.”
They hiked about 8 miles the first day. Pine said he slowed down near the last hour of it.
The group nicknamed the leader “Mountain Man,” Pine said.
Mountain Man turned around and came back for Pine with a horse.
Pine rode the rest of the way to camp on the horse, named Runner.
“I really did not want to get on the horse,” Pine said. “I wanted to complete it. But I was glad I took the lift after all.”
Pine made it back just in time for a dinner of veggies, chicken strips, and shrimp that had been fried up.
Other nights they had steaks, Pine said.
There was also peach cobbler for dessert, which is Pine’s favorite.
The group slept in tents. Pine had his own, he said.
They stopped at three different campsites, all of which they spent two days at.
“Two days each was good, because then we didn’t have to pack up all our stuff every day,” Pine said.
The first day consisted of getting to camp. The second day consisted of doing a day hike or exploring if they felt up for it.
Most layover days, Pine would explore on his own.
They’d camp near meadow areas for the animals, which meant “beautiful spots with flowers blooming,” Pine said.
After returning from the trip on July 30, Pine said he was slow to get back into walks with Scooter and it took him about a week to feel well rested.
Pine hasn’t decided if he’ll join the group again next year.
“It was great to get back hiking again,” he said. “I hadn’t done it for about 50 years.”
Before moving to Gig Harbor, Pine lived in California and would backpack in the Sierra Nevada. He hasn’t done as much hiking since moving here, he said.
Marathons and other things
In recent years, Pine has also participated in local races.
“I had never done a marathon,” Pine said. “Then something inside me wanted to do the Tacoma City Marathon in 2018.”
He decided he would walk the marathon.
About two-thirds of the way through the 26 miles, he realized no one else was behind him and he couldn’t see anyone in front of him.
He said there had been water stations set up for the day, but by the time he reached them they were gone.
When he hit Point Ruston, Barbara met him with a peanut butter sandwich.
“It was a mistake to do that because I slowed down for the last few miles of the marathon,” Pine said.
No one was there to give Pine his metal for completing the race. But, after contacting organizers, they mailed him one.
Not long after, he also did the Sound to Narrows 10K race.
“I loved the views on that walk,” Pine said.
As of right now, he doesn’t have any big adventures planned.
For now, all he has planned are walks with Scooter.
How does he do it?
Pine said he’d always been a runner.
Now he’ll walk any chance he gets, he said.
“A good walk is all you need,” Pine said. “If you have some exercise equipment, that helps keep the weight off.”
When they first moved into Heron’s Key, they’d attend exercise classes offered at the facility.
Moving around the house and doing tasks, like vacuuming, also keeps Pine active, he said.
He suggests staying away from fast food, and eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
“But, I’m no expert,” Pine said.
This story was originally published August 16, 2023, 5:00 AM.
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