Should Seniors Pay More For National Parks?

Besides being able to snag early bird specials and senior discounts at museums, there isn’t exactly a laundry list of tangible perks when it comes to aging. But one benefit – the ability to purchase a lifetime access pass to all U.S. national parks for just $10 – might soon go away.

CNN is reporting Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, questioned whether or not aging Americans could afford upping the economical, one-time fee during a House Oversight hearing on forced cuts at parks, museums and archives. According to the news outlet, the National Park Service is currently facing a $153 million budget gap, and simply doubling the price of a senior pass could potentially gain the agency $10 million per year. It’s only a fraction of the amount of money needed, but it’s a start.

Currently, adults under the age of 62 can purchase a multiple-park pass for $80, but it only lasts a year. At $10 for life, the senior pass gets older people into all 391 national parks, monuments, battlefields, military or historical parks, seashores, recreation areas, rivers and trails. So what do you think? Will hiking up the fee really cause dissension amongst retirees, or could it be a simple, affordable way to get more money flowing into national parks? Weigh in below.

[Photo credit: Jkinsocal / Wikimedia Commons]

71-Year-Old Grandmother To Bike From Russia To France

After having traversed Russia no fewer than 16 times by bike, what’s next? For 71-year-old grandmother Yulia Mikhailyuk, the next step is a bicycle journey from the western Russian city of Tver to Paris, France.

According to Russia Today, Ms. Mikhailyuk, a former physical education teacher, took up biking only after her 50th birthday as something to do after retirement. Since then, she has cycled her way across the largest country in the world 16 times, riding from dusk until dawn, stopping only for half-hour meal breaks and to sleep in a tent along the roadside.

The trip to Paris is a new challenge for the senior cyclist, who is making the trek to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Russian victory over France in the Napoleonic War of 1812. Ms. Mikhailyuk expects the 2,867-kilometer (1,781-mile) Tver to Paris bike trip to take approximately two months to complete.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes conquers Everest at 65

A 65 year-old man who suffers from vertigo has climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest.

He is the famous English adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who adds this latest feat to a long string of successes such as crossing Antarctica unaided. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Sir Ranulph says the key to avoiding vertigo is “not looking down” but he managed to take a peek when he reached the summit because “when you’re in that particular spot it would be a shame not to.”

The adventurer tried to scale the summit in 2005 but suffered a heart attack. Only a few months after his first heart attack in 2003, he ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, battling both exhaustion and jetlag. So it really wasn’t a great surprise that this guy made it up Everest eventually.

The BBC has also posted videos on the journey to get to the Everest base camp, which at 5,300 meters above sea level is a popular destination for hardy trekkers, and the journey to the summit via the South Col route. The summit stands at 8850 meters above sea level and is the highest point on Earth. The BBC, which always rises to the occasion when an Englishman truly rocks, has posted a detailed biography on Sir Ranulph.

The climb was done to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care, a charity for which Sir Ranulph has raised huge sums of money in memory of his wife, who died from stomach cancer.

While Sir Ranulph has shown himself to be one of the world’s greatest living adventurers, he’s not the King of Everest. That honor goes to Apa Sherpa, who recently climbed Everest for the 19th time.