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Appalachian National Scenic Trail

Retirement: Building on old skills in retirement

Ephraim King, 65, retired from his job as a senior manager at the Environmental Protection Agency four years ago. His initial plan was to hike the Appalachian Trail and then return home to Takoma Park, Md., to work as a consultant on clean water, his area of expertise. The hike went fine, but consulting proved to be as stressful as his career job. After a few months, he announced to his wife, Carol Lindeman, "That's it. I'm done."

His neighbor, Stephen Brown, 63, had already retired from his job at a family-owned printing company. Having spent his early career in construction and working as a carpenter, he was a natural to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity; he enlisted...