First off lets start a week before my hike....2 of my friends that planned on hiking with me decided they couldnt make it
I belong to a couple of clubs in the area and when i was promoting my hike and to raise money for the OBS one person asked me who i was hiking with. When I told him no one was hiking with me he was more than happy to join me saying he had a place in Berlin and could meet me Sat morning. He told me he had hiked before and seemed very excited to give me his number for me to call him to set up a time. I have met this man many times but did not know him from outside of the club I belong to. 2 nights later I went to the club to see how my fund raising was going and again he was there. He told me he was so excited to hike with me and that he actually was making his own hiking stick. So i thought wow this guy really wants to join me
So Saturday morning comes along at Pinkham notch visitar center and there he is with his homemade hiking stick. Awesome stick too! He did a great job on it and it was quite the conversation piece through out the trail.
My trail I decided on was boott spur and then down tucks. After 30 minutes of hiking I felt like maybe there should be a trail change. He seemed very tired and hurting somewhat. Also my new friend has told me a few things. That he hasnt hiked in 2 months and its been years since he hiked avidly. AT that point I thought to myself well he can walk back down on his own if he cant make it OR I need to change my trail route. He was really holding me up at some points stopping for 5 minutes and hiking for only 5. I knew when I got to boott spur trail sign we would head up tucks instead. I listened to more stories about this man as he told me and the most impressive one was his age. I did NOT realize this man was 68 years old. He told me a story about the morning and how he told his neighbor he was hiking Mount washington and his neighbor said to him What are you thinking your 68! He told his neighbor it was always something he had wanted to do especially living in Berlin. My respect grew for him as did my patience. (underline patience please!)
I stuck with him side by side until I felt that the more I was with him the longer he sat so I made sure I stayed ahead of him but always keeping him in sight. Except of course when the trail was wet and more difficult. Closer to the top he had really bad problems with muscle spasms. I tryed to keep him hydrated, restful yet moving along.
Last year I did tucks in 3 hours. This year it took 6 hours and I am very proud of my 68 year old friend making it to the top
p.s. surprisingly after we passed lions head trail marker I had phone reception. I called my friend and asked her to meet us at the top which she did.
So he had a nice ride down and he is doing fine