Brian Longo has vivid memories of hiking to the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire with his father. It was 1996 and he was just eight years old at the time.
“It was challenging but it was a really great experience,” he said.
During the pandemic, he started hiking with his own son, Noah. And with each trail the Lower Paxton Township family tackled, their ambition grew.
“And we decided this was going to be the summer we hiked Mount Washington,” Brian said.
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The timing was perfect since Noah would also be eight. Though young, he was determined and spent a year preparing for the epic 6,200 foot climb.
“We went on hikes, we kayaked, we took bike rides,” Noah said.
And despite two hip replacements and several recent heart stents, Brian’s dad, Sabatino, was also determined not to miss this family milestone.
“I wanted to be that third wheel,” Sabatino said. “You have to be aware of what you’re getting into. It’s very dangerous.”
On a warm day in July, the trio began the steep, grueling climb together. Things went as planned in the beginning. But as they got higher, things got trickier.
“It was slippery,” Noah said. “It was harder. It was more challenging.”
And the weather went from bad to worse.
“It got cold, it started to rain a little bit,” Brian said. “Before we knew it the wind was whipping.”
But there was no turning back for the three generations. This was a mission they were determined to finish together. It took them seven and a half hours, but they finally reached the top.
“As grueling as it was for me being 63 years old, to see those two waiting for me, I was very happy,” Sabatino said.
“If you can put your mind to something and take the proper steps to prepare both physically and mentally, you can really do anything,” Brian said. “And I think that’s what we all learned from this experience is not to set limits for yourself.”
“What I take away from this is just a great memory of all of us and the family is so proud to know the three generations did this together,” Sabatino said. “It’s a very nostalgic moment, a hallmark moment for the family.”
Brian says there are 48 peaks in New Hampshire that are over 4,000 feet. His goal now is to hike the other 47. He knows that will take time and says he’d love to finish that goal someday, maybe with grandchildren of his own.