Reporting Lauren Leamanczyk
GOFFSTOWN, NH (CBS) – A Nashua man is about to hike his way into history. This weekend, he will complete his goal of hiking each of the 4,000 foot peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in a single winter.
“We’re standing today at 41 of those 48 and on Saturday we expect to finish,” Randy Pierce said as he prepared for the trip.
It’s an accomplishment only about 50 people have ever achieved. Randy Pierce will be the first blind person to do it.
“We’re going to come to streams. We’re going to come to rock hopping points. The number of challenges the Whites present are monumental,” he told WBZ.
That’s the challenges the mountains provide, but Randy understands the peaks and valleys of life better than most. Just seven years ago, a disease had rendered Randy blind and unable to walk. He was in a wheelchair. It was the lowest point of his life. Then Randy and his seeing eye dog Quinn decided to climb out of it.
“We went out and started walking through the woods. When you can’t walk for years, the relief and jubilation of having that gift back is tremendous,” Randy recalls.
Since then walking has turned to hiking and then this winter he and Quinn embarked on a grueling challenge. As they climb New Hampshire’s tallest mountains, Quinn serves as Randy’s eyes. The yellow Labrador uses cues to lead Randy along the safest paths.
The unique bond is one reason Randy wanted to hike the 48 peaks this winter. Quinn is nearing retirement age for a seeing eye dog.
Now that they are close to the summit, Randy hopes others realize none of life’s peaks are out of reach.
“It’s not about hiking. It’s about believing you can do the things that are important to you, finding a way and if that’s the message people get from what I’m doing, then I think I’ve done a really good thing,” he said.
Randy hikes for his own enjoyment, but he shares his story to raise awareness about his non-profit 2020 VisionQuest.