With age comes experience and sometimes wisdom, too. We think an Ohio 80-year-old showed both in his summer ordeal on Mount Washington.
James Clark is an experienced hiker but he bit off way more than he could chew when he tried to climb the toughest mountain in the Northeast on one of its toughest trails in less than ideal weather.
The old rockpile is known as a killer mountain for a reason. It almost killed Mr. Clark in June.
Rescuers from New Hampshire Fish and Game and the Appalachian Mountain Club saved Clark, whose body had crumpled under the strain (he and his grandsons had climbed two mountains on the two previous days).
Fish and Game has every right to be preparing to bill Clark $2,400 for his rescue. Clark, meanwhile, is teaching other hikers a valuable lesson by stepping up to say he will gladly pay it.
Even though experienced, Clark at age 80 was no match for that mountain on a very difficult trail in cold and windy conditions.
“The mistake I made,” Clark told our Sunday News last week, “is I shouldn’t have gone, because I’m an old man.”
Even though he and his grandsons thought themselves prepared, “the very fact of needing a rescue means somebody was at fault,” Clark said. “And that was me.”
Although some senior citizens don’t like to hear it, age is limiting and Clark said it well: “I should not have done so much in so short a time at my age. I should have known better.”
Good for him. Good for his rescuers. And good for Fish and Game for sending that bill.