Facebook_off Twitter_off Pinterest Instagram_off Googleplus_off Youtube_off Emailnewsletter

Welcome to DogHeirs, Where Dogs Are Family! Log in or Sign Up


DogHeirs Tshirts

Blind hiker and his dog complete climb of 48 peaks

Zoesnow_thumb By MissT | March 11, 2012 | Comments (0)

Randy Pierce and Quinn completed The 48

New Hampshire hikers have long enjoyed the challenge of "The 48" -  48 mountains, each towering 4000 feet above sea level. To reach the summits of all the peaks in one season is a goal of some. For one hiker and his dog, the experience was nothing short of amazing. That’s because Randy “Zip” Pierce is blind, and his canine companion, “The Mighty Quinn,” is his guide dog.

Pierce is the first blind person to complete the climb in one winter. To put the accomplishment in context, only three other people and their dog companions have completed the same hike, and in grand total, only 46 people have done the same thing on their own two feet, and they all could see.

"It stands for what people can accomplish if they have a goal and they’re willing to put some work into it," said Pierce, a Nashua native. “It’s really limitless. The sky is the limit on this."

Pierce and Quinn completed their 300 mile hike in New Hampshire

Pierce and Quinn’s trek began on Mount Tecumseh ended at the summit of Cannon Mountain on Saturday. The pair was greeted by friends and well-wishers and his wife Tracy. The group greeted him with music, noisemakers and bells. "I am extremely proud of him,” Tracy said. “But I am not one bit surprised he did it. That's just how Randy is."

Pierce said, "I'm blown away by this experience. I'm absolutely exhilarated." He paused for a moment and reached down to pat his seven-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. "I'm a little choked up right now."

Despite a painful foot injury, nothing was going to keep Pierce from completing his 300-plus-miles trek. "I’m going to look back at what we accomplished this winter, and I’m going to be very proud of this little dog and myself and all my friends who made this possible," Pierce said from the summit.

Pierce and Quinn nearly at the summit

Recounting his hiking adventure, Pierce acknowledged he couldn’t have reached his goal without the help of his friends and his dog. "I don’t just love my dog, I marvel at him every day," Pierce said.

Quinn helped Pierce navigate the snowy climbs every step of the way. Quinn alerted Pierce to potential problems and obstacles in their way and worried when Pierce was guided by someone else, as Pierce had to do on occasion. But it wasn't all work. Off-duty Quinn would enjoy the sunshine or bury his nose into the snow.

Quinn off-duty and enjoying the snow

"The freedom a guide dog gives you is incredible," Pierce said. "He’s doing the work that lets me interact with the world. My focus doesn’t have to be on how this world is a danger to me. My focus can be on how he and I are just buds traveling through it together," Pierce said.

Their hike was to help raise funds and awareness for 2020 Vision Quest, a non-profit that raises funds for the New Hampshire Association for the Blind (NHAB) and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Pierce wants to ensure anyone who goes through vision loss like he did has access to services like those that helped him. "For me, the reward of what we can accomplish, the attention we can get for things, I believe, are going to be worth the fact that for the next week I'm going to be really sore,” he said.

Pierce began losing his vision in 1989 due to an unknown neurological disease and was completely blind by 2000. Later he was wheelchair-bound, when the disease attacked the balance center of his brain. Thankfully, after a series of experimental treatments, Pierce began to walk again. As he recovered, he found a passion for hiking and wanting to inspire others. "The most important thing I can tell anyone is the choice we make in how to respond to our life is going to have a bigger influence on our life than anything else ever could,” he said. 

His hiking adventures with Quinn aren't over yet. He plans to complete a 100-mile walk in June as a tribute to NHAB's 100th birthday as well as tackle "The 48" again in the summer. It will be much more challenging in the warm months because rocks, roots and uneven ground makes it more difficult to find safe footing, which is easier in the winter because of the snow. But for now Pierce and Quinn can enjoy a short break.


For his part, Quinn was presented with the Order of the Golden Biscuit at Saturday's climb, being the fourth canine to have completed the 48 peaks in a single winter.  He also got a couple bits of steak to enjoy.

As friends, family and well wishers congratulated Pierce, Quinn remained by his side. Pierce, leaned down to his friend and passed on the good will. "You’re the best boy, Quinn," he said. "You're the best."

View more articles in: Community News

You may also like

Elephant and dog best friends love playing in the water together (VIDEO)

Bubbles the elephant and Bella the Labrador Retriever are best friends and have bonded over their love of water. They love to swim and play in the river together. Bubbles wants to spend time with Bella and makes it a game for Bella to climb and jump off her back.   Bubbles was adopted as an ivory orphan (her parents killed for their ivory by poachers) by Myrtle Beach Safari in 1983.   Related: Baby...
Read more

Canine Hip Dysplasia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs and affects millions of dogs worldwide. As the disease progresses, a dog's hip joints degenerate, causing increased pain and mobility issues for the dog. If left untreated, a dog will eventually be unable to use his/her hind legs and suffer extreme pain. However, the vast majority of dogs with hip dysplasia can lead full and active lives if the disease is diagnosed early...
Read more

Compassionate deputy who rescued stabbed dog plans to adopt her

Amber was violently attacked by her owner. The Deputy who rescued her will be adopting her.   1 of 2 A dog who was viciously attacked by her owner will be adopted by the St. Johns County deputy who rescued her. Amber, a Border Collie-Labrador Retriever mix, had her throat slashed and was stabbed multiple times by Randall Bryen Hart. The man's roommates witnessed the violent incident and reported it to deputies and Deputy Dan...
Read more

People look at him strangely, but what this man does for his blind, 3-legged dog is wonderful (PHOTOS)

Josh loves spending time with his rescue dog Keller, who is blind and has three legs. While enjoying his hobby of welding, Josh came up with an idea that is not only fun, but also helps his dog Keller have fun outdoors with him. Josh's creations have gotten some unusual reactions around town but that doesn't matter to him, "People look at me strange, but I don't care." And Keller loves it! Keller is an...
Read more

Loving dog introduces himself to child with Down Syndrome (VIDEO)

This is a touching scene between Hernán, a toddler with Down Syndrome, and a gentle Labrador Retriever named Himalaya. Hernán lives in Buenos Aires. His mom, Ana, has commented that because of his Down's Syndrome, her son shies away from physical contact. But Himalaya lays down sweetly in front of the boy several times almost to introduce herself and have the boy get familiar with her, as if to say, "I am your friend and...
Read more

Comments on this Article

» View all comments

Add Your Comment!

Log in to leave a comment or Create an account

Spring Sale on T-Shirts

Must See

Follow DogHeirs

Also find us on: DogHeirs on Twitter DogHeirs on Pinterest DogHeirs on Instagram DogHeirs on Google+

Copyright 2015 DogHeirs