Utah Man Celebrates 82nd Birthday with 63 Mile Hike

Utah Man Celebrates 82nd Birthday with 63 Mile Hike


Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

John Hollenhorst reportingMost people would consider it quite a challenge to take a 63 mile hike. Which is why we decided to tell you about a man who's taking the challenge this week, in honor of his 82 birthday.

That's right, he's in his 80's and he takes the same 63-mile hike every year.

He starts before dawn... marching past the strip malls and convenience stores along Redwood Road. John Wightman, listening on headphones to books on tape. This is a guy who walks, a lot.

JOHN WIGHTMAN: "I'VE HEARD THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV TWO OR THREE TIMES"

On this very special walk he has company part way. His son, John Junior. The annual walks starts in Taylorsville, Salt Lake County. The goal is Payson, Utah County. For a guy in his 80's, John Senior sets a pretty good pace.

JOHN WIGHTMAN: "I DO 20 MINUTE MILES, SO THAT'S 3 MILES AN HOUR."

With a 10 minute break each hour, he's confident he'll make it to Payson by Thursday.

JOHN WIGHTMAN/TAYLORSVILLE: "WELL, BECAUSE I'VE DONE IT EVERY YEAR SINCE '96. AND I KNOW THAT I CAN DO IT. AND I'M MAKING BETTER TIME THIS YEAR THAN IHAVE BEFORE."

JOHN HOLLENHORST REPORTING: "THERE'S A CERTAIN QUESTION THAT JUST BEGS TO BE ASKED. OF ALL THE PLACES IN UTAH YOU COULD HIKE, WHY WOULD YOU WALK, OF ALL PLACES, FROM TAYLORSVILLE TO PAYSON?"

"NOSTALGIA, I GUESS, HAH, HAH, HAH."

Wightman lives in Taylorsville. He was born in Payson.

"AND THERE WAS JUST A, YOU MIGHT SAY, A TENDER SPOT IN MY MIND, THINKING ABOUT PAYSON."

On his 75th birthday he got the notion of walking from his last home to his first home, to pay his respects to his pioneer ancestors.

"YOU GET CLOSER TO YOUR OWN FATHER AND YOUR GRANDFATHER AS YOU GET OLDER. AND I JUST THOUGHT IT WOULD BE NICE KIND OF TO HONOR THEM."

He trains for this year-round... walking 3 or 4 miles, 3 or 4 days a week. And competing in the Senior Games triathlon.

"AND I WANNA TELL YOU, I'VE GOT THREE GOLD MEDALS AND TWO SILVER MEDALS."

Taylorsville to Payson?

Piece of cake.

Wightman made it as far as Lehi tonight. He's spending the night back home in Taylorsville and will pick up the walk again tomorrow in Lehi. Tomorrow night, he plans to stay in a motel on the way and arrives -- if all goes well -- in Payson on Thursday.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Utah

STAY IN THE KNOW

Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast