Ridgefield orthodontist Dr. Blaine Langberg celebrated the big 40 by hiking California's Mt. Whitney, the highest summit in the contiguous United States. The 14-hour round-trip hike is attempted by 30,000 people each year, but only 10,000 successfully reach the summit.
Dr. Langberg and the seven other members of his party departed base camp at 4 a.m. to hike the 11 miles and more than 6,000 vertical feet to the summit. Dr. Langberg and his group enjoyed magnificent views for just 30 minutes before beginning the 11-mile return trek over a rocky precipice and miles of switchback trails.
With little hiking experience prior to this trip, Dr. Langberg "was inspired to conquer a new challenge to mark my 40th birthday," he said. Although the hike lived up to its reputation for being among the most physically strenuous days in the country, he said, it was "completely gratifying and worth every sore muscle."