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104-year-old woman 'climbs' Mount Hood for birthday

104-year-old woman 'climbs' Mount Hood for birthday
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POSTED: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:04pm

It was an irresistible birthday request.

With Alice Aho's 104th birthday approaching, her daughter-in-law asked her what she wanted.

"I said I'd like to be able to climb a mountain," Aho recalled. She says now she was joking at the time.

Although Aho could not physically climb the mountain, her daughter-in-law took the request seriously.

It was not completely out of the blue.

Before they had children, Aho and her late husband climbed Mount Hood and other Oregon mountains. She retained her love of adventure as they raised their family.

"She's always been adventuresome, always wanted to be out in the outdoors climbing," her son, David Aho, said. "She doesn't like sitting around. She knows if she sits, she'll deteriorate. Any time she gets an invitation or an opportunity, she says yes."

Alice Aho said yes to a ski lift ride up Mount Hood on Sunday.

After a brunch at Timberline Lodge, Alice Aho was carefully seated on the lift. She was flanked by a great-grandchild and two grandchildren, one of whom held her walker. Other relatives boarded the chairlift behind her.

"Here we go," she said softly, as the chairlift started up.

Her grandchildren ask questions as they chairlift carries them higher. "Is this about what it looked like when you climbed it, grandma? With about as much snow?"

"There was more snow," Alice Aho responded, taking in the view as they moved closer to the summit of Mount Hood.

Once satisfied that her great-grandson is safe in the chairlift, she notes, "You're in the air, just like a bird."

The memories flooded back.

"It seems to be, there used to be a little stone house, up there, near that out crest," Alice Aho said.

"I climbed up three different sides," she said. "Once we went up the Cooper Spur, the north side and then stopped at the top and then came down the south side."

The lift took the family as far as 7,000 feet.

Her family helped her get off the lift and, with her walker, take a few steps into the remaining snow.

"And you're on Mount Hood. You ready to go to the top?"

"Not today," she responded.

Alice Aho took in the view of the summit and the view of Trillium Lake.

"So far, the mountain's just the same as it ever was," she said. "No, it's very nice. I enjoy being up here."

Alice sat a picnic table. The younger children played in the snow. Her family sang a rendition of "Happy Birthday."

When they were done, she clapped and said, "It's wonderful to have such a good family."

At 104 years old, her adventures take longer than they used to, but it appears she still has no intention of turning one down.

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