Apr 13, 2013 9:46 PM by Lindsay MacLeod, KSBY News

Local man celebrates 83rd birthday with a hike to the top of Cerro San Luis

A popular trail like the one on Cerro San Luis or Madonna Mountain sees hikers every day, but on Saturday, it was a little more special.

Ernie Martin, an avid hiker, celebrated his 83rd birthday on a hike with his friends and family.

"It's been about 10 to 12 years since I've been coming up here, and I hope to continue it because I want to see everyone here on my 90th," said Ernie.

Ernie has been hiking the trail almost every day for over a decade.

He says through the years, he's met new friends that always smile when they see him on the trail.

"I hike with a couple friends and we always see him, and I call him my 'Mountain Mentor' so I hope to be like Ernie someday," said Mike McCarthy, a friend of Ernie's.

Although his real birthday was on April 1st, Ernie chose Saturday to take a birthday hike with his friends and family. What he didn't expect was the surprise present they brought him: a tree.

At the top of the mountain, the group planted the tree so they can watch it grow as they continue hiking the mountain through the years.

More than 30 people came out for Ernie's hike. They all said they felt honored to spend the day with the man who is "the dad next door."

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