LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Tucked away west of the Capital City, where three rivers merge, a path of trees and boulders come to a head 1000 feet above sea level.

Just like the trail options at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, you’ll find hikers with all experience levels from beginner, to intermediate and every once in a while, you’ll come across an expert.

“I’m at just over 3200 times, first climb was 2006,” hiker Jimmy Lovelady said.  

He remembers that climb like it was yesterday.

“Got up fine but back down, legs are just a shaking,” Lovelady said.

He turned those trembles into motivation.

“So, a couple days later I’m back, and up I go again,” Lovelady said. “I’m saying ‘I wonder if I can get this ten times.'”

Logging each climb, it wasn’t long before 10 turned to 20 and 20 to 40.

“501 right here. This was August ’09,” Lovelady said.

Before he knew it, the climbs just became part of his schedule he can’t live without.

“It’s something that gets in your blood and that’s just the way it is,” Lovelady said. “I’m trying to maintain 20-something times a month and trying to keep a pace of about 240 a year.”

At 66 years old, most of the time, he tackles both the easy side and the hard side in one day.

“The East side you’ve got much larger boulders and on the East side you’re definitely more of a climb,” Lovelady said. “I’ll start and I’m back in an hour and ten minutes.”

Even on a day when we planned to hike up with him, he logged three climbs all before noon.

“Today I’ve already done both sides,” Lovelady said. “I’m normally out here daylight, as soon as you can see the trail, so yeah it was hard to say, ‘no I’m going to wait.’ I got to go.”

Really, there’s not much that will stop Jimmy from getting up this mountain, not rain, or snow, even sleet he’ll still at least give it a go.

“I made it three-quarters of the way up and I had to turn around because it was pretty dangerous, a lot of ice,” Lovelady said.

Holidays are also not an excuse for a day off.

“When I get back from the family Christmas, straight to the top of the mountain,” Lovelady said. “Just like eating a meal, let’s go do it no exceptions.”

In close to two decades, you can say he’s learned a few tricks of the trade.

“I’ve learned even which rocks to step on that may shift on you,” Lovelady said.

It’s not just where to step but also what to bring along on his journey.

“One time I fell into the rocks and it split my hand open, and I had to go get stitches,” Lovelady said. “That’s why the gloves are out.”

At 3,200 climbs and counting, each day presents its own challenge.

“You’ve got your good days and your bad days,” Lovelady said. “Some days you just mosey right on up, sometimes you struggle.”

Rock by rock, boulder by boulder, Jimmy said all it takes is that first step to reach the pinnacle.