Nine year-old Christian Thomas completed the final leg of hiking’s famed Triple Crown, becoming the youngest to conquer the three American long trails by finishing the last 1,200 miles of the Continental Divide Trail on September 18th. On October 26th, Dale “Grey Beard” Sanders became the oldest person to finish a thru-hike of the AT at 82 years of age.
I’m amazed by both for the same reason: I couldn’t imagine doing either one.
Christian started his Triple Crown journey when he was five. Five! When I was five, I was trying to master riding a bike without training wheels and starting a baseball card collection. He was hammering up and down mountains with his parents on the AT. Unreal.
On the other end of the age spectrum, Dale was doing the same hammering with an 82 year-old body that did, at times, slow him down but could not stop him. I cannot imagine that, twenty-eight years from now, I’ll be all on fire to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Assuming I live that long, of course. Again, unreal.
The key component they shared was the belief that they could accomplish their respective goals. Self-confidence mixed with a healthy dose of determination will get you through many a difficulty on a long hike.
And yes, in life as well.
Congratulations to both on their remarkable achievements. Happy hiking!