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Appalachian Trail

While the Rest of Us Talk About Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail, a 5-Year-Old Just Did It

He averaged about 10 miles every day, but still had the energy to play freeze tag at night.

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During the 209 days Harvey “Little Man” Sutton spent on the Appalachian Trail, he hosted “lava parties,” imagined spaceship designs, and collected trinkets from other thru-hikers. He used a Dollar General calculator to count the miles as he hiked. He fueled himself with tortilla wraps filled with Skittles and peanut butter, a concoction only a 5-year-old could think of (or stomach). Now, after accomplishing a feat that many spend years training and preparing for, Harvey is getting ready to start kindergarten.

Although it might seem like a feat to get a child that age to go on a walk around the block, pediatricians say kids like Harvey are resilient enough to hike long distances, as long as their parents keep it entertaining and pay attention to their needs. Dr. Laura Blaisdell, a pediatrician and medical adviser to the American Camp Association, told the Associated Press that Harvey was in no danger. He had been hiking regularly since he was 2 years old, so he was in a familiar groove each day. His parents mentioned that Harvey would sometimes want to cap the night off with a game of freeze tag, even after hiking 10 miles earlier that day.

In fact, Harvey enjoyed it so much that he is eager for the next adventure: “I would do it again because I like it so much,” he said.

Harvey’s is not a record-breaking feat. Four-year-old Juniper Netteburg is believed to be the youngest hiker to complete the trail, which she did in sections from March to October 2020. With this, Harvey joins an impressive list of AT-finishers of all ages, from 4-year-old Juniper to 82-year old Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, the oldest known person to hike the entire trail.