Five-Year-Old Virginia Boy is One of the Youngest Hiker to Complete the Appalachian Trail

Harvey Sutton is now one of the youngest people to complete the Appalachian Trail, according to NPR. He and his parents, Josh and Cassie Sutton, just completed the 2,100-mile trek across 14 states in 209 days.

“It started out as a joke, and we decided maybe that could be our mini-retirement and hike the Appalachian Trail with Harvey,” Josh told NPR about getting his son prepared for the epic journey. “We started training [him] at a young age to hike and camp, and he took on to it really well.”

According to NPR, Harvey was two years old when his parents began increasing his stamina by taking him on short walks. The youngster was four years old when the Suttons began their adventure in January in Georgia and completed it last week in Maine.

“We learned that he is fabulous at hiking, but as long as we’re playing make-believe and pretend with him all day long, then he moves quickly and hikes a lot faster than a lot of us imagine,” Josh told NPR.

“It gave us a bond and a strength that we hadn’t realized before,” mom Cassie Sutton shared to the Associated Press. “We’re closer than ever before.”

While the hike was strenuous, Harvey’s parents reported that their son found it quite exciting. When he wasn’t on the prowl for frogs and lizards, he fueled himself with Skittles and peanut butter tortillas, according to the AP.

Cassie shared with NPR, “I think a lot of people are surprised at how well he did. “They’re like, ‘How did you get your 5-year-old to do that because my 5-year-old won’t even walk half a mile without complaining?’ Everyone is pretty amazed and astounded.”

But Harvey chimed in, “I would do it again because I like it so much.”

“The rock scrambles were really fun and hard. We were not bored,” the boy told the Associated Press of his journey.

With most schools nationally returning to in-person courses following a year of virtual learning due to the epidemic, the Suttons are interested in their son’s adjustment from the outdoors to a small classroom when he attends kindergarten school.

“Hopefully, after going hiking for 10 hours a day to sitting in the classroom, he’ll do okay,” Josh told NPR.