COLORADO HIKER SETS A RECORD
During the past five years, Christian Thomas has hiked nearly 8,000 miles, completing the three trails that make up the Triple Crown of U.S. hiking. Even more impressive: Christian is 9 years old.
He didn’t set out to become the youngest hiker to complete the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trails. It just happened, starting shortly after his fifth birthday in April 2013.
“We thought it was going to be like a fun two-week trip,” the Colorado fourth-grader said of that first long hike with his mom and stepdad. “And then we just kept going and going.” Nine months later, they’d finished the Appalachian Trail. “And then we thought, ‘Why not do the other two?’ ”
So the next year, when Christian was 6, the family spent eight months on the Pacific Crest Trail, crossing snow-lined mountain passes and scorching deserts. He finished the Triple Crown by completing the Continental Divide Trail two months ago.
When hiking, Christian keeps up with schoolwork by listening to podcasts and other educational material on his headphones.
The Appalachian Trail runs from Georgia to Maine, with 550 of its 2,190 miles in Virginia.
The Pacific Crest Trail spans California, Oregon and Washington. Challenging conditions can include deep snow in the mountains and extreme heat in the deserts.
Fewer than 500 hikers completed this 2,660-mile trail in 2014, the year Christian did it.
The Continental Divide Trail runs 3,100 miles from Montana to New Mexico.