2 Hikers Aim to Finish Coveted 'Triple Crown'

Stanford pair hope to be youngest to hike 3 mammoth trails in one calendar year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2021 12:16 PM CST
2 College Students Aim to Set a Hiking Record

Two Stanford students started hiking on New Year's Day and don't plan to stop for the better part of a year—all part of their goal to become the youngest hikers to claim the "Calendar Year Triple Crown," reports the Los Angeles Times. In other words, Sammy Potter, 21, and Jackson Parell, 20, plan to hike the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail within 12 months. Finishing this trio of hikes "is often considered the pinnacle of the thru-hiking world," and it would typically take even the most dedicated hikers roughly three years, per Outside. For a few, that's not challenge enough, apparently. In 2018, a hiker named Tyler Lau became only the 10th on record to complete the three treks in a year, according to the Student Conservation Association and Outdoor Journal.

Now Potter and Parell aim to join this select group, and they've started with the Appalachian. It’s "a massive, massive, massive thing to do," Potter tells the Times. "We're going to hike three trails in one year. Just that sentence is insane. At this point, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other." It's also a logistical challenge: Snow might make it impossible to finish the Appalachian in one try, meaning they would immediately head to the next trail and return to the Appalachian in warmer weather. "We'd rather have to do one, the other and the next, but sometimes the weather doesn't allow it," says Potter. The general goal is to walk 10 hours a day and cover 32 miles. In 2018, Heather "Anish" Anderson became the first woman to complete the three hikes in a year, notes Outside. (Read more hiking stories.)

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