Every year, thousands of hikers attempt the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail—encountering fierce weather, wild animals, and rugged terrain. No trek for the faint of heart or feeble bodied, the Trail this year will be crossed by its youngest and oldest hikers ever. And in a moment of adorable outdoorsmanship several weeks ago, the two met on the trail.
Dale Sanders, 81 (turning 82 on June 14), happily posted a photo to his facebook page after meeting 1-year-old Ellie Quirin and her parents, Bekah and Derrick. “Thought you might like this picture of the youngest and oldest hikers on the AT this year,” he captioned—grinning from ear to ear in the image. Outside Magazine posted a video of the encounter on their facebook page, where Dale, Bekah, and Derrick laugh and chat happily while Ellie looks a bit perplexed by all the pomp and circumstance.
While baby Ellie may not be “hiking” the trail—mom Bekah carries her while dad is hoofing a pack with most of their stuff—neither her nor Dale’s journey is a small feat. With six months on the trail, and most hikers covering a minimum of 12 miles a day, both a 1 year old and 81 year old need some extra planning to get through the trek. While the Quirins had to consider everything from diapers to baby food, Sanders took special precautions such as bringing along trekking poles to maintain his balance and Goretex gloves that he wears at all times to help the circulation in his hands.
This won’t be the first time Sanders has taken on a record-breaking adventure. In 2015, he paddled 2,300 miles in 80 days to become the oldest person to paddle the Mississippi from source to sea. You can keep up with his feats on his website, greybeardadventurer.com. In the meantime, you can also enjoy what is possibly the cutest encounter to ever take place on the Appalachian Trail:
Source: Outside Magazine
Originally written by Lucy Gregor