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In this July 23, 2021 family photo, 5-year-old Harvey Sutton raises his arms while hiking the Appalachian Trail with his parents, Josh and Cassie Sutton.
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«It started out as a joke and we decided maybe that could be our mini retirement and hike the Appalachian Trail with Harvey. We started training [him] at a young age to hike and camp and he took on to it really well,» said Harvey’s dad, Josh Sutton, in an interview with NPR.
He started the hike when he was only 4 years old
The Suttons covered the hike from Georgia to Maine in 209 days. Their journey began in January when Harvey was just 4 years old. He turned 5 before the family completed the hike last week in Maine.
As a family, the Suttons became used to life on the trail as they woke up every day just before 6 a.m. to pack their sleeping bags, tents and hiking gear to begin hiking all day.
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«I would do it again because I like it so much,» said Harvey
Starting at 2 years old, Harvey’s parents began training him for hiking by going on mini walks as they slowly increased their mileage day by day — eventually gearing him up for his big adventure.
«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?'» mom Cassie Sutton said. «Everyone is pretty amazed and astounded.»
The key was keeping Harvey entertained
Josh and Cassie said that while the adventure of the 2,100-mile hike was fun as a family, it did have its challenges — especially when it came to keeping Harvey entertained.
«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 said.
While the Suttons have plans for more hikes and family adventures ahead, the family is getting adjusted to life at home again as Harvey begins his latest adventure: kindergarten.
«Hopefully after going hiking for 10 hours a day to sitting in the classroom, he’ll do OK,» Josh said.
- Appalachian Trail