A Virginia family has completed a hiking adventure that most of us could only dream about — and they claim to have set a record doing so.
Josh and Cassie Sutton hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 209 days with their 5-year-old son — who is thought to be the youngest person to ever complete the hike.
The family left their comfortable home in Lynchburg, Virginia, near the Blue Mountains, to spend over 7 months sleeping in a tent and hiking 10 miles a day.
“At times it was like ‘what have we gotten ourselves into,’ and then we were like, ‘oh we’ve got this,’ because you get stronger as you go and figure stuff out,” they said, as per KUTV News.
The family started their journey in January, and 209 days later arrived at their final peak at Katahdin in Baxter State Park.
“It’s kind of scary because we got so comfortable living in the woods and sleeping in a different place every night,” Josh Sutton told ABC13 News.
“Now we have to go back to work, we have to rebuild our lives. I’m a real estate agent so I have to rebuild my database and hopefully my clients come and talk to me again. I just shaved my beard off today for them so I wouldn’t scare them too much. But yeah, it was stressful; but the happiest moment of our lives all at the same time.”
The Suttons say their son Harvey may have set a record, as far as they know, saying he is the youngest person to ever hike the trail from Georgia to Maine.
But while the family enjoyed an amazing once-in-a-lifetime adventure it was hard work for their 5-year-old. The couple said that searching for frogs and lizards and enjoying sprinkling Skittles onto peanut butter tortillas as fuel for the walk was what kept their son going.
Josh said Harvey had forgotten what his house and toys looked like and screamed when they returned, grateful to return to his warm, comfy bed.
Harvey said he thought his adventure was “awesome” and is now preparing for his next adventure: kindergarten.
“I think it’s going to be difficult for Harvey going back to school,” Josh said. “We’re going to have to have a talk with his teacher to figure out if she can handle someone who is used to hiking ten miles a day, so that’s going to be a fun adjustment.”
The Suttons said they have been saving for years for this adventure.
“My dad passed away when I was young,” mom Cassie said. “And Josh’s dad had a stroke when he was in his 40s, so we just realized life was really short and we wanted to do some adventures while we still could with the family.
“We got so connected we were with each other 24/7 and it’s just amazing the bond we’ve built and I don’t think it would be possible to do it here.”
Josh said he learned how little you need in life.
“We carried everything we needed on our back: a tent, one pair of clothes and our food. Now, we have a house full of stuff in the basement and we are just like, ‘this is so much stuff,’ so I think we definitely want to live a more simpler life,” he said.
“We feel like the more stuff you have it almost feels like baggage.”
They documented their journey on their YouTube channel called “Live Sutton.”
“Apparently we inspired some people, which is cool,” Josh Sutton said, “We did it so we could have a record for ourselves for when we are older, and its just cool that we were able to bless other people along the way.”
The family is now planning more adventures.
“We want to see if we can come up with an idea to maybe do more weekend adventures for our YouTube subscribers and stuff just to keep active because we really enjoy the outdoors,” Josh said.
This family was so lucky to have such an amazing adventure.
Not all of us can take eight months off but I hope their experience inspires more families to take time out and spend some quality time together, even if it’s only a weekend.