In an age where FTKs are taking over thru hiking culture, here is a story that you would think was fabricated for the glory of breaking the bounds of what most think is possible. In reality, it was as simple as keeping a dream alive. Bekah and Derrick Quirin had long since decided to hike the Appalachian Trail together by the time their daughter Ellie was born. But instead of putting that dream to the wayside and waiting until she was fully grown and on her own, they decided to envelope their daughter into the dream.
With Bekah carrying a pack full of the family’s belongs and Derrick hauling precious cargo consisting of one year old Ellie in a child carrier, the family set out to thru hike the Appalachian Trail on March 20th, starting southbound from their hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. Just before the family hiked their last few days on the southern portion of their journey, they passed through Mountain Crossings on May 11th.
I remember the sunny afternoon they passed by. Ellie was fussy until the moment she laid eyes on a banana but then lit up like a firework in the night! Derrick began ripping off chucks for her to snack on and she hummed pleasantly as she smashed them into her mouth one after another. By the time Bekah and Derrick had finished shopping for their resupply, Ellie was smiling and giggling. As a former thru hiker myself, I laughed, recognizing the hanger that had over come Ellie and then quickly dissipated as soon as she had eaten.
The family continued south and upon reaching Springer Mountain, flipped up to Mount Katahdin to continue walking south to McAffees Knob outside of Roanoke, VA. On Setptember 30th, the reached their final summit!
They had completed not only the incredible feat of walking all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail, but they had done it together as a family. Ellie learned to walk and said her first words while on the thru hike. She also became the youngest known person to have ever traveled the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Bekah and Derrick followed their long time dream to thru hike the Appalachian Trail and ushered their daughter into a lifetime of outdoor experiences! Congratulations to the Quirin Family and their awesomely inspiring story!
In honor of the completion of the thru hike by a one year old, we’ve put several of our baby and toddler items online! Click on either of the images below to see more information about these super cute “Future AT Hiker” shirts and onesies.