10:39 AM PDT, August 22, 2021
Beginning at 4 years old, Harvey Sutton is one of the youngest to have traveled the Appalachian trail.
Sutton, or “Little Man,” the nickname he was given on the trail, joined his parents during their 209-day journey of over 2,100 miles.
Sutton is not the only kid to hike the trail that starts in Georgia and ends in Maine, as the youngest is believed to be Juniper Netteburg, whose parents say she finished the trail at 4 years old in 2020, according to the Associated Press.
Dr. Laura Blaisdell, a pediatrician and medical adviser to the American Camp Association, said that “Kids are resilient enough to handle the experience as long as parents keep their social and emotional development in mind and scale the hike to kids’ abilities,” according to the AP.
Sutton shared the varied activities he and his family did for fun, and his mother shared with WABI News 5 how keeping the little one preoccupied was initially a challenge.
“At first it was a little overwhelming with how much physical activity you have to do and how much you’re around each other all the time, but as time progressed, it kind of fell into this nice place where it felt comfortable and enjoyable.” she said.
The parents shared with the local outlet how they saved to take this trip, wanting to ensure their son had a great experience because they had both experienced losing parents.
Sutton’s mother told the AP that the hike strengthened the family’s relationship. “We’re closer than ever before,” she said.
“It gave us a bond and a strength that we hadn’t realized before.”
Little Sutton and his family are now back at home, and the now 5-year-old is preparing to start kindergarten.