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Imagination, Skittles help 5-year-old boy conquer Appalachian Trail

Young Hiker
Posted at 2:23 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 14:24:05-04

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A boy who recently hiked the Appalachian Trail is preparing for his next adventure in kindergarten.

Five-year-old Harvey Sutton tagged along with his parents over more than 2,100 miles to complete the feat.

The little boy told The Associated Press that completing the trail was hard work, but it was fun checking out the wildlife and that he sprinkled Skittles onto peanut butter tortillas as fuel for the walk.

His parents said the biggest challenge was keeping Harvey’s imagination engaged.

Harvey was 4 years old when he and his parents began their walk in January in Georgia. He was 5 years and 4 months old when the family completed the journey last week in Maine. That puts him among the youngest to complete the trail.

One expert told the AP that kids are resilient enough as long as parents keep their development in mind and scale the hike to a child's abilities.

The trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains, according to the National Park Service.

“Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies, and thousands of volunteers,” the NPS says.