One Man Just Hiked the Appalachian Trail at the Age of 83

The previous record holder did it at 82

Max Patch Mountain
Max Patch Mountain on the Appalachian Trail.
Evelyn Mostrom/Unsplash

Earlier this year, a child hiked the Appalachian Trail at the age of five. Apparently it’s a year for age-related landmarks on the aforementioned route, because now someone has set a record for being the oldest person to complete it. That would be M.J. “Sunny” Eberhart — also known by the trail name of “Nimblewill Nomad” — who, at the age of 83, accomplished something that many people half his age would find daunting.

The Associated Press reports that Eberhart opted to hike the trail in segments, customizing his route due to weather conditions. He was joined for the final stretch by the previous record-holder for the oldest person to walk the Appalachian Trail. That would be Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, who was 82 when he accomplished that feat in 2017.

Eberhart is no stranger to long-distance walks. When he was 61, he walked 4,400 miles from Florida to Canada — and then documented it in the book Ten Million Steps: Nimblewill Nomad’s Epic 10-Month Trek from the Florida Keys to Québec. In 2017, Robert Moor wrote about Eberhart’s accomplishments for The Guardian. This includes having completed the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, among others.

Also revealed in the Guardian article: the fact that Eberhart had his toenails removed many years ago to prevent the possibility of infection when he was on one of his treks. Which is, as the saying goes, hardcore. Then again, so is walking the Appalachian Trail at the age of 83.

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