Buddy Backpacker, the 5 year old thru hiker 

by ParentCo. May 07, 2015

5 year old Christian Thomas (aka Buddy Backpacker), is the youngest person to hike the entire Appalacian Trail. Accompanied by his mother, Andrea Rego and stepdad Dion Pagonis, he climbed over rocks and knotty roots for 2,180 miles. He listens to audio lessons on his iPod, learning vocabulary words, like "nefarious" and "encumbered". Who says kindergartners need a classroom?
In spring 2012, finally, Dion engineered an escape plan. He and Andrea sold nearly all their possessions and moved west to Colorado, first to Boulder, then to Crested Butte, a ski town where Dion scored design gigs at elance.com and they operated a hostel called Butte Bunk. While Dion snowboarded, Christian (then four) and Andrea took to the bunny hill on skis. “By the end of the season,” Andrea writes at buddybackpacker.com, Christian “was blowing down moguls and double blacks on one of the hardest mountains in the United States. He has the endurance of an advanced athlete with a deep love for nature. Andrea and Dion have no choice but to live epic lives with him.” The experience in Crested Butte changed the trajectory of their lives. Suddenly, the pair hoped to bring Buddy to California, so they could all learn to surf. They thought they’d like try a long distance mountain bike odyssey somewhere. They wanted to put themselves on a path toward adventure, and test their own endurance as well as Christian’s. In Colorado, as the snow melted, Andrea envisioned another kind of adventure. “Why don’t we hike the Appalachian Trail?” she asked Dion in April of 2013. Crested Butte was about to button up for the off-season. So they bought the well-used Jeep for $1,500, loaded their gear, and headed east.
Read the full piece at Backpacker.com: Kindergarten Can Wait: Buddy Backpacker, 5-Year-Old Thru-Hiker


ParentCo.

Author



Also in Conversations

boy playing with building blocks
22 Ways to Keep a Preschooler Busy Other Than Watching TV

by ParentCo.

Parking a preschooler in front of a screen is a fast and easy path to entertainment. But there are plenty of other ways to keep them busy. Here are 22 to start with.

Continue Reading

young family
From the NICU to Entrepreneurship: bökee’s Lauren and Brandon Stuart

by Hannah Howard

Any parent knows you need more hands; the bökee gives caregivers that. It lets them hold/bounce/dance a baby while preparing a bottle. Simple but revolutionary.

Continue Reading

man stopping cars and allowing ducks to cross
Plan Your Next Family Vacation: Real-World Places From Your Child's Favorite Books

by ParentCo.

Give your child an opportunity to live “inside” their favorite books with a trip to one of the real-world locations of their favorite stories.

Continue Reading