Triple Crown of Hiking

The Triple Crown of hiking is the label for hiking the big three thru hiking trails in the US. The Pacific Crest Trail on the west, the Appalachian Trail on the east, and the Continental Divide Trail in the middle -ish.

The big difference for mine other than prioritizing the somewhat seldom done red line in the CDT was the AT. When you look at the Triple Crown map the AT always stuck out and rubbed me wrong because it didn’t actually cross the country like the other two but started and stopped somewhat arbitrarily. So I fixed it by starting down in Key West and continuing up to the northern tip of Nova Scotia doing the Florida Trail, Pinhoti Trail, and several sections of the International Appalachian Trail along the way.

As far as overall Triple Crown stats:

-I started May 4th, 2020 down in Campo with no one around due to one of the Covid lockdowns and I didn’t meet my first fellow thru hiker until the second day. I finished December 11, 2023 at Crazy Cook’s with no one around as one of the last southbound of the year. I hadn’t seen another thru hiker since October 1st in Chama.
-I hiked 10,755 -ish miles (not counting the various warm-up hikes I did in between). 2,683 PCT, 5,000 AT / ECT, and 3,072 CDT.
-I spent 654 days on trail covering every month of the year. PCT 149, AT / ECT 302, CDT 112 + 81. Spread over 4 years instead of 3 due to being forced off the trail in 2022 due to compounding illness.
-Between 800 and 1,300 miles of each trail were done with my lovely partner and the remainder I was solo. I probably camped around others less than 20 times.
-The worst weather was probably getting nailed directly by a hurricane on the East Coast but I had everything from heat to snow to earthquakes to tornado warnings. Temperatures from the single digits to the triple digits.
-Two of my hikes are still not acknowledged by the trail organizations due to COVID era get off the trail directives even when things had calmed down. As a result I tend to refer to my Rebel Triple Crown.
-Along the way I had girardia, achilles injuries, covid + norovirus, painful planar warts for months, chemical burns from a laundry mishap, and of course a calf strain requiring a helicopter evac and a 3 week recovery. And countless little things like pack rash, heat rash, arch abrasions, skinned knees, general foot issues etc.
-Almost every piece of gear has been worn out and replaced multiple times. The one exception is my coffee cup. Though it did miss a few weeks of the trail down in Florida as I went through an experimental cold soaking phase.
-I had countless animal encounters along the way but the only times I felt truly threatened were due to dogs in rural areas
-Cups of coffee consumed along the way: more than I could possibly count. Nachos consumed along the way: far too few.

And with that a goal I would have never thought I would actually achieve is done. After a 25 foot fall during a mountaineering trip in 2013 lead to knee surgery in 2015 walking without pain was a real challenge. Fortunately my not so secret super power has always been stubbornness and the inability to take a hint.

I benefited from help and support from family, friends, near countless trail angels, and just random kind strangers I encountered along the way. I might prioritize camping alone and staying out of towns whenever possible but I really do enjoyed all the people.

So what now? I’m doing the only logical thing and jumping headfirst into planning an east west hike across America for spring. Because there are a whole hell of a lot more adventures out there.