Five-year-old Christian Thomas, or “Buddy Backpacker” as he’s known on the trail, and his parents Andrea Rego and Dion Pagonis, set out on April 27, 2013 to complete the entire Appalachian Trail. They choose to make the hike as a flip-flop. They started in Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., The family then trekked up to Mount Katahdin, Maine, before coming back down to W.Va. to hike south toward Springer Mountain, Ga. As of December 5, Christian was in the Great Smoky Mountains. “Buddy and his folks hope to finish their adventure around the first of the New Year. If successful, Christian will be the youngest person to thru-hike the A.T. Buddy Backpacker and his crew are using the slack packing approach to the thru –hike. Slack packing is using a vehicle to transport the hiker’s gear ahead so the hiker doesn’t have to carry it on the trail. The hiker will often just carry a hydration pack, food and maybe some camera equipment.
This thru-hike puts homeschooling into a whole different light. The 5-year-old is receiving a great education on the great outdoors! Plus, his mom shares that, “he hikes with educational music, he’s learning French, he’s learning to count, spell, add and subtract while he hikes without the distraction of other kids or being in the classroom.” The family hopes to capture all of his experiences and adventures in a children’s book after Buddy reaches his goal
“Buddy’s” parents are a couple in our late twenties. Dion is a graphic designer, which has allowed him to work from the trail and pay for all the expenses of the thru-hike. Hiking the Appalachian Trail wasn’t something Andrea had ever thought would be possible for her but now she couldn’t be more excited for this wonderful journey as a family. Christian turned 5 on April 1st.
Photo and primary source: http://www.buddybackpacker.com/