Young and Spry: 75-year-old Hiker Completes the Appalachian Trail
Joshua Wussow 09.06.17
After enduring five months of bruises, falls, and the occasional lightning strike, 75-year-old Tom Young has completed his 2,100 mile thru-hike of the legendary Appalachian Trail. The South Carolinian septuagenarian set out from Georgia in late March before finally returning to his family this past Monday. His return flight from Maine marked the culmination of nearly two years of effort, between his training and the actual hike.
The motivation behind his trip was simple. After 31 years in the military, the retired full Colonel still lives by the Army credo: “‘Be all you can be,’” he says. “I thought going out on the trail was a way to demonstrate at the age of 75, you can be all you can be still.”
His wife, however, was less than keen on the idea. After keeping the trip a secret throughout much of his prep process (“I was in the military intelligence business in the Army,” he says), Young finally revealed his plans to his longsuffering wife, Jane. Her reaction?
“To be honest,” she said, “I wanted to choke him… I thought, ‘You are crazy. I’ve had enough of this. You’re 74, you’re going to be 75. You don’t need to be doing this.”
By the time he’d completed the impressive feat, however, Mrs. Young had changed her mind. Now, she says, “I’m proud of him… I’m very excited that he was able to start at one point and go all the way through.”
Young isn’t the oldest hiker to make it through the Appalachian Trail. Per, TheTrek.co, that record belongs to 81-year-old Lee “The Easy One” Barry, who completed his thru-hike in 2004. A pair of 80-year-old identical twin sisters also accomplished the feat in January, citing a “glass of red wine every night” as a key to their success.
Source: Patrick Lloyd, WMFB News
Photo Credit: Tom Young/WMFB News