News & Stories
January 5, 2024

Quite a hike

Sidney McAdams (18C) traded an ill-fitting job for the open wilderness when he decided to “thru-hike” the Appalachian Trail in 2022, challenging himself to cover the entire distance with no significant breaks.

With just two months’ planning, McAdams set out May 22 of that year with 5½ pounds of gear and a supply of dry foods for his ultralight hike of one of the world’s longest footpaths stretching 2,198.4 miles across 14 states with approximately 464,500 feet of elevation changes. A “north bounder,” he began at Georgia’s Springer Mountain, the trail’s southern entryway.

Each year, thousands of hikers attempt to hike the “A-T” from beginning to end in one continuous trip, with only about 25% succeeding. The average transit takes five to seven months; McAdams did it in three and a half, exiting at Maine’s Mount Katahdin on Sept. 5 after covering 21 to 25 miles for 107 consecutive days.

Amid remote conditions, McAdams found connection with “trail families,” fellow hikers in neighboring campsites who would snap photos for one another and even share the rare dinner out at resupply stations. He communicated with his actual family – including proud uncle Spencer Brewer (87G), who tipped us off to his nephew’s feat – through nightly entries in the FarOut app on his smart phone.

The experience was idyllic for McAdams, who found joy “being out in nature, in a beautiful environment for days at a time and having the freedom to make my own schedule.”

Brushing aside the memory of difficulties faced along the way, including a three-day downpour at the outset of his trek, “constantly stubbing toes,” periodic storms and the “rock-strewn terrain” of Pennsylvania, McAdams said he longs to someday return to favorite spots such as New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the Bigelows in Maine, where soaring heights offered him spectacular views.

Though proud of his mammoth accomplishment, McAdams isn’t done – not by a long shot. While working for Epic Mountain Gear in Colorado, he’s already dreaming of his next adventure, which will take him to America’s opposite shore for an attempt of the Pacific Crest Trail, spanning more than 2,650 miles of California, Oregon and Washington.

Stay tuned!

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