Life Outside Fall 2017 - 31

You can be pretty
sure Ellie Quirin is the
youngest ever when you
consider that she took
her first steps on the
Great Trail.
A LOT OF ELLIE'S FIRSTS have come on the trail.

First steps.
First fist-bump.
First baby to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail
with her parents.
On March 21 the Quirin family-Derrick, Bekah,
and Ellie-embarked on the 2,185-mile journey
on the Appalachian Trail. When they return to
home (they live in Blue Ridge) along the trail
near McAfee Knob in mid-October, Ellie will
make history as the youngest person to travel
the distance of the A.T.
The journey for the Quirins has been packed
with firsts and plenty of adventure. (When we last
talked in early August, they had just crossed over
into Massachusetts, with some of the toughest
miles behind them.)
"It's been an amazing experience," says Bekah
Quirin. "Getting through Maine and New
Hampshire was like being on top of the world.
There were tears in my eyes, I was so happy."
The rocky terrain and mostly exposed area
without tree cover was slow, and is often noted
as one of the the toughest parts of the trail.
"But some incredible views made up for it,"
Bekah Quirin says.
And along the trail in Maine is where Ellie took
her first steps.
"She took her first steps literally on the trail.
That was pretty cool," Bekah says.
Ellie also has a couple of signature trail moves,
including a fist-bump or high five to connect
with other hikers. Because of the flip-flop route
the Quirins took-from Virginia to Georgia and
now walking Maine back to Virginia-they've
had second encounters with other thru-hikers.
"Some people saw us down south," Bekah says,
noting that Ellie greets these friends with the
now-famous fist-bump.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy expects
more than 2,600 hikers to complete the hike this
year. The organization tracks the number and
starting points of hikers on the trail each year
and confirms that Ellie will likely be the youngest
to finish the trail. The most famous example of
another child on the trail is Christian Thomas,

NEW WORD
One of the words Ellie
learned on the trek was
"backpack," conveying
that it was time for her
to climb in.

A.T. TRAIL NAMES

It's common for Appalachian Trail thru-hikers to take
on trail names. Some hikers are self-named while
others provide insight about the person that might
almost seem obvious. Hikers may (or may not) know
other hikers by anything more than these nicknames.
Many of the notations from the Quirins along the way
have referenced Appalachian Trail friends by their trail
names.
The Quirins have their own and refer to Ellie as "Roo."
* Sherpa -- Derrick
* Kanga -- Bekah
* Roo -- Ellie

LifeOutsideMag.com // Fall 2017

31


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Fall 2017

Life Outside Fall 2017 - 1
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 2
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 3
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 4
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 5
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 6
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 7
Life Outside Fall 2017 - 8
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Life Outside Fall 2017 - 44
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