Trail blazer completes hiking’s Triple Crown

Anyone who loves long-distance hiking or has a passion for being outside can appreciate the spectacular slide show that Shian Sung can replay any time he wants in his mind. Sung has seen some of the more amazing sights the United States has to offer in terms of natural wonders.

Sung, 33, a native of New Hampshire and the son of Chinese immigrants, recently accomplished a rare feat, completing America’s Triple Crown of hiking. Sung has through-hiked the 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail (2005), the 2,654-mile Pacific Crest Trail (2010) and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, which he just completed in 152 days on Nov. 15. He wore out four pairs of boots and hiked the CDT with other hikers he met on the PCT.

As of October 2012, only 174 trekkers accomplished hiking’s Triple Crown, according to records kept by the American Long Distance Hiking Association West. Because Sung finished the CDT after Sept. 1, he won’t be considered for the 2013 group of Triple Crowners, but he will qualify for the 2014 ceremony when the hikers are rewarded with a plaque at ALDHA West’s annual gathering.

For Sung, it all started in 2005 when he took time off as a software engineer to break away from what he called an “unhealthy lifestyle” to hike the Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia.

“Hiking the AT in 2005 changed my life,” said Sung, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in computer sciences and English. “At 25, I had kidney stones from eating poorly. I went to work right out of college and felt I needed a break.”

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