Quitting after just 20 miles in 2015, hiker is now Triple Crown holder

Eddie Boyd spent months preparing for a 2015 hike of the Appalachian Trail, only to confront a sobering realization just 20 miles in: He wasn’t ready.

At a shelter in Maine, 3 miles into the daunting Hundred-Mile Wilderness, dehydration and self-doubt had set in.

Boyd contacted his uncle, who was staying with his parents at a cabin in nearby Baxter State Park, to pick him up. A few days later, he was back home in Columbus, Ohio.

“I remember being absolutely devastated at the decision to turn around,” he said. “I had been planning this trip for over a year, and I hated that it may end only 20 miles down the trail.”

Boyd didn’t give up, though. He just needed time to regroup. On June 28, 2015 — 15 days after quitting the trail — he was back out.

Thus began a three-year cross-country adventure that ended in November 2017 in a rare accomplishment: The 20-year-old completed the triple crown of hiking. “My self-confidence is just through the roof,” said Boyd.

The triple-crown distinction is reserved for those who have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail, all three of which have been designated a National Scenic Trail by Congress. The three routes span 22 states and a combined 8,000 miles.

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