Midland’s Travis Glynn has joined elite company after having recently completed the “Triple Crown” of hiking — the Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail.
In total, the length of the three hikes is 7,938 miles, and they include a combined vertical gain of about 1,000,000 feet, or about 189 miles.
As of September 2018, only 396 people were recognized as having completed the Triple Crown by the American Long Distance Hiking Association (ALDHA)-West.
Glynn’s hike of the Appalachian Trail — the shortest of the three at 2,184 miles — came first, in 2014, and took him 4 1/2 months to complete.
Next, the Pacific Crest Trail — at 2,654 miles — took him five months to finish in 2016.
On Glynn’s final and longest leg of the Triple Crown, the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, which he started in 2017, a stress fracture in his foot forced him to exit the trail in 2018.
After recovering and returning to the trail, he completed it on Oct. 4, 2019. The final hike took him two years to complete, including the time off.
“It was a relief to finish after having to get off (the trail) with an injury the year prior,” said Glynn, 28.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia in the south to Mount Katahdin in Maine in the north.
The Pacific Crest Trail runs through Washington, Oregon and California, following the highest parts of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.
The Continental Divide Trail follows the Rocky Mountains through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
Glynn, a 2009 Midland High and 2013 Central Michigan University graduate, said that no amount of training can adequately prepare one for the Triple Crown. The training, rather, begins when the hike itself begins, he said.
“Starting the trail slowly is training,” Glynn said. “You can’t prepare for a four- to five-month hike, hiking 20-30 miles a day, other than by doing it. Ten to 15 miles a day in the beginning for a few weeks will get you hardened.”
In terms of motivation to earn the Triple Crown, Glynn determined that after completing the first trail, he would either stop right there or he would hike all three.
Under the stipulations set by ALDHA-West, the hikes may be broken into different sections depending on injury, detours and safety. The organization has an application process to recognize those who complete all three trails.
ALDHA-West’s website says that award winners must “complete all three trails in their entirety. ‘Entirety’ includes walking from terminus to terminus with complete footsteps. We understand that detours happen when trails experience things such as wild fires, washouts, and other situations. ALDHA-West just asks that before you apply for your award that you either walked an alternate at the time or came back at a later date to complete a missed section, making your hike a continuous footpath.”
ALDHA-West goes by the honor system when it comes to recognizing those who have completed the Triple Crown. The organization only asks for four photos to be attached to the application, to be used for the slideshow at the annual ceremony.
Since he finished the Triple Crown late this year, Glynn was not eligible to receive the award this year, but will be able to next year.
Outside of hiking, Glynn said that he is not much of an athlete. He feels he is ready to start the next phase of his life — but not ready to give up his love for the outdoors.
“Full-scale adulting,” Glynn said of what’s next for him. “A regular nine-to-five (job) with all of my spare time in the great outdoors.”
Another part of Glynn’s journey was the fact that he did it alone — although he did meet a few travelers along the way on the first two trails.
“The Continental Divide Trail was more isolated,” Glynn said.