calendar year triple crown thru hikers sammy potter and jackson parell on a detour on the CDT

Two 21-Year-Olds Become Youngest Ever to Complete Calendar Year Triple Crown

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail are all feats on their own. Hike all three in your life and you become a Triple Crowner. This year, two youngsters set out to do it all in a calendar year.

Sammy “Buzz” Potter from Maine, 21, and Jackson “Woody” Parell from Florida, 21, just completed the final puzzle piece to their historical Triple Crown victory. They finished all three trails in a calendar year on Oct. 22, 2021, at the Etna Summit at the Northern Terminus of the PCT.

The 21-year-old duo hiked the trails starting with the AT, then the CDT, then the PCT. They started on Jan. 1 and finished last week, hiking a total of over 7,000 miles with over 1 million feet of elevation in 295 days.

As of 2018, only nine people had completed the calendar year Triple Crown feat (the first was in 2001). And at the end of 2018, Heather Anderson became the first woman to complete it. Potter and Parell mark the 11th and 12th documented finishers — and the youngest ever.

Even better, the two hikers weren’t just doing the calendar year Triple Crown for themselves — they’ve got a fundraiser going for Protect Our Winters too.

“Our thru-hike this year has confronted us with the devastating effects of climate change,” they wrote. “Wildfires, heat waves, cold snaps — threatening our most cherished hiking trails. Donate to POW to protect these outdoor gems.”

Will 'Akuna' Robinson bowing head on trail marker
Will 'Akuna' Robinson Becomes 1st African American Man to Hike Triple Crown
Two-and-a-half years after his first step on the Pacific Crest Trail, Will 'Akuna' Robinson reached the northern terminus of the Continental Divide Trail. And in doing so, he became the first Black man to thru-hike the big three. Read more…

Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.