West Virginia Twins Complete the ‘Triple Crown’ of American Hiking

by Madison Miller
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It’s a mark of royalty that many outdoor-enthusiasts long for.

The triple crown of American hiking is being able to hike through the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail.

The AT is 2,190 miles, the CDT is 3,100 miles, and the PCT is 2,650 miles. Altogether, hikers who seek to complete this trio would be hiking a whopping total of about 7,940 miles.

Identical Twins Earn the Triple Crown

While many have achieved the hiker’s crown, Garrett and Landen Napier are the first identical twins to accomplish the rigorous journey. The two were 20-years-old when they completed the AT in 2018 together.

Now, this past November, they used some quarantine time to get outside and hike the CDT. The pair have spent years now accomplishing this goal and finally completed it at the age of 23.

The twins grew up in a small town in West Virginia together and have always been attached at the hip. However, after this long grueling journey together, is time-attached what they want? Without each other traveling, hiking the three spines of the U.S. would have been impossible.

“We push each other to our maximum limits … There were things I don’t think I could have done without Landen there, like the Sierra in the snow. But then getting to share amazing views with your brother makes it all worthwhile,” the pair told Outside.

They may be Frick and Frack on the trails, but their lives outside of nature are a lot more than a cute brotherly bond. The two survived a rough Sierra Nevada snowpack that sent many hikers home. However, with a goal to finish in 100 days, the duo sped their way through the trail. They hiked the 84 miles in Washington in 36 hours.

The two went to nursing school together, joined ski patrol, and also became EMTs.

From Adventurers to COVID-19 Heroes

Besides persevering together through rain and snow, the two have seen a lot of tragedy during COVID-19. The two were a part of the COVID van unit in their area that answered calls related to the virus. They were in an isolated RV together in full hazmat suits for nearly two months.

“We didn’t sign up to get coronavirus, but it’s in our job descriptions—serve and protect the community … There were so many employees in our company who had underlying health conditions. We were the best candidates,” Landed said to Outsider.

The two have gone the distance together, but distance may be the thing that now separates them after traveling almost 8,000 miles together.

Garrett is living in New Hampshire where he will soon start back up at school. He wants to become a travel nurse and join Grand Canyon’s search and rescue team. Meanwhile, Landen wants to enlist in the Coast Guard and become a part of the Aviation Survival Technician program.

Completing the Triple Crown

According to Greenbelly, the Triple Crown is a tough win. Not only is it about 8,000 miles, but it spans 22 states with one million cumulative elevation gain.

About 335 hikers have been acknowledged by ALDHA-West as Triple Crowners. The very first hiker was Eric Ryback in the early 70s. Heather Anderson was the second female to complete a Double Triple Crown and is gearing up for her third, which she hopes to complete in a single calendar year.

According to FKT, Anderson completed the Triple Crown in 251 days, 20 hours, and 1o minutes. She has the fastest time for a supported hiker, meaning she had a crew providing her with some essentials.

The fastest self-supported hiker was Jeff Garmire who completed the journey in 252 days and 12 hours.

Outsider.com