An 83-year-old has become the oldest person to finish the 3,500 km Appalachian Trail in the US.

MJ “Sunny” Eberhart, also known as Nimblewill Nomad, is a seasoned hiker who has been tackling trails since he retired in 1993.

The former veteran said the trail was still quite tough despite his experience.

“I’ve got a couple of marks on me, but I’m OK,” he said.

“You’ve got to have an incredible resolve to do this.”


Mr Eberhart took on the trail in reverse order so that he could take advantage of the weather, and completed his final section in western Massachusetts.

Dale “Greybeard” Sanders, the former record holder, joined Mr Eberhart at the finish line.

He said he wasn’t sad that his record had been overtaken.

“My dear friend Nimblewill is taking my record away from me, and I’m happy for him. Records are made to be broken,” Mr Sanders said.

The Appalachian Trail has formed the bulk of his final trek, which he has named “Odyssey 2021 ‘Bama to Baxter – Hike On”.

After finishing the 3,500-kilometre trail, Mr Eberhart has just 1.2 kilometres left of the Pinhoti Trail according to his website.


Though his first hike was motivated by a search for peace, he said he has eventually found it.

“You can seek peace. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to find it,” he said.

“I persevered to the point that the good Lord looked down on me and said, ‘you’re forgiven, you can be at peace’.

“It’s a profound blessing. It’s as simple as that.”

Though Mr Eberthart has said it will be his last hike, his friend Mr Norman said that wasn’t too likely.

“I don’t think it’s going to be his last hike. I just don’t think he knows what he’s going to hike next,” Mr Norman said.


This article first appeared on Over60.