A couple from home has just achieved one of their biggest goals in life.They started their journey in Roanoke. It’s the adventure of a lifetime for life just beginning. Bekah and Derrick Quirin just delivered on a promise they made years ago. “She kept the promise she made to me the night before we got married,” Derek Quilling said. “She assured me we would.” They did.
They started planning a hike on the Appalachian Trail. They sell their belongings, pack their bags, and join a community that has left the comfort of their homes on a wondrous adventure. Unlike many other wanderers, the Quillings carried some extra cargo. Their one-year-old daughter Elizabeth, or Ellie for short, should not be left out.
So Bekah, Derrick, and Ellie Quirin hiked the entire Appalachian Trail together, covering some 2,200 miles in just six months.
“But as far as we and ATC know, she’s the only baby who has walked the full trail,” my dad said, referring to the Appalachian Trail Preserve.
Ellie takes her first steps on the road, her first teeth and her first words.
“She really started talking about mom and dad first. Then no,” Derek said. “Then her fourth word was backpack, and we’re very proud of that.”
Mom and Dad also learned a little patience and flexibility. And even in the great unknown, Ellie has never met a stranger.
“We got so many times from other homeless, oh, she made our day,” Quirins said. “People don’t really care about us, but they love Ellie!”
Some days are unbelievable, as mother Bekah Quirin describes her difficult but beautiful climb through New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
Other days are tough. “We had rain almost every day and mosquitoes almost every day,” Derek said of a track in Maine. “When you have one, you pray for the other.”
But her last day was surreal.
“We’re really struggling with what we just did,” Becca said. “..It’s a strange feeling, but it’s also just a joy, and we were living our biggest dreams before we turned 30.”
But the Quillings hope their adventure of a lifetime will inspire the adventure of a lifetime.
“We definitely think people can go out and do something with their kids,” Derek said. “That’s exactly what we want to promote.”
Now that they’re back home, the Quillings are trying to adjust to off-road life. Bekah runs a group called Hike It Baby, which allows local parents to hike with their babies. You can find the group on Facebook.