Not Your Average Summer Vacation! The Kallin Family Treks Across America

Kallin family

It is a good bet that you did not do what Nathan (9) and Maddy (8) Kallin of Dresden, Maine did this past summer!  With their parents, they became only the 16th young family to “thru-hike” the Appalachian Trail.

So what does that mean?

The Appalachian Trail is no ordinary hiking path.  It stretches 2,160 miles from Georgia in the Southeastern USA to Maine in the Northeast USA.  A “thru-hike” means completing the trail from end to end.  For Maddy and Nathan this meant starting their trip in March and finishing it in September!  It means they averaged over 15 miles of hiking everyday!

Camping each night on the trail, they met some interesting people including a beekeeper, a snake handler and a goat farmer. They met other thru-hikers with nicknames like Little John, Spider-Man, Blink and Bear Juice.  They ate wild blackberries and huckleberries, saw Bears, crossed rivers and slept outside for the entire summer. 

While this was the family biggest outdoor trip yet, it was not their only one.  The year before, they took a 120-mile bicycle trip to go camping in Acadia National Park in Maine.  And the winter before that they skiied 14 miles to their campsite at Baxter State Park!

So, start thinking about what you would like to do next summer and listen to their amazing story here thanks to NPR.

Additional Resources:

Topics for Discussion:

  • What qualities do Maddy and Nathan exhibit  to be able to complete this amazing feat?
  • What do you think the hardest part of the trip was for them? How do you think they overcame their challenges?
  • What would you like to do by the time you’re 18 years old?
  • If you could spend your entire summer vacation on an adventure, where would you go and what would you do?

Take Action:

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.




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