'Nimblewill Nomad,' 83, is oldest to hike Appalachian Trail

M.J. Eberhart, 83, arrives on the summit of Mount Hayes on the Appalachian Trail, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Gorham, New Hampshire. Eberhart, who goes by the trail name of Nimblewill Nomad, is the oldest person to hike the entire 2,193-mile Appalachian Trail. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - An 83-year-old from Alabama started walking when he retired more than a quarter-century ago - and never stopped.

M.J. "Sunny" Eberhart strode into the record books Sunday as the oldest hiker to complete the Appalachian Trail.

Eberhart, known by the trail name Nimblewill Nomad, acknowledged that despite having tens of thousands of miles under his belt, the trail was tough going at his age, leading to quite a few spills on slippery rocks.

"I've a got a couple of skid marks on me, but I'm OK," he said in a recent interview. "You've got to have an incredible resolve to do this."

He hiked the trail out of order, in sections, to take advantage of optimal weather, and had already completed northern sections including Maine's Mount Katahdin. He completed his final section in western Massachusetts, in the town of Dalton, in the same year in which a 5-year-old became among the youngest to complete the feat.

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