The Bigelow Mountains rise majestically over Flagstaff Lake. I had paddled the lake several times and always longed to climb the nearby mountains. One evening my friend and I decided to get up early, leave the Farmington area and tackle three peaks in the Bigelow range. We studied the trail and pre-packed our backpacks. The August weather promised to be cool but sunny. Early the following morning, we found the trailhead and set off.

By the time we reached the first peak, the temperature was blazingly hot. Modesty kept me from entirely shedding my top, but other hikers saw far too much of my mid section, as I had tucked fabric wherever I could. We had packed in quite a bit of water, but we were entirely out by the time we reached an Appalachian Trail campsite with unfiltered water. Since we were dayhiking neither of us had packed water filtration. We filled our bottles and drank greedily, deciding dehydration was worse than the pathogens we were mostly likely consuming.

The bugs were relentless, odd for that time of the summer. Despite the bug spray, we were swarmed at all times. They were in my hair and in my clothes and constantly landing near my eyes. We abandoned the third planned peak, Avery, and decided to hike straight down. The stairs and terrain were relentless. I whined most of the way down and my friend was far worse, nearly sobbing (at least in my version of the tale). This is one teeny, tiny section of the Appalachian Trail and we were grown-ups with lots of hiking experience. Now, if you were young parents with three kids, would you tackle this hike? What about the ENTIRE AT?

That is exactly what Heidi and Marcus Corey set out to do. Marcus grew up in Wilton, Maine, and was quite familiar with the Maine mountains, so when his wife suggested they tackle the Appalachian Trail, he supported the choice. The thing that made their thru-hike exceptional is that their three children, ages 13, 11 and 8 went along for the journey as well.

According to Marcus, the family wanted to “unplug” for a while. They began their trip on April 2 at Springer Mountain, Georgia, and ended on Aug. 23 at Katahdin Mountain, Maine. Prior to the start date, Heidi dehydrated food and prepped most of the meals and Marcus’ parents followed in an RV to resupply as needed. It was a well-coordinated effort.

On Saturday, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. we’ve invited the entire family to McArthur Library to share pictures and stories from their amazing hike. Meet Marcus, Heidi, Abishai (age 13), Hadassah (age 11) and Jesse (age 8), learn their trail names and enjoy their tales. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

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