Pa'at, who walked every single step of the trail, broke into song as soon as he saw the structure marking the Pacific Crest Trail's ending.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 3, 2022. It has since been updated.
The Pacific Crest Trail in the United States is a very long hike, stretching from close to the Mexican border in Southern California to the Canadian border with the state of Washington. It spans a total distance of 2,650 miles through the states of California, Oregon and Washington, according to Lonely Planet. The trek is especially difficult because of the altitude changes and the resultant changes in weather. It could be 90 degrees one day and freezing on another. While many of us dread a simple 15-minute workout, a 71-year-old has managed to finish the grueling trek. According to Instagram users Auti and Chris (@humping_north), "Pa'at reaching the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail after having walked every single step of the 2,653-mile trail."
Auti and Chris were themselves on the hiking trail when they met the 71-year-old. The couple posted his inspiring journey along with a video of the senior's joyous and heartfelt emotions as he reached the trail's end. The caption states, "Few people can say they've accomplished such an incredible feat — especially not at 71!"
According to The Wall Street Journal, only about 14% of people who attempt the Pacific Crest Trail succeed in finishing the hike. The feat is an achievement for people of any age, so it's remarkable to see the bearded 71-year-old achieve the feat. He approaches the trail-end marker and touches it with respect. He breaks into song as soon as he sees the structure, amazed that he's done it. The song, befitting his situation, goes, “I’ve been waiting… such a long time. Walking such a long way. Such a long way… just to be here, just to be here. Across deserts. I walked through rivers, I climbed mountains, just to see you. Just to see you. I’ve been waiting. Such a long time.”
Auti and Chris said that the 71-year-old is one of those individuals you instantly felt connected with. They wrote in the caption, "We didn’t meet Pa’at until Stehekin, only 80 miles from the northern terminus, so we only knew him a few days before finishing, but he’s one of those people you instantly feel like you’ve known a lifetime. He has a heart of gold, the kindest soul, and unmatched optimism and fortitude. Thank you for being such an inspiration to us, Pa’at!
Ever since being posted, the video has garnered more than 600,000 views and thousands of comments. It is being widely shared across social media platforms, with many commenters expressing that they're inspired by the man's feat. Reddit user r/NihilisticPollyanna said, "I would look worse if I drove 4000km in my car, and I'm in my 40s. Hiking is a pretty solid workout, and this has huge changes in elevation and terrain, not to mention the weather, and less than ideal sleeping conditions. This guy is tough as nails!"
This is the absolute best clip I’ve ever seen. I wanted to walk this trail a long time but now I know even if I don’t get it in my twenties or thirties I can still try and try again! https://t.co/sIHqNmM2Cu— Brittany Baugher (@listen2hersmile) October 2, 2022
Reddit user r/VerifiedPanda said, "I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone comment on the elevation change which is like 140 km(85 miles). At worst, he took a handicap ramp to the top of Mount Everest and back down 9 times. I’d like to see some of these people try to make it up a couple of flights of stairs." User @bi11ie commented on Instagram, "Would love to know his life story. I know he has amazing stories. 71!" User @marlayneboblett commented, saying his song fits his accomplishment perfectly, "Awesome accomplishment. His song fits beautifully. Congratulations!"