Pleased to Meet You, Hope You Guess [Our] Name

Hey friends! We are the Bennett family, excited to be part of the Trek blog and prepping for the AT. Our plan is to head SOBO starting June 19.  My husband, our four kids (ages 17, 15, 13, and 10), and our trail dog, Muir, hiked the PCT last year. Our trail names were Kidnapper (Adam), Wildflower (Mindi), Amazon (Sierra), Honey Badger (Kaia), Gancho (Tristan), and Ladybug (Ruby). Everyone is currently open to taking on a different trail name on the AT if the opportunity presents itself (some names were awarded outside the unwritten code of trail name bequeathing). We currently reside in southwest Washington. This will be our first big adventure on the East Coast and we are so excited!

But why would you hike with all those kids?

There are a plethora of reasons we are hiking as a family:
*so our kids will know they can do hard things
*to escape screens
*get some grit
*family time to the extreme, to name a few
Our big goal is the Triple Crown.  At some point in 2013, my husband said to me, “I want us to start preparing for long-distance backpacking as a family. We should do the Triple Crown!” I had no idea what the Triple Crown was, and had never heard of the PCT, AT, or CDT.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t hard to sell me on the idea. Our kids spending months on end with their parents in the great outdoors sounded like the best possible plan. As our kids have gotten older it feels like having only 18 summers or so with them under our roof isn’t enough. We timed it so that the last three summers that our oldest would be with us (before shoving off to college) could be spent together on the trail. Since we can’t do these trails in three months, our plan wouldn’t fit into the traditional public school schedule. With the help of many awesome teachers, we pulled off a combo of homeschool/online/public school and finished 9 months of school in 5 months. Then switched gears to “trail school”.

One trail under our belt

While hiking the PCT, we got a lot of comments about what a “logistical nightmare” a family of our size must be for a thru-hike. Not knowing any better, we just dove in, experimenting as we went along, and came out all the wiser. We are excited to apply this knowledge to the AT (although we have heard it is a whole different animal), and get the kids more involved in the prep work this time.  We know the odds are not in our favor, statistically speaking, but the joy is in the journey (with a hefty serving of Type 2 fun, we’ve learned). See you on the trail!

Photo credit: Andrew Burns @pct_people_project


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Comments 14

  • Julia : Jan 31st

    Wow! So excited for you! And a SOBO at that! Strength in numbers!? Looking forward to following.

    • Mindi Bennett : Feb 3rd

      Thank you so much! Strength in numbers is right 🙂

    • Emily Switser : Feb 13th

      I’m so excited for your family and to follow along on your adventure! I’m planning a 2020 SOBO hike on the AT with a friend and our kids!!!

      • mindi bennett : Feb 13th

        Emily! Thank you for your comment! When will you be starting your SOBO hike? We really hope to bump into you!! 🙂

        • Emily Switser : Feb 19th

          The following year June 2021. I just realized I typed 2020 in my first comment. Whoopsie…I’m looking forward to following along with you this year and would love some input from you when you finish!

          • mindi bennett : Feb 19th

            You bet! We’d love to provide input when we finish 🙂

  • Ruth Morley : Jan 31st

    Each year there’s a family that I follow and cheer on. I’ve just found this year’s! How wonderful to have this experience together and a lifetime of these amazing shared memories. All my very best to you!!!

    • mindi bennett : Feb 3rd

      We are honored to be your family to follow this year :). Thank you!!

  • Johnny Bennett : Jan 31st

    Knock yourselves out guys. Make us Bennetts proud. That really is my name.

    • mindi bennett : Feb 3rd

      Long lost cousin Johnny! Thanks for cheering us on 🙂

  • Sassy Spider : Feb 3rd

    So cool! I can’t get my kids to be out in our yard and I’ve tried all their life! I’d be interested in a gear report with that many people!

    • mindi bennett : Feb 3rd

      We are definitely working on a gear list. Don’t give up on your kids, haha! Thanks for following along 🙂

  • Jenny Moser : Feb 4th

    This makes me happy on SO many levels. You guys are going to rock this. Do you have an Instagram page to follow? I’d love to see your posts if so. Get out there and soak up every minute with your human babies and your fur baby. <3 Best of luck to you all!

    • mindi bennett : Feb 4th

      Thank you so much for this awesome comment! We are posting on IG, FB and YouTube under the name KidsOutWild. Thank you for following along!


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