About the Author: Maggie “Haiku” Elliott is a southern belle who resides in a scruffy little city known as Knoxville, TN. When she’s not at work she’s taking advantage of all the beautiful Appalachian land around her, whether it’s hiking in the GSMNP or climbing at her favorite crag at the Obed. She completed an E2E hike of the Long Trail and has completed most of the Foothills Trail. She enjoys meeting all types of folks outdoors and writing haikus about her experience.
After reading the title some of you might be thinking, “what is the chica talking about… I have never heard of anything called the ‘Triple Tiara’,“ well, let me break it down for you. For those of you knew to the hiking community, the most coveted of hiking feats is known as the “Triple Crown”. This means a hiker has successfully completed the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), roughly 8,000 miles of combined hiking. Well, I am going to be quite frank here, there is no way I can afford or take off enough time from my teaching job to hike that much, so I have settled for the “Triple Tiara”.
The “Triple Tiara” includes hiking sections of all the major Triple Crown Trails. The Long Trail (LT) in Vermont, which is part of the AT. The John Muir Trail (JMT) in California, which is part of the PCT, and last the Colorado Trail (CT) which is part of the CDT. Combined these trails equal about 970 miles, which is much more attainable personally.
Now that you understand the verbiage, why am I doing it? Well, it’s kind of one of those weird unfollowable stories, but I will do my best to explain. Since the 7th grade I had my eyes set on the AT after visiting Baxter SP, but quickly learned in adulthood that tackling a trail of that length requires a lot of funds, support, and determination, a few of those things I did not have. So I did some research and happened upon the Long Trail. It was totally doable in my time off from work during the summer, and I figured, “Why the heck not, let’s do this thing!” Once I got on trail, I absolutely fell in love with long-distance hiking. The simplicity of carrying everything on your back that you need and being disconnected from the stressors of society was a dream. So I was hooked, and I definitely wanted more.
Some hikers on the LT, Reboot and Deacon Blues, first introduced me to the concept of the Triple Tiara, which they referred to as the “Tiny Tiara”. My type-A personality was very intrigued. I could feel the gratification of a Triple Crown hiker but at my level! So a brief conversation soon became a dream. We hadn’t been off the trail before my hiking partner Gups and I were looking up JMT permits on our Greyhound ride back home.
As time passed, our plans to hike the JMT fell through as Gups announced she would be hiking the New England section of the AT with her husband this year, so then the CT felt like the only option. It didn’t require any permits and I had multiple people interested in hiking the sections of the trail with me. So overall, it seemed like a no-brainer.
So, this leads me to now. Here I am, contemplating all the new adventures that I will have this summer. Currently my start date is set for the end of June, but the snowpack will determine when I can actually safely get on trail and make decent miles. I am looking forward to writing about my preparation, as well as the journey itself. Stay tuned for more articles on my quest to complete the Triple Tiara.
sought out by those without time
let the quest begin