4 September 2023 |
The Netteburg family, composed of Drs. Danae and Olen Netteburg and their five children, has embarked on an extraordinary hiking quest to complete North America’s Triple Crown of long-distance trails, totaling around 8,000 miles. Having already conquered the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, the family is currently making their way through the Pacific Crest Trail, despite challenges such as unusual snowfall in California, according to a feature by CNN.
Both Danae and Olen graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and worked as medical missionaries in Chad at the Bere Adventist Hospital. It was only after their fourth child, Juniper, was born that they began hiking as a family. Their journey started with shorter trails, such as the West Rim Trail in Pennsylvania, before they decided to take on the more challenging Appalachian Trail in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic posed some unexpected hurdles, but the family’s resilience saw them through.
Hiking with five children, including their youngest, born in June 2021, hasn’t been easy. To motivate their kids, the couple employs creative strategies such as impromptu sing-alongs to popular Disney songs. Danae and Olen have witnessed their children learning from nature, observing animals, studying plants, and even engaging in educational activities such as listening to classic literature and doing math quizzes on the move.
Outside the trails, the Netteburgs have had to juggle their careers and the children’s education. After over a decade in Chad, the couple has moved back to the US but remains committed to completing the Pacific Crest Trail. To assist with logistics, family and friends help transport their van packed with “over 200 pounds of gear and often several weeks of food,” to different trail sections.
Having come this far, the Netteburgs are already dreaming of future adventures, whether on a sailboat, in a converted school bus, or possibly international trails like Spain’s Camino de Santiago. Regardless of where life takes them next, they cherish the memories and bonds forged on the trails. They plan to register their achievements with prominent hiking organizations, leaving an inspiring legacy for future hikers who might follow in their footsteps.