Is this a record? Tara Wales said her almost four-year-old daughter Acacia recently walked the Six Foot Track in three days - a distance of 46 km and 5,200 feet elevation from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves. And she said she and her husband Samuel didn't need to carry her once.
When they got to Jenolan Caves House (they completed the trek the week after the October long weekend) a staffer commented that at three years and 11 months, she may be the youngest to ever walk it.
It's not the first time the young hiker has hit a milestone.
As a toddler (aged three years and three months) she walked with her parents along the 62 kilometre Trans-Catalina Trail in Southern California and made the front page of a local paper.
On that trip the family told the Catalina Islander newspaper that they "made friends with other hikers and Acacia knew she would get to see those people again at the next stop. Despite getting caught in a rainstorm, a fall and few minor meltdowns, Acacia came through like a veteran, finishing a day ahead".
Theresa H. McDowell, Two Harbors director of operations was "floored to see such a young girl taking on the TCT" and said she was the youngest to do the trail - many adults did not complete it.
The now Sydney-based parents met while hiking in 2014 - so naturally wanted to include their daughter in their outdoor adventuring.
Mrs Wales said they always took their daughter in a backpack but once she could walk, they got her used to short hikes.
"We told ourselves that becoming parents wasn't going to stop us from traveling and hiking. We'd find new ways of making it work with Acacia. At least once a week we would do 12-15 ks. It's whatever you make your normal ... plus she loves it," she told the Gazette.
On the 6 Foot Track they kept her happy with music and audio books, snacks, and singing Christmas songs. She scurried over Bowtells swing bridge.
"Acacia seemed stoked to be on a swinging bridge in the rain! I on the other hand, gritted my teeth in sheer panic the entire time with her in front. I had her count her steps out loud so she wouldn't go too fast and create too much side momentum."
"She knows when she needs a break ... we downloaded audiobooks for when she is struggling about 2pm."
The trio is hoping to do the Pacific Crest Trail - a massive 4,270km from Mexico to Canada - with peaks above 10,000 feet next year if COVID allows. How do they think she will go?
"That's the biggest question hey, I think as long we're safe about it and and there's people and views. That's what has got her through," Mrs Wales said.
"It's just the people we are, we are a family of hikers... and hopefully she keeps doing it."
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