FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s not often that you link beauty pageants and long treks to the wilderness together, but for Fort Wayne resident Kelsey Gerig, that is exactly where her passions meet.

“They’re both definitely challenges, you want to be a better version of yourself each day,” Gerig said. “But besides challenging yourself they don’t really have much in common, and there’s not really an overlap in the two groups. “

Mrs. Indiana American 2022 recently finished a thru-hike of the Appalachian trail by herself, which is no small feat.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Gerig said.

She left the first week of March and finished on August 12, hiking through 14 states and almost 2,200 miles.

Last week her family celebrated her accomplishment with a surprise party and she got to see her husband and loved ones for the first time in months.

“My husband set up this surprise party for me returning, I’ve been gone for 5 months,” Gerig said. “I thought we were just getting our dogs picked up, and then I walked in to all my family and friends being here.”

Gerig is ready to return to her job at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory next week, where nature takes a little less than 5 months to walk through.

Gerig chronicled her trek through the Appalachian Trail, and you can see it all on her YouTube channel.