‘Oden on the Trail’: Local 10-year-old on a mission to hike and give back


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — There is no mountain, real or imaginary, that is too tall for 10-year-old Oden Parlier. He’s taking a newfound love of hiking and turning it into a chance to give back.

Before the pandemic, the 10-year-old took part in a lot of activities, but those all came to a halt with COVID. While he was learning remotely, Oden’s grandmother, Missy Wray, who he calls ‘Nan,’ started taking him hiking. It was an idea that Oden’s mom, Michele Parlier, loved.

“We didn’t really have anything to do, and then Nan started hiking, and she asked if I wanted to go hiking,” said Oden. “At that point, I really didn’t know what hiking was.”

Little did Michele know, Oden and Wray had bigger plans.

“He had been wanting a YouTube channel, and I was like, ‘I don’t know that we should do that,'” said Parlier. “He went on a hike. He said, ‘Mom, I did this video, it would be great for YouTube.’ And I guess the rest is history.”

Wray shot videos of Oden on her phone, and they found an app to edit the videos.

Now, Oden is determined to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

As Oden continued going on hikes and making videos, he started connecting with experienced hikers both in-person and online. Companies sent him gear to try on in videos, and he interviewed hikers for other videos.

“We’ve had some big YouTube channels shout this out too when we were just starting,” said Oden.

Then one day, Oden heard a commercial on the radio that gave him another idea.

“He heard a commercial on the radio, about they were really needing donations for Christmas because the food bank was so low,” said Parlier. “He said, ‘People really don’t have food for Christmas?’ So it was kind of a shock to him.”

“I just realized that people couldn’t really get dinners, and I decided that I was going to help them out and make them some dinners,” said Oden.

Oden set out to host his own food drive. He started by posting a video to his YouTube channel ‘Oden on the Trail’ and his mother and great-grandmother put out calls on Facebook.

Last year, Oden raised enough money and collected enough food for 30 families. This year, he wants to feed 100.

He’s calling on his YouTube and Facebook followers for help.

“Last year, we just had a little slideshow, and just a couple of pictures,” said Oden. “So we’re going to try and make a ‘video-video’ this year.”

Financial donations can be made on the Oden on the Trail Facebook page, and non-perishable food can be left at Creekside Cabins at 147 Holston View Dr. Elizabethton, TN.

The Parliers will be hosting a kickoff event Saturday, Oct. 23 from 3-9 p.m. at the Creekside Cabins.

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