UNICOI, Tenn. (WJHL) — Steve Wilson started hiking years ago to kick his habit of smoking, and this week, he’ll celebrate his 500th hike when he leads an excursion during the Appalachian Trail Vista Summit.

Wilson has spent a lot of time hiking in his hometown of Unicoi at the Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower Trail, and he said it’s made him an advocate for the health benefits of walking.

“I’ve been all over that mountain, and I decided it was time to get in shape,” Wilson said, “Once I turned 60 years old, I got rid of some bad habits and started replacing walking with those habits.”

A release from the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association said Wilson has logged more than 6 million steps throughout his hikes over the last eight years.

“You can either sit around in a chair and go straight to the graveyard, or take a detour,” he said, “You will slowly get in better shape if you continue to walk.”

Wilson will mark his 500th hike during the Appy Trail Vista Summit, which happens August 4-7.