Appalachian Trail Histories

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During his first solo thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 1948, Earl Shaffer kept a diary of his trip, logging information about the condition of the Trail, the people he met, wildlife he encountered, and photographs he took. Shaffer was also a poet, and the diary contains many of the poems he wrote along the way. The diary is now part of the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and has been transcribed in its entirety.

Collection: Hikers
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Earl Shaffer at the conclusion of his thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in the summer of 1948. Although some have disputed his claim to have hiked the entire trail that summer, accusing him of skipping sections or hitching rides in cars, Shaffer is still widely considered to be the first "thru hiker" of the Appalachian Trail.

Collection: Hikers
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Earl Shaffer (1918-2002) is widely considered to be the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in one year during the summer of 1948. 

Shaffer's diary of his first thru hike has been transcribed by volunteers at the Smithsonian Institution and can be read in its entirety online. The diary entry associated with this image reads: "About noon came to sign “Appalachian Trail continues across river cross at Harrisburg bridge and take Rockville car no. 5 to Linglestown Road”. Have now hiked 25 miles past Center Point, total of 1050 miles. 1000 more to go."

Collection: Hikers
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