Appalachian Trail Histories

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Thru hiker "Taxman" somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic during the summer of 1983.

Collection: Hikers
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Hikers "Linus" and "Woodstock" on the Appalachian Trail near Pennsylvania Highway 16, May 11, 2000.

Collection: Hikers
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"Chewy" at the Virginia/Tennessee border, just south of Damascus, Virginia.

Collection: Hikers
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Thru hiker Julius Bruggeman passing through Shenandoah National Park, June 12, 1970. Unlike most Appalachian Trail hikers, Bruggeman made his own pack and much of his other gear.

Collection: Hikers
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A group of women who called themselves the "Mountain Marchin' Mamas" backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in the spring of 1988.

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A group of backpackers on the Chimney Pond Trail, near Mount Katahdin in Maine, July 1, 1939.

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A member of the Philadelphia Hiking Club resting along the Appalachian Trail near Smith Gap, April 19, 1935.

Collection: Hikers
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Members of the Philadelphia Trail Club at an unidentified Appalachian Trail shelter, Easter Weekend, 1933. The man on the left is George W. Outerbridge, the second person to hike every step of the Appalachian Trail after Myron Avery. The woman on the right is likely Mary Kilpatrick, the first woman to hike every step of the Trail, and one of the two men in the center of the image is likely her husband, Martin Kilpatrick, the third person to complete every step of the Trail. Outerbridge and the Kilpatricks were leaders of the Philadelphia Trail Club and section hiked the AT during the 1930s.

Collection: Hikers
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Leaving the bus on a PATC trip to Smoke Hole, West Virginia, April 19, 1936. PATC hiking trips during this era were often organized with bus service for members.

Collection: Trail Clubs
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Eiler U. Larsen (1890-1975) was the first person known to have attempted a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail (1931). At the time of his hike the Trail was not yet a continuously blazed path from Maine to Georgia, so it is no surprise that he was unable to complete his hike. Prior to his departure from Maine in August of that year, he corresponded with ATC Chairman Arthur Perkins, AT founder Benton MacKaye, and Myron Avery, among others, seeking advice about his route and his plans. Larsen went on to become the unofficial "Greeter of Laguna Beach" (CA), where spent more than a decade greeting all visitor with a loud hello and a big smile.

Collection: Hikers
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In 1953, George F. Miller became the sixth person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one year, and at age 72, was by far the oldest.

A retired college professor living in Washington, D.C., was a seasoned long distance walker--as a young man he walked more than 1,000 miles from Farmington, Missouri to Washington in just 26 days.

Miller was also an innovator when it came to his gear. As the photograph here shows, his pack (which he made himself) consisted of four separate units spread from his chest to his back.

Collection: Hikers
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Mildren Norman Ryder (1908-1981) was the first woman to thru hike the Appalachian Trail in 1952. Ryder, hiking with her friend Richard Lamb, began at Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia, hiked north to the Susquehanna River, then traveled to Maine, where she and Lamb hiked south to the Susquehanna. Along the way, they detoured north to the Canadian border in order to hike the Long Trail in Vermont from end to end, thereby adding more than 270 miles to their thru hike. Their choice of route meant that Ryder and Lamb were also the first successful "flip flop" thru hikers.

Following her traverse of the Appalachian Trail, Ryder adopted the name Peace Pilgrim and spent the rest of her life walking all over the United States and Canada--more than 25,000 miles--promoting peace.

Collection: Hikers
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