The Little Black Notebook
Except for occasional times when Shaffer joined another hiker or group, he walked alone. Stopping to camp at night, his only companion was his “little black notebook.” Its condition displays the effects of having been carried for over 2,000 miles.
The Appalachian Trail follows the crestline boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee. Photograph by Earl Shaffer.
Shaffer used the diary to record his progress, detail animal and bird sightings, talk about people he met, vent his frustrations and errors, and jot down poetry.
He also reminisced about his boyhood friend Walter Winemiller, who had shared the dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. But Walter died in battle at Iwo Jima during World War II.