When Shaffer began his hike, he had no guidebooks. His only maps were the road maps issued by service stations.The Trail itself was often obscured by natural growth, and trail markings were often faded or missing, forcing him to “bushwhack,” or cut through overgrown areas.
Shaffer’s diary describes frequent episodes of taking wrong turns and going miles off course. His supplies were minimal, and he even mailed his tent home only a few days after starting out. “Most people,” he wrote, “never in all their lives sleep under the open sky, and never realize what they are missing.”