Earl Shaffer was the first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail in one continuous hike. Shaffer had no expert advice, no previous footsteps to follow, or even guidebooks to help him. At the time, experts on the Appalachian Trail believed that a hike of the entire Trail was impossible. Shaffer started his walk in April 1948 at Mount Oglethorpe, Georgia, and completed the Trail four months later at Maine’s Mount Katahdin. Shaffer kept a diary, along with photographs taken along the way, to prove to skeptics that he had really accomplished what he claimed. This exhibition features photographs taken along the trail, Shaffer’s diary from the 1948 hike, and maps he used. The exhibition also covers the conception and development of the Appalachian Trail and its larger cultural and environmental impact.
You are invited to add your own photos and stories from the trail to our interactive map.