:"Earl V. Shaffer was an American outdoorsman and author known from 1948 as "The Crazy One" for attempting what became the first documented hiking trip over the entire length of the Appalachian Trail." (A.T.)
From the Earl Shaffer Foundation website
:"In late 1947, the urge to hike the Appalachian Trail started to grow within him when he learned from a magazine article that no one had hiked the entire Trail in one season. It was thought to be an impossible feat by the Appalachian Trail Conference leadership and hiking public. This urge to thru-hike had first surfaced during the late 30's while hiking with his close friend Walter Winemiller, a neighbor in York. He and Earl had planned on hiking the Trail after the war. Walter was killed during the landing at Iwo Jima, though, so Earl headed for Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia alone in May of 1948 to begin his historic journey. He went on to become the first person to "thru-hike" the A.T. in one continuous journey that year. His hike was in many ways a memorial to his friend."
Here he is, in a 1948 photo, upon completion:"After his 1948 hike, Earl's first book Walking With Spring was published privately and later, in 1982, published commercially by The Appalachian Trail Conference. Earl took to the trail again in 1965, hiking from Mt. Katahdin in Maine south to Springer Mountain, which had recently been designated as the Trail's Southern terminus, replacing Mt. Oglethorpe. He was the first to complete a thru-hike in both Georgia to Maine and Maine to Georgia directions."
"After half a century of on and off Trail work with the ATC and local A.T. clubs, Earl decided to try a third thru-hike in 1998 ... at the age of 79 years! He completed this "anniversary" hike just two weeks prior to his 80th birthday. While on the 1998 trip, Earl kept notes as an "Ode to the Appalachian Trail", which became the basic manuscript for his latest book, The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back To The Hills, now available at book stores and through online book sellers."
And here he is, back again, in 1998:"Earl V. Shaffer succumbed to cancer on May 5, 2002, after a brief illness and hospitalization. He was 83 years old." "On August 2, 2008, an enthusiastic group of volunteers hiked to the site on Peters Mountain (near Duncannon, PA) where Earl Shaffer had built a log Appalachian Trail shelter more than 50 years ago. This was the last shelter still standing of the 6 A.T. shelters that Earl built during his lifetime. Organized by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society, the group held a ceremony honoring Earl's many contributions to the A.T. community, then carefully dismantled the shelter and hauled it on foot 3 miles to the nearest forest service road. From there it was transported to temporary storage where it will await the opening of a new Appalachian Trail Museum. Thanks to all the volunteers whose hard work is making possible the preservation of this splendid symbol of Earl's legacy."More Photos of This Event
The shelter, which was built by Earl circa 1960, is the last remaining intact shelter that Earl built himself and was one of the oldest and smallest remaining on the entire trail.
I was one of three who spent the last night there before it was dismantled.
Here are the other two:
I know people who hiked with Mr. Shaffer; the closest I got was attending Trail Days
in '99 when he came to speak about his '98 "thru-hike".
Here I am, removing the floor of the shelter:
Mr. Shaffer, being a purist, disapproved of the addition of that floor
(If you click on the link, scroll down to page 5)
I like to think that he was looking down and smiling; when the shelter is reassembled, it will be restored to the way he originally built it...