By Karen Hendricks – This article was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, June 16, 2018
In April 1948, York County native Earl Shaffer set out to do what no man had done before—hike the Appalachian Trail’s (A.T.) 2,000-some miles in one continuous hike. His motivation was to “walk off the war” and his experiences serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Not only was he the first person to successfully “thru-hike” the longest hiking-only footpath in the world from Georgia to Maine at the age of 29, but he went on to do it two more times, hiking in reverse from Maine to Georgia—and being the first to do so—in 1965; and commemorating the 50th anniversary of his first hike with a 1998 trek at the age of 79.
Last month (May 2018), during this 70th anniversary year of Earl’s first hike, two of Earl’s relatives launched their own A.T. adventure to pay homage to the legendary trail figure.
The father-daughter pair, Dan and Kim Shaffer, who called Earl their uncle and great uncle respectively, began hiking the A.T. at Pen Mar Park, Cascade, Maryland, heading north, Continue reading