Earl Shaffer taking a break
during his 1998 thruhike.


Great CD by Takoma Tedd
Featuring Songs
from Earl's Poetry

Ordering Information
... to the Earl Shaffer Web Page ... a presentation of the Earl Shaffer Foundation that celebrates the life and times of Earl V. Shaffer of Pennsylvania ... writer and poet, naturalist, dedicated environmentalist, and the first person to thruhike the Appalachian Trail from end to end in one continuous journey. We hope you enjoy your visit!
A New Book by Earl Shaffer   SOUTH OF THE SUNSET
South of the Sunset is a sequel to Earl's first book of World War II poetry, Before I Walked With Spring, which documented in ballad form his entire Army service in "The Doughboy Odyssey." During his years as a Signal Corps specialist, Earl Shaffer poetically recorded the somber (and sometimes amusing) people and events in the Pacific Theater of World War II, a region he affectionately labeled "South of the Sunset."

In this book, Earl's poetry leads the reader from island to island, culture to culture, and on the "Voyage to Anguar" that was part of the Philippine Liberation. South of the Sunset reveals another chapter of Earl's wartime years in the South Pacific prior to his history-making 1948 first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.     More info

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South of the Sunset

Excerpt from a Forthcoming Biography of Earl Shaffer

Dave Donaldson (AT98, Spirit of '48) and Maurice Forrester are currently writing a biography of Earl. It is a work in progress, and no date has yet been announced for publication. However you can read a sample of the book here in this PDF excerpt.

Earl Shaffer Among First Six Inducted into the A.T. Hall of Fame
Earl's niece, Nancy Shaffer Nofziger, accepted the award on behalf of Earl at the induction banquet held at Boiling Springs, PA on June 17, 2011. Other inductees that night include Myron Avery, Gene Espy, Ed Garvey, Benton MacKaye and Arthur Perkins. Of the six, only Gene Espy of Macon, GA, the second person to thru-hike the A.T., is still living and was present to accept the award in person. The A.T. Hall of fame is housed at the A.T. Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. More about the Hall of Fame event.

New Appalachian Trail Museum Now Open to the Public
The long awaited Appalachian Trail Museum celebrated its grand opening on National Trails Day, June 5, 2010. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Museum is open every day from noon to 4:00 PM, and in the spring and fall during the same hours, but only on weekends. Admission is free.

The museum is located inside a 200-year-old former grist mill at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania. The suggestion to locate the museum here was first made to the AT Museum Society by Earl's youngest brother, John Shaffer. Negotiation between the Appalachian Trail Museum Society and Pine Grove Furnace State Park later resulted in an agreement to house the museum in this historic building in the park.

Earl lived not far from Pine Grove Furnace State Park for many years before he passed away in 2002, and had often participated in hiker events held at the park's Iron Master's Mansion located a short walk from the new Museum's location.

One of the featured exhibits at the museum is the reconstructed Peters Mountain A.T. Shelter, which at the time it was dismantled was the last remaining shelter standing on the A.T. built by Earl. It was one of six shelters that Earl himself constructed during the 1950s and 60s.

The A.T. Museum welcomes volunteer participation in the operation of the museum. For more information CLICK HERE for more information.


Earl Shaffer's Photos and Papers Accessible at the Smithsonian Institution
Although the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit "Earl Shaffer and the Appalachian Trail" ended In October, 2009, an extensive collection of Earl Shaffer's photographs and papers are permanently available for viewing by visitors to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's Archives in Washington, D.C. An appointment must be scheduled in advance. (Call 202-633-3270 for an appointment.) Here is an index of what is available.

BEFORE I WALKED WITH SPRING
This book, written by Earl during World War II but not published until 2008, serves as a prequel to Earl's famous bestselling book, Walking With Spring. Before I Walked With Spring uses humor and verse to describe in detail the wartime experiences in the U.S. Army that helped propel Earl to later become the first Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. The main text of the book is Earl's epic poem "The Doughboy Odyssey," which traces Earl's wide-ranging wartime travels, first training stateside as a Signal Corpsman, then serving in the Pacific theater for most of the war.     More info

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Before I Walked With Spring

DVD Video Biography of Earl Shaffer
Earl's younger brother John Shaffer narrates this half hour video biography of Earl featuring Shaffer family photos from Earl's early years through his military service, his passion for writing poetry and music, and continuing from his historic 1948 first-ever Appalachian Trail thru-hike through his 50th anniversary thru-hike in 1998. This is a unique and intimate look at the background of the man who invented thru-hiking.

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DVD Video Biography of Earl Shaffer

New Postage Stamp Honoring Earl Celebrates 60 Years of Thru-Hiking
In celebration of the 60th Anniverary of Earl's history-making 1948 thru-hike, a postage stamp and commemorative event cover was created. The collectible event cover features a custom-designed stamp bearing a photo of Earl at the northern terminus of the A.T. The stamp was canceled at the Millinocket, Maine, Post Office on August 5, 2008 - exactly 60 years after the completion of Earl's first hike. Only a very limited quantity of this commemorative event cover was produced, so supplies are limited.

HOW TO ORDER the 60th Anniversary Commemorative Stamp

Shelter Built by Earl Preserved for Display in the Appalachian Trail Museum
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. More Photos. 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.

Earl's Recent Book, ODE TO THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL   LIMITED EDITION AVAILABLE!
While on his final thruhike of the A.T. in 1998, Earl kept a journal which he wrote in the form of an ode, an ancient form of poetry which Earl loved. The Earl Shaffer Foundation has just published this journal in a special softcover Limited Edition which is now available for purchase. The book is beautifully illustrated with color photos of Earl and the Appalachian Trail contributed by friends of Earl Shaffer.

We welcome your support of the Earl Shaffer Foundation. Profits from all sales currently go towards bringing into publication many more of Earl's works which remain yet unpublished.

HOW TO ORDER Ode to the Appalachian Trail


EARL'S FIRST MUSIC CD:   ALWAYS IN APRIL
More than just a long distance hiker, Earl Shaffer was a poet, songwriter, folk singer and guitarist. The Foundation is excited to announce that a music CD of Earl performing some of his original work is available to order. Entitled Always in April , the CD contains 17 of Earl's songs, including Long High Lonesome Trail, Allegro to the Sky, Always in April, Robin in the Rain, April Dawn, Laggards Lose, Molly-O-Roon, Chucky Blue, Owl at Twilight, Susquehanna Song, Garlands of Glee, Skies Oer the River, Erin Shore, Midnight Rain, Call of the Turtledove, Juniata Saga, and Perfect Song.

HOW TO ORDER Always in April

SEQUEL TO EARL'S FIRST MUSIC CD:   TRAIL OF THE TROPIC MOON
Discovered among a relative's estate, recordings of Earl singing many of the ballads he wrote while he was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II (and others he wrote after he returned home) have just been released in CD format and are now available to order. Entitled Trail of the Tropic Moon , the CD contains 15 of Earl's songs, including Trail of the Tropic Moon, Tongareva Lament, Vagabodage, Wake of the Sea, Keystone Pennsylvania, Old Smoky Ramble, Song of the Timberline, Skies Over the River, Didn't Seem to Care, Loon Yodel, Kinzua Death Chant and Wanderers Quest. New versions of Midnight Rain, Susquehanna Song, and April Dawn, songs on Earl's first CD, complete the new CD.

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Earl's 1948 Slideshow Now Available on DVD
The Foundation recently produced a DVD featuring Earl's original color slides with Earl's own 80-minute narration of his pioneering 1948 thruhike. It also contains his 1948 daily trail journal and other interesting items, including video of several TV interviews conducted during his 1998 50th Anniversary thruhike. The DVD can be ordered from the Foundation for $24.95 plus shipping, with all proceeds benefiting causes dear to Earl.  DETAILS HERE

Katahdin Art Project
The Katahdin Art Project is a collaboration between the Earl Shaffer Foundation and Crest Photography Inc. It combines Earl Shaffer's poetry and Bart Smith's photography to create a moving and lasting tribute to Mt. Katahdin. All proceeds minus costs of $150 per unit will be donated to the Earl Shaffer Foundation. It was Earl's decision to direct a portion of his Foundation funds to support the creation of an Appalachian Trail Museum as well as the trail clubs along the A.T. More information is at BartSmithPhotography.com.
Go to Earl Shaffer Foundation News Archives.

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Photographs of Earl on opening pages 1998 The Philadelphia Inquirer, Used by Permission