The Earl Shaffer Foundation knows that our strength lies not only in the words we stand by but most importantly through the actions of our initiatives. Back in 2000, our Non-Profit Organization realized that by working together we could overcome our challenges much more efficiently, and that is why we ultimately decided to launch The Earl Shaffer Foundation.



Written soon after the first of his three thru-hikes and including photographs from 1948, Walking With Spring chronicles Shaffer's adventures along a path that at the time was showing the neglect of the war years and has since been rerouted significantly to its permanent location.  His simply stated story has served as an inspiration for more that 9,000 men and women who have since followed in his footsteps... and many thousands more who have tried.

Learn more and order here!



In celebration of Earl's 100th birthday, November 8, 2018, the Foundation is proud to announce the publication of a new book of Earl's heartfelt poetry about hiking on the Appalachian Trail. In this new book, the sixth containing Earl's works, the reader can witness the passion that Earl felt for the Trail and know the sense of adventure he felt as he experienced the wonders of the natural world along the Trail.

Illustrated with over 80 full-color photographs taken by Earl and others in the Appalachian Trail community, the book features more than 90 poems, songs and meditations written by Earl describing his experiences in the outdoors.

Anyone who loves hiking and the Appalachian Trail will find delight and inspiration in this new book.

CLICK HERE to order from Amazon

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In 1948, young WWII veteran Earl Shaffer did what many people said couldn't be done: He trekked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in one continuous journey ... walking into the history books as the Trail's first thru-hiker. In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of that hike, 79-year-old Earl did it again. In this beautifully-presented book, Earl recalls his 1998 anniversary trip and pays homage to the Appalachian Trail through his prose and poetry, enhanced by dozens of Bart Smith's stunning photographs. Join Earl and Bart on their amazing journeys along the Appalachian Trail. Some of the text for this book is derived from the original Ode To The Appalachian Trail written by Earl in 1998 describing the events of his anniversary hike, and includes original and unpublished poetry written by Earl over a period of years. The photographs, with the exception of those in the Introduction and a few others taken by friends and Earl in 1948, are the work of Bart Smith, himself a long-distance hiker and professional photographer from Tacoma, Washington, whom Earl met on the Trail in 1998. 128 pages, Hardcover.

To order, please click here!



This long-awaited book is now available and can be ordered online from the Appalachian Trail Museum. Dave Donaldson began work on the book during Earl's last years before his passing in 2002, and eventually joined forces with Appalachian Trail activist Maurice Forrester to bring it to completion. The book was published by the Appalachian Trail Museum in 2014.

Dave was Earl's hiking companion at the end of his 1998 50th anniversary thru-hike of the AT, and was authorized by Earl to write his biography. Countless hours of tape recordings of Earl telling his story were combined with extensive research and interviews with people who knew Earl throughout his life. This book reveals many insights about Earl and how he lived his life before and after his landmark 1948 first successful thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

CLICK HERE for how to purchase Earl's biography



While on his final thru-hike 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 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



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 SpringBefore 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.     

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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 his poetry, he leads the reader from island to island, culture to culture, and on the "Voyage to Anguar," which was part of the Philippine Liberation. 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."

After his return from the war years, Earl decided to keep his promise to Walter Winemiller (his boyhood friend who had been killed at Iwo Jima) and attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Mountains. That journey was well-chronicled in his best-selling book, Walking With Spring. Now with the publication of South of the Sunset, more is revealed about Earl's hidden years of service in the South Pacific.

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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



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 been released in CD format and are 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.

HOW TO ORDER Trail of the Tropic Moon



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.

DVD Video Biography of Earl Shaffer


Proceeds from the sale of Earl Shaffer Foundation books, CDs, and DVDs go to help publish Earl's manuscripts and to support causes dear to him, which include the Salvation Army and those devoted to assisting hikers, such as the ATC, Warrior Expeditions, and Appalachian Trail Museum Society (Earl was excited about such a museum before his death).



The long awaited Appalachian Trail Museum first began operating on National Trails Day, June 5, 2010. 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.

CLICK HERE for more information about the A.T. Museum.

Casey Johnson



c/o David Donaldson
2596 Church Road
York, PA  17404



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