Friends, family, hikers and other admirers gathered at Ironmaster's Hostel in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania, May 3-4, to celebrate the memory of Earl Shaffer, who passed away about this time one year ago. The weekend also marked the fifth anniversary of the start of Earl's incredible 50th anniversary thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, GA to Katahdin, Maine in 1998, which he accomplished at age 79.
On Saturday afternoon, participants enjoyed watching several video programs covering the history and lore of the Appalachian Trail, which of course included Earl's historic thru-hikes in 1948, 1965 and 1998. After a potluck dinner, the group gathered around a campfire and heard readings from Earl's poetry and personal recounts of time spent with Earl. To the crowd's delight, Takoma Tedd sang and played three songs which he recently set to music from Earl's poetry, including A Wanderer's Quest, Calling Me Back to the Hills, and Walking With Spring. Earl's nephew, Daniel Shaffer, Jr, sang a song which Earl wrote supporting Native American causes, and also led the group in singing another song by Earl entitled Keystone Pennsylvania.
On Sunday morning, the Earl Shaffer Foundation Board held its annual meeting. Afterwards, the Reverend Evan L. Shaffer, one of Earl's brothers, led an hour-long memorial service to complete the weekend.