Monday, August 3, 2009

Smithsonian Exhibit: Earl Shaffer and the Appalachian Trail

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History recently opened a new exhibit about Earl Shaffer and his first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

Entitled, “Earl Shaffer and the Appalachian Trail,” the exhibition will be on view in the Documents Gallery until October 11, 2009.

If you can’t make to Washington DC, you can still view a version of the exhibition online by clicking here.

Part of the online exhibition involves an interactive map of several of Shaffer's diary entries and photos. The Smithsonian’s goal with the map is to include not just one person's memories of the trail but to show the depth and range of experiences people have had hiking the region throughout history. The Smithsonian is inviting hikers of all interest levels to contribute their geo-tagged photos and stories from the trail to a special Flickr group:

Please contact Allison Tara Sundaram if you have any questions.


The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills

In 1948, young WWII veteran Earl Shaffer walked into the history books as the Appalachian Trail's first thru-hiker.

In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of that hike, as a 79-year-old, Earl did it again. In The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills, Mr. Shaffer recalls his 1998 anniversary trip and pays homage to the AT through his prose and poetry. The book has been enhanced by dozens of stunning photographs by thru-hiker Bart Smith.


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