Two Thousand Miles to Happy

Two Thousand Miles to Happy

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Earl Shaffer and the first Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail

By Andrea Shapiro

Illustrated by Rebecca Harnish 

In 1948 World War II veteran Earl Shaffer decided to “walk the war out of his system” and became the first person to report hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one, continuous journey. This children’s book tells the story of Earl’s remarkable journey of five million steps across fourteen states for over two thousand miles. “So, on a blustery April morning in 1948, Earl stood on a Georgia mountain peak, beside a weather-beaten sign, with a pack on his back and only the birds in the trees for company.” One hundred and twenty-four days later he stood atop Maine’s Mt. Katahdin in triumph. In 1965, he hiked the AT from north to south and became the first person to report a thru-hike of the AT in both directions.