Walking with Spring by Earl V. Shaffer

Walking with Spring

In April 1948, the 11-year-old Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia was pretty much a wreck: Volunteer maintainers who hadn't been called to combat couldn't get rationed gasoline to get out there to keep it clear. In April 1948, so, pretty much, was Earl Shaffer, self-dubbed The Crazy One. He had come home from war in the Pacific where he had lost the dearest friend of his life. He needed to walk it off, and he did with the most primitive of g...

Details Walking with Spring

TitleWalking with Spring
Release DateOct 1st, 1983
PublisherMenasha Ridge Press
GenreNonfiction, Travel, Environment, Nature, Adventure, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir

Reviews Walking with Spring

  • SonLight
    I can thank the deepest recession since the Great Depression for the discovery of this treasure. While getting ready for work one morning, I enjoyed an NPR news story profiling the newly-unemployed. It seems a few, those with a bit of time on their hands and money to spare (5 grand or so), decided what better opportunity could there be than to hike the Appalachian Trail. It seems that spiritual quests don't come cheap these days -- you’ve got t...
  • Elena Santangelo
    This is the memoir of the first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1948 by Earl Shaffer. He'd returned from service in WW2 depressed and confused, all the more so because he'd lost his best friend and hiking buddy at Iwo Jima. So he decided to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one long hike, both as a tribute to his friend and to get the war out of his system. He took photos on the way, some of which are included in the book, and made notes...
  • P.J. Wetzel
    I'm an old guy - Social Security retirement age. Yet Earl Shaffer accomplished what he called his 'Long Cruise' - the very first Appalachian Trail thru-hike - before I was born (but barely - I happened to be a fetus at the time). The year was 1948.When you're the very first to do something there's a wall of uncertainty surrounding the endeavor that is hard to comprehend. The conventional wisdom among those involved with and knowledgeable about th...
  • Misti
    Really made me want to do another thru-hike. Also made me want to take a long slow hike through New Hampshire and Maine. Gah, I miss that trail.
  • Ken Garrett
    Shaffer set out to walk the entire Appalachian Trail--the first to officially do so, to "walk the Army out of me," after fighting in the South Pacific. (Incidentally, a close friend and hiking partner was killed in the fighting.) This backdrop of the story explains the resolved, solitary, people-avoiding, lonely trek north. Minute detail is given regarding the features of the trail; springs, shelters, wash-outs, trail detours, etc. This is a wond...
  • Linda Davidson
    While this book isn't for everyone, I really enjoyed reading this account of Earl Shaffer's first complete thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1948. At that time the trail's concept was only about 12-15 years old and efforts to create it were mostly abandoned during WW II. So with no maps, little information, few maintained shelters, Earl hiked the 2000 + miles, sleeping in the woods in all kinds of nasty weather, mostly by himself, encounterin...
  • Daniel Talley
    I have walked about a mile with my wife and family last summer in the smoky mountains. Have read a couple of books on the adventure and this one was the best. Written by the first thru hiker I was impressed by the fluid direction and easy read. This has only just increased the dream of walking more of the AT and more.
  • Stephen Veliz
    A must read for any backpacker, especially those interested in the Appalachian Trail. Shaffer tackles the trail in 1948, and was the first to complete a NOBO thru-hike. It’s amazing how much the trail remains the same as when he hiked the 2,000+ mile trail.
  • Bob Fox
    I wish this were written closer to when he got off trail, but it was still interesting to see how much the trail has changed over the decades. A must read if you like AT hiker memoirs since he was the first recorded thru-hiker.
  • Michael
    Listened to it
  • Varun Dharane
  • Deb
    Another wonderful adventure. His documentation was great!
  • Jordan
    Borrowed this from a friend so I felt obligated to finish it, but I wasn't really a fan. It's very cool to read about the first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in first person. However, the book reads like a diary (which I believe it sort of is), but not a very well-written diary. The author's descriptions are super dry, he brings things up and never explains them, and glosses over a lot of things I'd be interested to know more about. If you w...
  • Kathy
    Quotable:And now the time had come. This was the threshold of my great adventure, long delayed by World War II and without my trail partner, who had been killed on Iwo Jima. Those four and a half years of army service, more than half of it in combat areas of the Pacific, without furlough or even rest leave, had left me confused and depressed. Perhaps this trip would be the answer.“Who has smelled the woodsmoke at twilight, who has seen the camp...
  • JTrav
    I enjoyed learning about the first thru-hiker of the AT but 2 things about the book made it less fun. It was obvious that the author wanted to make a accurate list of his experiences and had written a thorough trail journal. His oft mentioned "little black notebook" was my first clue. But the brevity of descriptions of his experiences and encounters disappointed me. Just as I would get excited about and want to know more he would move on to the n...
  • Rob
    A wonderful book. I've read a few hiking books now (Wild, A Walk in the Woods), and this is my favorite.The details about hiking itself are pretty bare-bones, so most of the appeal of the book comes from how it evokes a different era. A former soldier starts hiking, still dealing with stress from fighting in the Pacific during World War Two, intending to "walk the war out of his system." Oh - and his former hiking buddy was killed on Iwo Jima. Co...
  • Lisa Kearns
    I've read many books about hiking the AT, but this one is my favorite. Earl Shaffer was the first man to hike the entire AT in one season, from Georgia to Maine. He had only his army boots, a rucksack, a pot to cook in and a little money. He didn't even have a tent for most of his hike. This was decades before high-tech camping equipment, and I think the simplicity of his gear gave him more of a real feel for the trail than modern people experien...
  • Lois
    A nice, understated account of an amazing trip - the first reported thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, in 1948. Interesting accounts of meetings with the individuals who spent whole seasons in the fire towers at that time, as well as the many friendly people in the towns where he got supplies, the rangers in the parks, etc. No tent! I was very interested in how the author managed, such as the time he draped his poncho over the top of a down spru...
  • Michael Anderson
    This book makes me want to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, despite two really bad knees. Maybe if I skip the mountainous parts... Shaffer did the first end-to-end hike in 1948, when WWII and gasoline rationing inhibited trailu maintenance and it was a hard slog. Several others had hiked the whole thing, but in sections, not all at once. He writes about it very matter-of-factly, a straight forward narrative without extraneous philosophy or even e...
  • T
    This is one of those times where we need the ability to give half-stars on this site. I would have given this book 3.5 stars if I could have. The story itself, along with the historical significance merited a 4. I only gave it a 3 because it read like the author had dictated it, and had it transcribed. I know that can work for some books, but unfortunately it didn't for this one.I would still recommend it to anyone interested in the Appalachian T...
  • Jimmy
    I've read this once. Schaffer calls his AT hike the long cruise and hiswriting is excellent, interesting and informative. Schaffer hikedthe trail in 1948 and his descriptions of Tennessee are my favoriteparts.. He even writes poetry, "Chucky Blue" is a romantic poemAbout the Nolichucky river in Northeastern Tennessee, Shaffer writes,"According To legend, one of the earliest settlements of the Cherokee was in the Beautiful valley of the Nolichucky...
  • James Myers
    I am following Shaffer's lead to walk the army out of my system. This book is a testament to the adversity that one can surmount in pursuit of a balm for the soul. Earl Shaffer intensified my desire to hike the Appalachian Trail. Not great literature, but a great tale with many historically identifying elements and some keen observations.
  • Danny Watts
    I am biased since I have been section hiking the AT. That being said I could relate to some of his experiences, laughing at many. I was a little disappointed by the description of his final day. Maybe it was all the Indian names but it seemed anti-climatic to me. Overall an enjoyable read for the backpackers and hikers on the family.
  • della
    A co-worker lent me this book because we had both read "Wild" about the Pacific Crest Trail and we are both hikers. I really didn't know anything about the Appalachian Trail before reading this book. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked reading how helpful people along the way were in 1948 when Mr. Shaffer hiked the trail. It does make me wonder if people would be as kind today?
  • RCW
    We used to live in a town on the Appalachian Trail, so I find accounts of thru-hikes particularly fascinating. This is the best one I've read, not only because Mr. Shaffer writes with such clarity, but also for a window into what life was like in the 1940s. Fascinating.
  • Jeff
    I found this in an AT Shelter near Max Patch. You felt the significance of the first thru-hike. It was very interesting to read about how these places on the trail were so long ago. Also, there are some sections that have been re-routed.
  • Decop
    Earl Shaffer is a hero.... Was ... I wish I could have met him. I am sorry that he couldn't hike away the loss and the evil memories of war. However, I am so grateful that he made this journey and wrote this memoir. As my brother named me.....One Day....
  • Carol Thompson
    A great story by the first person to hike the entire Appalachian Trail all at once in 1948. He was tough and determined. He had no fancy equipment, no tent, no stove, no sleeping bag, just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
  • Jane
    True story of the first thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. Earl Shaffer wrote this memoir of his 1948 hike.