Georgia Man Honored for '51 Through-Hike

Gene Espy was second (or first) to hike AT

Sep 19, 2011
Outside Magazine

Sixty years after he walked from Georgia to Maine, Gene Espy is gaining recognition as one of the Appalachian Trail's pioneering hikers. Espy, then 24, hiked almost all of the AT's 2,025 miles without company, beginning in late May and finishing on September 30, of 1951. He was recently honored by the Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame, and his hometown of Macon, Georgia, will declare September 30 Gene Espy day. Espy, an engineer and life-long adventurer (he completed a 740-mile bike ride at age 16), is credited with the trail's second through-hike, though recent research suggests that official first through-hiker Earl Shaffer may have cut some 170 miles by taking shortcuts and hitch hiking.