Good for: Quirky outdoor facts
Written by: Edward Abbey-quoting, vintage-picture-finding journalist Jeffrey Thrope
Who is Earl Shaffer? Which National Park has the coolest handbook? Is there a painter whose work really inspires adventure? These are questions you might never ask yourself, and that’s precisely why you should visit, because the answers are worth knowing. They'll give you a historical grasp of the outdoor lifestyle. Thrope posts once a day on his own blog and also links to articles he’s written for Outside and The New York Times. Cold Splinters isn’t the place to go for news, but it is a must stop for increasing your outdoor I.Q.
In 1948, Earl Shaffer hiked from Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia (the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus at that time) to Mount Katahdin in Maine, making him the first person to hike the trail’s entire length. He did it with no expert advice, no previous footsteps to follow, or fancy mile-by-mile guidebooks to help him. (No Penfield in his pack either.) At the time, experts believed that a hike of the entire Trail was impossible. So, in 1965, he thru-hiked it again as a southbounder, starting in Maine and ending at the new and present southern terminus, Georgia’s Springer Mountain. Good ol’ Earl’s “Advice for Long Distance Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, circa 1950” includes the following:
- Framepack–Mountain troop or similar, with large pocket removed.
- Poncho–serves as raincoat, parka, groundcloth, shelter cloth, etc.