1 Legendary Uncle / 70 Years of Hiking Legacy / 5 Million Steps

Him: Uncle Earl, The Legend

This is my great uncle Earl Shaffer, the first person to ever hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one go. He's often known as The Original Crazy One, and paved the way for the rest of us crazy hikers to follow along in our own hiking adventures. Other accomplishments include: writing Appalachian-inspired poetry, songs about wartime and peace, and breaking other records like being the first north-to-south thru-hiker and then the oldest ever thru-hiker at the age of 79. From 29 years old to 79 years old, Earl began his journey to "walk the war out of his system" and ended up dedicating his life's work to the Appalachian Trail community.

Her: Biologist and Explorer of Things

Despite growing up in the Arizona desert, I, Kimberly Shaffer, always fancied myself to be some sort of jungle princess. Climbing over rocks was standard procedure, as was camping.. then researching ants in the tropical jungles of Panama.. then flying helicopters in Prescott, Arizona, then translating, teaching, scientific illustration, and pretty much a wide range of professions that make sense to me and precious few others. Life's an adventure, and wherever it takes me, I'm on the ride of my life.

Five Million Footsteps, One Path

Between Earl's first five million footsteps on the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail and my own, is a legacy that spans 70 years.  The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and is cared for by a deeply connected network of hikers and volunteers. I am so excited to join this "Trail Family" and find my own place on the Appalachian Trail. In following my Uncle Earl, I'll be publishing his remaining poetry and making his music available to everyone who'd like to listen. And in following all those who have gone before me, and paving a path for those who'll follow, I dedicate my 5 million steps on the Appalachian Trail, to my fellow hikers, and all who find respite in nature. That's all of you guys. 

If you're intrigued, subscribe to follow my journey - there'll be fun tidbits for everyone along the way! Music, coloring pages, giveaways.. it's going to be an adventure!