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Foundation Publications ...


The Appalachian Trail: Calling Me Back to the Hills  
Order now and receive FREE either the "Songs of the Blue Ridge Runner CD" or Earl's "Always in April CD" or Earl's "Trail of the Tropic Moon CD (each a $9.99 value)
In 1948, young WWII veteran Earl Shaffer did what many people said couldn't be done: He trekked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in one continuous journey ... walking into the history books as the Trail's first thru-hiker. In 1998, on the 50th anniversary of that hike, 79-year-old Earl did it again. In this beautifully-presented book, Earl recalls his 1998 anniversary trip and pays homage to the Appalachian Trail through his prose and poetry, enhanced by dozens of Bart Smith's stunning photographs.

Join Earl and Bart on their amazing journeys along the Appalachian Trail. Text for this book is derived from the original "Ode To The Appalachian Trail" written by Earl in 1998 describing the events of his anniversary hike, and includes original and unpublished poetry written by Earl over a period of years. The photographs, with the exception of those in the Introduction and a few others taken by friends and Earl in 1948, are the work of Bart Smith, himself a long-distance hiker and professional photographer from Tacoma, Washington, whom Earl met on the trail in 1998. 128 pages, Hardcover.

You may purchase this book from the A.T. Museum for $39.95 (including your choice of the FREE music CD) plus shipping and handling.

Select Free CD


Earl's Book, ODE TO THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL
While on his final thruhike of the A.T. in 1998, Earl kept a journal which he wrote in the form of an ode, an ancient form of poetry which Earl loved. The book is beautifully illustrated with color photos of Earl and the Appalachian Trail contributed by friends of Earl Shaffer. Profits from the book's sales will be used to help bring into publication more of Earl's many unpublished works, which includes more than 1400 poems written over the course of his life.

You may purchase Earl's Ode to the Appalachian Trail from the A.T. Museum for $16.95 per copy plus shipping and handling.


BEFORE I WALKED WITH SPRING: The Doughboy Odyssey and Other Poems of World War II

In describing his feelings at the beginning of his historic 1948 Appalachian Trail hike, Earl Shaffer wrote:

"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."

The adventure Earl had in mind was of course his 123-day backpacking trek from Georgia to Maine, the first continuous end-to-end hike of the Appalachian Trail ever documented. Thanks to his seminal work, Walking With Spring, (first published in 1981) much is known by many about that epic journey. Few, however, know anything at all about those four and a half years that Earl served in the Army during the war. Appropriately entitled Before I Walked With Spring, this book serves as both a prequel to Walking With Spring as well as a rich stand-alone history of an American soldier's wide-ranging experience in World War II's Pacific theater.

In the words of an observant young Signal Corps specialist who wrote with playful rhyme and rhythm, Earl has provided a sometimes humorous and always insightful first-person look at the frightening terror as well as the lonely daily grind of America's war in the Pacific. In his epic poem, "The Doughboy Odyssey," Earl leads the reader on an island-hopping journey that covers tens of thousands of miles, helping us to better know the man and understand the accumulating trauma that helped propel him to become the Appalachian Trail's first thru-hiker.

Also included are 46 other poems plus a number of photos that Earl took during the war as well as a detailed map showing all the Pacific islands that he visited.

You may order Before I Walked With Spring from the A.T. Museum for $12.99 per copy plus shipping & handling.


SOUTH OF THE SUNSET: More Poems of World War II including "Voyage to Anguar"


During his years as a Signal Corps specialist, Earl Shaffer poetically recorded the somber (and sometimes amusing) people and events in the Pacific Theater of World War II, a region he affectionately lableled "South of the Sunset." In his poetry, he leads the reader from island to island, culture to culture, and on the "Voyage to Anguar," which was part of the Philippine Liberation.

South of the Sunset is a sequel to Earl's first book of World War II poetry, Before I Walked With Spring, which documented in ballad form his entire Army service in "The Doughboy Odyssey."

After his return from the war years, Earl decided to keep his promise to Walter Winemiller (his boyhood friend who had been killed at Iwo Jima) and attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Mountains. That journey was well-chronicled in his best-selling book, Walking With Spring. Now with the publication of South of the Sunset, more is revealed about Earl's hidden years of service in the South Pacific.

You may order South of the Sunset from the A.T. Museum for $12.99 per copy plus shipping and handling.


DVD VIDEO BIOGRAPHY OF EARL SHAFFER
Earl's younger brother John Shaffer narrates this half hour video biography of Earl featuring Shaffer family photos from Earl's early years through his military service, his passion for writing poetry and music, and continuing from his historic 1948 first-ever Appalachian Trail thru-hike through his 50th anniversary thru-hike in 1998. This is a unique and intimate look at the background of the man who invented thru-hiking.

You may order the DVD Video Biography of Earl Shaffer from the A.T. Museum
for $9.99 per copy plus shipping and handling.


Walking With Spring: Earl's 1948 Appalachian Trail Slideshow    Now on DVD!
Earl himself narrates this 80-minute slideshow which illustrates his historic 1948 thruhike of the Appalachian Trail with photos taken by Earl during the hike. Shown to countless audiences by Earl during the 54 years he was alive following his 1948 hike, the slideshow is now available to purchase in DVD format. The images in the slideshow were processed by the Smithsonian Institution to enhance their clarity and preserve their quality. Earl gives details of all that he encountered and how he coped with the challenging conditions during his unprecedented 4-month odyssey. Also included on the DVD is footage of live TV interviews conducted with Earl during his 1998 50th-anniversary thruhike by the Today Show, CBS News and Fox News. The DVD also contains material not previously published, including the text of the journal he kept during his 1948 hike as well as his essay giving advice to long-distance hikers.

You may purchase the DVD from the A.T. Museum for $24.95 per copy plus shipping and handling.



Always in April    Music CD written and performed by Earl
More than just a long distance hiker, Earl Shaffer was a poet, songwriter, folk singer and guitarist. The Foundation is excited to announce that a music CD of Earl performing some of his original work is now available. Entitled Always in April , the CD contains 17 of Earl's songs, including Long High Lonesome Trail, Allegro to the Sky, Always in April, Robin in the Rain, April Dawn, Laggards Lose, Molly-O-Roon, Chucky Blue, Owl at Twilight, Susquehanna Song, Garlands of Glee, Skies Oer the River, Erin Shore, Midnight Rain, Call of the Turtledove, Juniata Saga, and Perfect Song. Click on the 2 titles listed in green for a sample of Earl singing. (Samples require Quicktime Player [Free Download] )

You may purchase the Always in April CD from the A.T. Museum for $9.99 per copy plus shipping and handling.



Sequel to Earl's First CD: TRAIL OF THE TROPIC MOON   Music CD written and performed by Earl
Discovered among a relative's estate, recordings of Earl singing many of the ballads he wrote while he was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II (and others he wrote after he returned home) have just been released in CD format. Entitled Trail of the Tropic Moon , the CD contains 15 of Earl's songs, including Trail of the Tropic Moon, Tongareva Lament, Vagabodage, Wake of the Sea, Keystone Pennsylvania, Old Smoky Ramble, Song of the Timberline, Skies Over the River, Didn't Seem to Care, Loon Yodel, Kinzua Death Chant and Wanderers Quest. New versions of Midnight Rain, Susquehanna Song, and April Dawn, songs on Earl's first CD, complete the new CD.

You may purchase the Trail of the Tropic Moon CD from the A.T. Museum for $9.99 per copy plus shipping and handling.


Songs of the Blue Ridge Runner    Great CD by Takoma Tedd featuring Songs from Earl's Poetry
Though Earl is perhaps best known for his pioneering 1948 thru-hike and his subsequent leadership in maintaining the AT, he was also an accomplished poet who wrote more than a thousand poems. Unfortunately to date, only a few have reached publication. Now thru-hiking minstrel Takoma Tedd has distilled a number of songs from Earl's poetry, and performs them on this music CD published in 2004 by the Earl Shaffer Foundation.

You can click on the song titles in the following paragraph to listen to a sample of each song on the CD. (If necessary, use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.)

Earl sometimes referred to himself as the "Blue Ridge Runner," which is the name of the CD's lively title song. "Walking With Spring" is a song which Takoma Tedd arranged using the lyrical chapter quatrains from Earl's book chronicling his 1948 hike. Its haunting imagery of the trail from Springer north to Katahdin will resonate with anyone who's ever done or dreamed of doing a long hike on the AT. In "Mountaineer Manifesto," Earl expresses in a unique way his philosophy regarding material possessions and life's priorities. "Wanderer's Quest" describes Earl's idyllic vision of "that lone hidden valley... where life never changes... and only true kindness is shown." Other songs on the CD include "Calling Me Back to the Hills," "Robin Singing in the Rain," "Susquehanna," and "Kinzua Death Chant."

Order the CD from the A.T. Museum for $9.99 plus shipping and handling.



Walking With Spring (4th Edition)
Now a hiking legend, unknown Earl Shaffer set out in 1948 to prove the then-little-known Appalachian Trail could be walked in a single continuous journey from Georgia to Maine. This is Earl's own lyrical account of that historic first thru-hike, with poetry about the Trail, illustrated with photographs taken by him during the hike. This book is a classic of A.T. literature that has inspired thousands to attempt a similar "thru-hike". Originally self-published, "Walking with Spring" was first published commercially by the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1983; this is the fourth printing. 160 pages, Paperback.

You may order from the A.T. Museum for $8.95 per copy plus shipping and handling.


Walking With Spring (Original Edition)
Order now and receive FREE either the "Songs of the Blue Ridge Runner CD" or Earl's "Always in April CD" or Earl's "Trail of the Tropic Moon CD (each a $9.99 value)
This is THE original edition of "Walking With Spring", self-published by Earl in 1981. Earl had 300 copies printed in loose-leaf pages and then he bound by hand about 120 copies which he distributed himself to friends and acquaintances. This offering uses the remaining unbound pages of the original print run, later professionally bound to duplicate Earl's original manual binding using green library tape and personally autographed by Earl on the cover. A true collector's item, but quantities are limited.

Available with display wall holder from the A.T. Museum for $150.00 per copy (including the FREE music CD) plus shipping and handling.

Select Free CD

 

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