Earl Shaffer was the first person to thru hike the Appalachian Trail back in 1948. He had to recover mentally from WWII and decided the woods were the best place to do that. The trail in that time had fallen into disrepair in many places and Shaffer did a lot of bushwhacking and guessing to figure out where it was. A lot of the people in the towns along the trail didn’t even seem to know it existed. Shaffer did an excellent job describing his journey and he seemed to be quite the naturalist, able to identify many different animals and plants. He also noted the history of many places along the trail. My favorite parts of the book however were his encounters with other people. I loved the firetowerman who tried to convince him to stay and visit some more, and the families he ran across where the men were astonished at what he was doing but the women just laughed at him. I hadn’t expected his journey to be quite as social as the experience is today, and while it doesn’t come close on the trail itself, he did get lots of help from people on roads and in towns.